The first time I heard the name of the book and was told that it was based on CONCURRENT RELATIONSHIPSI didn't know what this meant
and so I went to my reliable knowledge source "Google" for information. According to Google,
CONCURRENT RELATIONSHIPSmeans having “multiple relationships which overlap in time.”
A book meant for mature readers, CONCURRENT RELATIONSHIPSis a very unusual book which deals in a very different and an alien topic for me. I was intrigued and also felt uncertain if I could do justice to this book and rate it appropriately since my prior knowledge on the subject was nil and I couldn't state any heard-of or read-of experiences of this phenomenon which I can safely say is rare in India. But I did read the book and felt n number of things while my journey through the story! :)
CONCURRENT RELATIONSHIPS is the story of Frank Avery who was once a shy and awkward person who couldn't talk to girls but who has now learnt all the tricks of the trade and can easily befriend girls and can also make them feel at ease while they are in his company. This feature of his has earned him many girl followers and several dates. Then he meets Beth-Ann "a tall brunette" who according to him, "was unmistakably a spoiled child, relying far too heavily on the child's personal pronoun group of 'I-Me-Mine' ". Beth quickly becomes obsessed with Frank and although Frank feels no love for her, he is happy to have a "sexual relationship" with her! The story starts with Beth's divorce and her announcement of coming to stay with Frank so as "to begin catching up" on her sex life. Although Frank is not happy at the announcement he agrees and so starts their purely lust based relationship again. The story moves at its pace and along the way Frank meets many girls and even falls in love with a girl Gina, he calls his "Greek Goddess" who leaves him under mysterious circumstances. The story marks the changes in Frank's life and the change in his partners with one constant Beth Ann over a period of ten years.
Does Frank find his true love or is he satisfied with his "call boy" sexual relationship with Beth Ann?
Why did Gina leave him not once but twice and even though they love each other, can they find a "Happily-ever-after" for themselves?
Can Frank stand up to the manipulating and controlling Beth Ann and end this farce of a relationship they have?
“All is true and all is false in love; love is the only thing about which it is impossible to say anything absurd."
The story proved to be a novel experience for me where I was appalled, shocked, disgusted, got angry and wanted to hit someone, sometimes wanted to pound some sense in Frank and slap Beth, even tell the women in the story to go get a life and choose a man 100% devoted to them and in return devote themselves to someone instead of having relationships with no future. I was even touched by Gina and Frank's love for each other and it broke my heart when Gina left him with no explanations. I admired Frank's contentment in living in a small town and enjoying a quiet life with less money than go work in the city where though the money was more the life was hectic with no peace. I agreed to his simple lifestyle but totally disagreed to his passive attitude and simple agreement to everything Beth ordered him to do.
Maybe these type of relationships are common in some parts of the world but personally I don't agree and support such partnerships. Call me old fashioned but I like my partner to give me his total devotion and be my mate till death do us part.
Lee's writing is fluid and effective while also being simple. He has created characters so different in their temperaments but all developed so beautifully. The story looses pace in the middle but soon picks up and swirls us from country to country and character to character with well executed events that support and take the story to its conclusion with some very unexpected twists and turns and finally an end which will leave the reader rendered speechless! :)
An unusual book, from a very promising author, with a story of a man maturing and finding true meaning to his life after many learning relationships and experiences. This is a book that will turn out to be an unforgettable experience to everyone along with being an interesting read. It has definitely been just that to me.
A 3.5 out of 5 to CONCURRENT RELATIONSHIPS and all the best to Lee for his future endeavors. :)
I received an ARC from the author and I am very thankful to him. The above review is my personal and unbiased opinion which is in no way influenced.