Tim and Pete: 03/18/11
Tim and Pete by James Robert Baker is a short, angry novel about a pair of opposites who are thrown back together after breaking up. Their whirlwind day together leads to trouble and death.
I wanted to like this book. I should have. It's set in areas I know well and like to read books populated by characters like Tim and Pete. What I mean is, I try to avoid slash fiction; it's not my thing. I want to read books populated by real characters with real problems, quirks, flaws and so forth. I appreciate the authors own troubled life and his suicide but a book has to stand on its own and Tim and Pete didn't for me.
Time and Pete has some of the same problems as Sue Grafton's Alphabet Mystery series does. Both are aimed at Boomers and populated by Boomers. For Tim and Pete that means characters who are straddling both sides of recent gay history, Stonewall, free love, drugs and the early days of AIDs. Though published in 1993, Tim and Pete as characters haven't managed to move on from the darkest days of the 1980s.
Some of their emotional turmoil and reckless behavior can be attributed perhaps to Baker's own troubled life. But frankly there was so much anger in the novel that there were no nuances nor quiet moments to reflect. The anger robs the characters of their dimensionality. Instead of a debate, the novel presents a diatribe.