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The View From A Rusty Train Car por DeeJay…
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The View From A Rusty Train Car (edição 2012)

por DeeJay Arens (Autor)

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Título:The View From A Rusty Train Car
Autores:DeeJay Arens (Autor)
Informação:Writers AMuse Me Publishing (2012), 324 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca

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The View From A Rusty Train Car por DeeJay Arens

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The View from a Rusty Train Car is a very moving and emotional story of two young boys who became inseparable best friends, and in doing so, discovered a love for one another of which their families and society did not approve. It ended up being a heart-wrenching, tearjerker of a read that I was not expecting when I started it. Perhaps because a few GoodReads users had this book shelved as M/M romance, I began reading it under the mistaken impression that it was a romance, but it really isn't. It's a coming of age story. It's a dramatic story about friendship and family connections. It's a story about why it's so important to be true to ourselves. Most of all, I saw it as a story about how the choices we make in life can adversely affect not only ourselves, but also everyone we care about and sometimes even those we love the most. It does have a romantic element to it, and it is a story about undying love, but at its heart, this is definitely not a romance. Why, you may ask? Well, simply because it doesn't follow the typical romance formula of readers getting to know the two main characters as they are getting to know each other, watching them as they go through the stages of courtship and falling in love, and eventually ending with marriage or a permanent commitment that leads to an HEA ending. The View from a Rusty Train Car follows the two main protagonists through more than a decade of their lives from childhood well into adulthood. It follows them through the ups and downs of their relationship and the choices they make that ultimately keep them apart for several years. And while it has an optimistic ending for one of them, there was no future for them together, which left me feeling depressed and heartbroken.

Jared moved into Luke's neighborhood when they were only eleven years old. They became fast friends who were inseparable and did nearly everything together. They built a tree fort, but their special, secret hideout was inside the old rusty train car behind the junkyard. There, they spent hours playing, and it became a place where they could escape the world around them and just be with each other. Having this secret spot became increasingly important as they grew older and realized they were falling in love. From a very early age, Jared knew what he wanted and that was to marry Luke, although of course, in his young innocence, he didn't understand that his dream would be impossible in the era in which they lived (the late 1980's and 1990's). As his understanding increased with age, Jared kept his sexual identity to himself, but he pretty much always accepted the fact that he was gay. Luke, on the other hand, knew he loved Jared and a part of him wanted the same thing Jared did, but he struggled more with his sexuality and with feelings that his desires weren't right. This only got worse when his strict mother discovered Luke's love for Jared and forced him into a boy's camp that was designed to “fix” him. He was in the camp for a year, during which Jared believed Luke had abandoned him and their love. After that, they saw each other in person only once within the next five years, and it was a disastrous meeting that ended in heartbreak for both of them. By then, Jared had moved to Seattle to attend college and had begun a relationship with another man, while Luke had returned from the camp, believing that the only right thing for him to do was to enter into a traditional marriage with a woman. The next few years were difficult ones for both of them, especially Luke, whose health went into a steep decline. His ailment is never named, but given that his heart is failing, I think the author was using it as a metaphor for a broken heart. Reading about Luke in that state, broke my own heart into a million pieces, and while I understood Jared's anger, I felt like he held a grudge for too long. That ends up being one of those many choices I mentioned that he has to learn to live with.

I was very moved by Jared and Luke's story, and I liked them both very much. However, I still couldn't help feeling like the author could have deepened their characterizations a little more. We know that they love with their whole being, which is something I can admire. We also understand how much of a strain their relationship and Luke's inability to embrace it affects them, on both a physical and emotional level, but we learn precious little about each of them as individuals outside of their relationship to one another. We learn a little about their outside interests as the story progresses, but what I really wanted to know was what their temperaments were like and what their hopes and dreams for the future were. Their individual personalities didn't quite come to life for me in the way the characters in some other stories have. In fact, I don't even recall the author giving any physical description of either young man at any point in the story, so I had to envision them in my own way. Then toward the very end, he finally mentions that Luke is blonde when I'd been imagining him as having dark hair.

The main reason, however, that I gave this book four stars instead of the full five is that I thought the writing itself could have been stronger in places. First, the blocking (showing where a character is and what they're doing) during dialog often felt choppy and inconsistent. One minute the character might be standing in one place and the next they're clear across the room, or in one paragraph, they're sitting down and two paragraphs later, they're sitting down again. More action details and more attention to continuity were sorely needed to clearly envision these scenes. My next issue is that the author frequently has the characters talking out loud to themselves. In these instances, I think it would have been more beneficial to deepen their internal introspection instead, which probably would have also taken care of my earlier problem with feeling like I didn't get to know the characters as well as I would have liked. Another small problem is some repetition in the form of pretty much all the characters who have any significant page time crying a lot, and everyone doing way too much “sneering.” My final minor complaint is that Jared is basically telling his and Luke's story before a Senate hearing, so there are a few passages throughout written in first person POV to denote the present day. However, there is virtually nothing to indicate exactly what he's doing until the final chapter. If I hadn't read the cover blurb before reading the book, I wouldn't have had a clue what was going on in those scenes, so actually stating what he was doing earlier would have been helpful. Better editing overall would have cleared up most of these problems and shaped the book into one that I easily could have said was a perfect read.

