Review: Unforgotten by Garrett Leigh
Antiheroes are popular character types. Billy Daley is not exactly an antihero. He is a messed up guy who self-sabotages his life. The first few pages of this book and I felt a sense of dread. As in, I didn't want to continue the book and give it a 1 star rating. I felt badly because I requested the book and liked the previous book in this series.
Why did I have an intense dislike of Billy from the get go? Because Author Leigh presents possibly the worst side of Billy in the first scene. First impressions are lasting and my first impression of Billy is filled with disgust and loathing. His lack of self control is something that I have zero tolerance for, even if he has a good reason. For an adult to act out as rashly as he does, it is unacceptable. I could not see how this book could be redeemed.
To my surprise, Author Leigh turns it completely around in a very subtle and gentle manner so that by the end of the book, I'm rooting for Billy. It is no easy feat as pretty much all of Billy's behaviours are less than stellar and he is a little shit. Since he is at rock bottom, there is no where but up to go.
What I liked about this book is how the author shows that everyone has a story. Everyone has reason why they behave or respond in the manner they do. Even if it is a horrid behaviour, sometimes it takes patience and listening to help a person want to do better. My favourite scene is Billy's declaration of how Gus makes him want to be a better person. Gus is the most stable of everyone in this series. He is also the one who is taken advantage of and forgotten.
The interactions between Gus and Billy are at times heartbreaking and other times hilarious. As we learn more about Billy, especially his eating habits and why he eats so little, I'm torn. My understanding of Billy is deepened. I don't pity him because he isn't one to take pity, but I feel sorrow and wish someone had taken an active interest to help him in his time of need. Basically, what kind of mother abandons her sons? Still, this love story is a hard won romance with many pitfalls and realism. The darker side of life when a parent dies is explored in a way that I have not seen many authors try. Mostly because it can be too angsty. This book is right on the edge of too much angst. It is just right.
The one thing I would have preferred is a different style of monologue or thoughts from the two characters. I am not fond of bouncing back and forth between two different character's POV. Every time the switch occurred, regardless of the name in italics, I still had to try and figure out whose point of view was being stated. Sometimes I would have to remind myself who Billy was and who Gus was because their inner dialog was at times too similar. Billy - bad; Gus - good. That is unfortunately how I had to remind myself who was who throughout the entire book.
Overall, this is a romance which makes a reader think about people's personal experiences. This contemporary romance is recommended to m/m readers who like redemption and second chance themes.
*provided by NetGalley