Reviewed by Becca
TITLE: Freedoms Shore
AUTHOR: Adam Arkin
PUBLISHER: MLR Press
LENGTH: 228 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 28, 2017
When a shy student decides to spend a summer on the Spanish Mediterranean coast, he has no idea of the life-changing adventure that awaits. For years Adam has denied his true yearnings, until a visit to a gay-friendly nudist beach inspires him to act on his naked impulses.//Slowly his mind is coaxed open to a world of new pleasures, in the experienced hands of the uninhibited hunks that frequent the cruising zone beyond the palms-a place where nothing is taboo.
As Adam learns to embrace his sexuality, he develops intense feelings for the enigmatic Javier, a young man with a secret of his own. Infatuated by his friends smouldering allure and striking Latin looks, Adam falls recklessly in love. As passions flare over the course of a long, sultry summer, both men must risk it all, if they are to satisfy their deepest desires.
So I don’t want to diminish this book and what it’s about, because yes it was good. However, there were moments that were really…slow..for me and I was struggling to keep reading. I did finish it though and, it was good. It’s about a young man finding himself. Whether or not he’s gay, straight, bi or whatever and coming to grips with what that means for him and his life. And when he finds out who he is, what he does about it. For anyone, finding yourself is important. Being comfortable in your own skin and not having to live as everyone expects you to. It’s important. For mental health, for growth, and even for love.
Adam takes a job as a tutor in a Spanish town for the summer. After what he has been through lately, losing his girlfriend and finding out he’s bipolar, he needs a break. This will provide what he needs, or at least he’s hoping. What he encounters on his first day, though, sends him careening into feelings he had been previously trying to block. He ran into his student, who was naked. And boy did he get an eyeful. Beautiful Latin young man, built like an Adonis, with a smile made from the heavens. His body went on high alert and he had to run. But it made him really look at those feelings he’s had buried for so long. To avoid his student, Javier, he set out for the beach. What he doesn’t realize until he’s really onto the beach, is that it’s a nude one and he has wandered to the gay side. Noticing people watching him, he strips down and realizes how free he feels. He’s happy being on this beach. He explores things with other men, blowjobs, handjobs, which sets him on a path to explore more and go cruising in a closed off wooded part of the beach. But all the while this is happening, he is thinking of his Latin bombshell at home. Things finally present themselves where the two explore each other and Adam is madly in love. But things have to come to an end as he has to go back to his home and Javier back to his school. And they have to decide whether their love is enough to keep them together and coming back for more or is it time to let go.
I know for so many kids today coming out is so hard. Hell, even as adults it’s hard, but as a kid to me you are more vulnerable. Even though Adam is in college and more or less out of the house, it’s still hard when you live in neighborhoods that are not accepting. So trying to find yourself in a new country where you don’t know anyone and how they will react to me is mind-blowing and very brave. So I have to say I really admire Adam’s character. Whats funny is the man he has been lusting after and falling for, his student Javier, is dealing with the same thing. Javier isn’t out in his little small town. People at his school know but he is fearful of saying anything to his mother because of her religious beliefs. There’s a line in the book, and I’m paraphrasing, but that really struck me. Javier and Adam are speaking of being themselves and being in love out in the open more or less and Adam says that it shouldn’t matter who people love. And people shouldn’t use their religion to force people to hide themselves. (I’m seriously paraphrasing). But the lines in which he was speaking were so true. Love is love and who people love is no one else’s business. People should be able to be free and love and marry who they want. And I think at the end of the day that’s what I really appreciate about this book. That message and how brave these two boys were to finally come out for themselves and for love. There is hate and bigotry in this world everywhere you turn, but when you find the love you have been looking for, hopefully that is what makes it all worthwhile. And to the haters and bigots who don’t want people to love who they love, the message for you is piss off.
Happy reading all!!