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Dan is a quiet man with a great voice. Behind the ...
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Dan is a quiet man with a great voice. Behind the tempered facade of the shy hospital administrator is a singer who can transform a room with his soaring voice, leaving his listeners in awe and reverence. Ford catches one such Christmas concert and his life is never quite the same; he is touched in a place he keeps hidden, forbidden. When Ford and Dan begin to explore the limits of their relationship, Dan's own secrets are exposed--and his mysterious and painful childhood returns to haunt him.
In Comfort and Joy Jim Grimsley finds a marriage between the stark and stunning pain of his prize-winning Winter Birds and the passion of critically acclaimed Dream Boy. In this, his fourth novel, he considers pressing questions. How does a man reconcile the child he was raised to be with the man that he truly is? What happens when an adult has to choose between his parents and a lover?
Posted September 2, 2006
Comfort & Joy was my favorite Jim Grimsley book. Having already read all of his books, this one proved to be very different from the others. It really touched me, not in the Overwhelming-Pity way I felt for the characters in Winter Birds (I couldn't even finish that book the first time I read it, it was so--too--powerful) or Dream Boy, which made me cry, or My Drowning, that had me so mixed up over the ending that I didn't know WHAT to do. This was the first Grimsley book I read that I didn't try to chuck across the room in a fit, crying my eyes out and shouting 'Oh my God!' halfway to death. I ended this book with a smile on my face, and I'm sure you, dear reader, will too. Why? Comfort and Joy was so sweetly written, telling a difficult story about two men from completely different backgrounds--(Ford is a rich gorgeous closet-case doctor, while Dan, an administrator who works at the same hospital where Ford practices, is a talented singer from the backwoods of North Carolina who's HIV-positive and a hemophiliac)--who try to sustain a budding romance while facing obstacles that include Ford's battle with his sexuality, his uptight upbringing, his parents that can't accept his relationship with Dan, and Dan, who has traumas from his past that affect the way he treats Ford and how open he will be with him. So many touching scenes in this book show, however, that despite these obstacles, true love really is the glue that binds people together. The only problem I had with this book, as with the others, was that there was SO MUCH subtlety in the narration that it had me aching for more, like a SEQUEL!! (THAT would be a GOOD idea!) So many things are left to the imagination, and the readers are forced to draw their own conclusions (you'll find out what I mean when you read it--and everyone SHOULD!--I don't want to spoil anything). Nevertheless, Comfort & Joy was a joy to read, though deliberately not comfortable, as there is much tension underlining the characters' behavior towards each other that adds to the realism of the book--I am so sick of mushy-gushy romance where life is perfect and there is no reality to anything. In true life, there are pitfalls and bumps that people must learn to overcome, that make them really appreciate the beauty of being in love with another person, and having them love you back. Comfort & Joy proved this to me. I would recommend this novel to anyone--I enjoyed it THAT much.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 20, 2001
Of the many novels I've read, I really can't remember a book where two men's attempt to form a relationship is presented in such a nuanced, complicated, and convincing fashion. The basic plotline doesn't give away how great this book is -- in fact, the plot may sound generic or simplistic (rich, stunning closet case doctor falls for HIV-positive hemophiliac gay man, who comes from trailer park background; oh, and they also deal with their families). What makes the book so fascinating is the range of emotions, desires, multiple layers and styles of communication, as well as fears that are presented in this story. It's a love story without the usual romantic sappiness, rose-tintedness or flights of fancy. It feels 'real' with all its pains, hesitations, fits and starts, and uneasy postponements -- but also with its joys, pleasures, and comforts. In short, it's an abundantly rich book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 15, 2001
A compelling story about two well-realized characters. I enjoyed Winter Birds and Dream Boy, but for me this was the most complete of Grimsley's novels because he provides a penetrating look at two very different families. Both characters, like their families, have their prickly aspects, but their relationship is so well-realized that it is easy to see why they need each other. A very enjoyable read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 1, 2001
I loved Dreamboy so much that I rushed out to get Winterbirds. Winterbirds left me feeling very confused and disappointed. The story was abrupt and did not seem to have an ending. I was very shocked to find that Grimsley picked up Danny's story in Comfort and Joy. I was 18 pages into the book before I realized the Dan was Danny. You do not need to read Winterbirds to enjoy the book, but it explains much of Dan's actions towards Ford and life in general.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 8, 2001
I had real problems with this book. This was the first thing that I have ever read by the author, so my comments apply only to this work. The merits earned by the main strength of the book, the depiction of a real, tender relationship, are quickly gobbled up by the main weakpoint of the book, a tendency to border on dialogue and plot conventions found in grocery store romances. I had wanted to give the book only two stars, but there was a great scene where they ate chicken. I love chicken.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 6, 2000
Having read other Jim Grimsley books in the past I thought I knew what to expect with Comfort and Joy. Instead I found a book filled with incredible scenes of romance and hope. Grimsley's writings put the writer into the story and will never let you go even after you are finished.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 1, 2000
I am a past admirer of Jim Grimsley' work and was eager to delve into his latest, 'Comfort and Joy.' After several pages though, I felt like Grimsley's writing was not up to par--too many hackneyed and trite phrases, too much of the same territory that has been covered better before in other 'coming out' novels. The writer never seemed to find his stride and the story line develops rather dully and predictably. Some scenes are done well, but I when I found myself skimming to get to the end, I know that this book hadn't caught me. Writers don't necessarily get better as they go on; in this case, Grimsley's earlier novels were much better written and conceived. Perhaps this is a case of 'successful writer gets another one published'--even though it should have been tabled or edited much more thoroughly. Try again, Jim.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 16, 2000
This book is fabulous! It makes you realize that everyone, no matter what feels alike in some way or another and that we all experience the same emotions. It also makes you question your own sexuality.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 19, 1999
I found this novel tedious and predictable, like a prose version of a gay soap opera episode. The author is obviously trying to 'go commercial' but the result is a book, especially some of the dialogue, that makes you laugh when you're not meant to laugh.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 14, 1999
Although this book is full of cliche..(a rich family who can't accept the fact that their golden son is gay, a poor but happy family who only wished for the happiness for their son...sick lover being taken care by a rich, handsome doctor...)...you will not mind these cliches once you begin to read the story......... The one thing that made me love this book is that it touches my heart.....the book reminds me of my own stories: the struggles I went through when I first fell in love with my lover, my own coming out process, coming to term with fact that I am attracted to men and my relationship with my family..... reading the book, I found myself going back through time and reflecting upon the choices I made..and before I knew it, I shed a tear.....Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 15, 1999
It had been a while since I'd picked up a book and absolutly loved it. I read the jacket cover and thought it would be an interesting book. This story really touched me a way no other book has. It takes the reader into the mind of a man who has difficulty coming to terms with his sexuality. I found myself being absolutly angry at Ford's parents who are constantly pressuring him to marry. Even though I had some difficulty reading such discriptive situations between the two men, I found this book wonderful. I'd read it again and again. It has really opened my mind on what homosexuals must encounter in this world. Everyone, go out and pick it up now!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 6, 1999
Whew... I was up 'til 4 in the morning finishing this book. Taking us forward in time after the lead character in Winter Birds has grown up and fallen in love, Comfort and Joy is thoroughly engrossing and well worth the cover price.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.