This was my first shifter book. But it's totally irrelevant because this was not a shifter book ... or not only.
This book goes deep. It tells us so many things. It tells us about life.
Life is choices "That's what life is, Ox. Choices. The choices we make shape what we'll become."
And that it's not always easy to see that you do always have a choice.
Ox's life has never been easy. He is slow and people often see him as a retard and tell him so. But in fact is apparent slowness has more to do with him feeling clumsy expressing with words all that he feels... because he feels so much, and there are so many words in his head, and he is never sure he is going to say the right thing at the right time.
But he feels, and he hurts inside
"People could be cruel. I heard it when people called me names behind my back. I heard it when they said the same things to my face. I heard it in the sound the door made when my father left. I heard it in the crack of my mother's voice."
He wonders about so many things in his head
"The birds had stopped singing overhead and I wondered if it were possible for the world to hold its breath. I wondered at the weight of expectations."
He is so unsure about who he is and where he fits.
Life is about acceptance, about going beyond appearance to focus on value.
Life is about love that lets you see others' value and accept their choices. "...Whatever happens. Okay. Whatever you ... decide. I need you to know that I meant what I said. When you said what ? Everything I've ever said to you. Everything, Ox."
And they Ox and Joe, both, they make choices, and they accept ... Not with ease ... But consciously, acknowledging their anger and letting it go. "I ground my teeth as I bit back words I knew would hurt. That was the danger with knowing and loving others. You always knew things about them to throw back in their faces."
Yeah, this book is profound. It is also beautiful. The language. The structure of the writing.
AND it is funny. "I wasn't very good with Internet stuff, so I googled "what to do when your future werewolf mate/boyfriend/best friend courts you and brings you a dead rabbit." First there was a lot of porn. Then I found a recipe for Maltese rabbit stew. It was delicious. The rabbit, not the porn. The porn was weird."
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