Sutphin Boulevard

Sutphin Boulevard - Santino Hassell

"The world was full of shadows and white noise. Crumbling around me. Once again falling apart."

Well that happened. I’m still kind of shell shocked to be honest. This book is just beautiful, completely and utterly beautiful. It’s a story about real life so at times it’s gritty, harsh and heart breaking but how it was delivered is breathtaking.

Everyone felt so real and I honestly felt like I could relate in some way to each character. The people in this book are not perfect, they are all flawed, some are broken and some are blind to the reality around them but they are human and because of that they leapt off the page.

This felt so much more than a love story, it was a story about friendship and family and the fact that life does not always go as planned. In fact sometimes life can go so far off the route you had mapped that it doesn’t resemble your life at all. It’s about loyalty and compassion. Mistakes and guilt. Love and loss.

"You're not living when you spend life in a void."

Michael’s journey is a difficult one, at times it felt like there was no way out for him. I can see why he went down the road he did, I think many of us would like to think that we would be stronger or do things differently in his situation but life doesn’t work that way. I understood why he made the choices he did, I understood why he pushed at the people who could help him and most of all I understood his reasons for trying to keep Nunzio at arms length. Friendships are such a precious thing, they are the family that we ourselves get to choose and the idea that anything could threaten or destroy those friendships, especially one like Michael’s and Nunzio’s, is a very scary prospect. The connection I felt with Michael was a little scary to be honest but I think maybe most people would see a little of themselves in him. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Nunzio I have no words for. I adored him. Just flat out adored. Even when he was pushing or when he was jealous I loved him. He was just a wonderful character and a joy to read. He was funny and sweet and hot and the dirty talk? He just about killed me. And that brings me to the sex. I may or may not have highlighted certain passages that I may or may not be dipping into as I see fit. The subway station may be one of them. JESUS. I think there is a bit of an exhibitionist in me somewhere because that just about finished me off.

With all the harsh reality of life and the off the charts hotness you wouldn’t think that there would be room for much else but I feel it’s important to note that this book is funny. I mean proper laugh out loud moments, it may not be jam packed with humour and it’s dry and a little dark but it’s there and it comes along at times when it’s most needed, some of the really good stuff came from Michael’s students, most of it however came from Nunzio and Raymond. I have also fallen a little in love with Raymond but I will save my gushing for his book, but just to say that some of his dialogue was fabulous.

"Wow, son. You're mad retarded."

David whipped his head around and pinned my brother with a lethal glare. "Don't say that word."

"Sorry." Raymond kept starting at me. "You're mad special ed."

Do we seriously have to wait until December? Is everyone sure that’s not a typo or something?

For me ‘Sutphin Boulevard’ was perfect. I can totally understand why it has hurtled its way onto so many people’s top books of the year list. It’s a book that I will have great pleasure reading again and again or even just dipping in and reading some of the many passages I have highlighted. And no, they are not only smexy time ones. Parts of it read like poetry and parts of it were so real that they were painful to read but it in the end it really was so very beautiful.