MISINFORMATION is the kind of M/M romance that I want to read more of. Insightful, relevant, and authentic, MISINFORMATION tells it like it is, countering the regressive, conservative narrative that gay and bi men and LGBT people in all are depraved, harmful to society, abnormal, and less than human.
When Ethan’s ex-wife moved to New York with their daughter, Ethan quit his job to work at a conservative cable news outlet, which promotes this regressive narrative and is pretty much a propaganda machine. Ethan considers himself an honest journalist, dedicated to reporting the unbiased truth, and feels conflicted about his job. Working there angers him and rumors about a threesome in college trigger memories of his attraction for men. In the year since his divorce, he has become more attuned to his bisexuality.
When Ethan meets his daughter’s first grade teacher, Charlie, he’s irresistibly attracted to him. After a couple of casual hookups, despite misgivings, Ethan and Charlie decide to give a relationship a try. This is a first for Charlie, an out gay man who doesn’t normally do relationships, and a first for Ethan, who is very much in the closet and has never been in a relationship with a man. Though Ethan doesn’t want to come out at work because he needs his job in order to stay close to his daughter, Charlie doesn’t pressure him to come out. Though Ethan’s job conflicts with his values, Charlie doesn’t judge him.
I liked that they were honest with each other, didn’t give up on their relationship despite the challenges they faced, and made their relationship work in the end. I thought that their attraction was realistic and believable. I loved how Charlie would imagine their future and how Ethan made Charlie’s dreams come true. It proves the point that gay and bisexual men are all too human and have dreams, yearn for and deserve happy ever afters, thereby opposing the regressive narrative that marginalizes and demonizes LGBT people.
I also liked the supportive people in their lives, their friends, men and women, and their families, who encouraged their relationship. I loved how Ethan became a true inspiration and role model his daughter could look up to. As a teacher, Charlie is well-liked and a role model to his students as well, showing that LGBT people are in fact valuable and productive members of society. By example, these two heroes debunk the hateful messages produced during this election season.
This novel represents M/M romance and M/M sex positively and purposefully. It is about more than objectifying gay and bi men. It is inclusive rather than erasing. It is a win. I enjoyed the author’s straightforward, keep it real, less is more writing style, and look forward to reading Keelan Ellis’s future books.
*ARC received from Dreamspinner Press in exchange for an honest review.