Otherwise, as I've already mentioned, The View from a Rusty Train Car is a poignant story that makes some very powerful statements about society's views of GLBT people. Even though we've come a long way since the time in which this story was set, there is still much progress yet to be made. One can't help wondering if the climate for gay men had been more friendly, whether Jared and Luke's story would have turned out much differently. As I read this book, I couldn't help feeling like these two men and what they went through was quite real, like this same story of “forbidden love” had probably played out in some form or another all down through the ages. It's also a potent reminder that we must always be vigilant in our choices, because they can affect so many different people in our lives. It also reminds us of the need for forgiveness and not holding grudges, because someday we may find it's too late to make things right. As an aside, I need to mention that I really love the title of this book. It's very creative and fitting, as that old rusty train car became an iconic symbol of Jared and Luke's love for each other. I'm not entirely sure if I would read The View from a Rusty Train Car again, because of how sad it made me feel. However, for all the reasons I mentioned, I would definitely recommend it to anyone who doesn't mind more realistic, tearjerker stories, as well as anyone who might be interested in GLBT issues or who might be willing to challenge themselves to view GLBT people in a different way. It is my fervent belief that everyone should be treated equally and given the same rights, that they should be allowed to be who they are and love who they love, and this book makes a very strong case for that.

Note: I received a copy of this book from the author via Book Review Buzz in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  mom2lnb | Nov 17, 2014 |

A coming of age and coming out story spanning decades, continents and emotions. Highly recommended for readers looking for a reality check. The sweet moments are contrasted well with overwhelming tragedy in very real moments that really hit home.


As the blade sliced into his skin he screamed. “God, forgive me!”

Jared - Shy, honest, innocent. He narrates part of the story. I love his outlook and his growth and I feel his pain. His strength is apparent in the way he is able to carry on.

”I wish I could be who you want me to be.”

Luke - From fresh and cheeky to confused and remorseful he really got under my skin.

”…I’m not saying ‘no’. I’m saying ‘not yet’.”

Derrick - A dream man. Or is he? Wow, I've never been so unsure of a character before. I thought I loved him, then I absolutely hated him. Then.....


There are two timelines going on in this book. One is current, the other relives the past.

”L Loves J – Forever”

Eleven year old Jared is new in town. Luckily, Luke is bold enough to make fast friends. Growing up, they very innocently learn about life, friends, family and love and they overcome youthful challenges together. As the two boys discover their world, and each other, they are inseparable, until they are, indeed, separated. Luke is sent away to "camp" to be straightened out, while leaving Jared behind completely unaware. This is just the beginning to an uplifting yet tragic story.

”It’s just that simple. I love you!”

Be prepared to care about these boys, to get angry at the world and find hope in an unabashed message.


I was impressed with the way the author was able to age the voice of the characters as they matured and the story became more complex. I felt like I was really watching two young boys grow into men and that gave me a connection I didn’t expect.

Some editing issues caused me moments of pause, for instance, some italics were omitted in thought dialog. Overall, I found the writing to move forward quickly.


I ran the gamut of emotions. Everything from adoring sighs to heart-wrenching sobs. I was left with a feeling of completeness but also resolve in my conviction that love is love and there is progress to be made.

Unfortunately real life interfered with my review of this book. I read it and then wasn't able to get to the review for a few weeks. So, I reread the book to make a fresh attempt. I'm so glad that I did. This book really benefits from a bit of a reread. It begins at the end, which is another beginning.

--My thanks to DeeJay Arens for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Take a look at my Male/Male Romance Book Blog:

( )
  LisaT131 | Sep 21, 2013 |
This was one of the most amazing books I have read. The love the 2 boys shared was absolutely heart wrenching. It's so sad to realize the kind of ignorance by some people portrayed in this book is real. I don't know that there was an emotion I didn't have while reading it. It was one I couldn't put down, begging for things to go the way I wanted them to. I made notes to tell the author "I $#@&ing hate you" then "I $#@%ing love you" for the twists and turns it took. If you read one book this year, make this book it - then give it to a friend. Awesome job, Dee Jay Arens. I look forward to more from you. ( )
  JuneKramin | May 10, 2013 |
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Anything I've accomplished is only because I've been lucky enough to be surrounded by amazing, incredible people. This book is no exception. I would like to thank the remarkable people I am proud to call family and friends for their love, support, and encouragement.

As always there are certain people that deserve a special note of thanks.

Paula: Thank you for loving this story and pushing for it to be shared.

Dave: Thank you for being the master who's surrounded himself with the best and for being an all around amazing person.

June: My inspiration. Thank you for giving me hope, encouragement, and pointing me to the wonderful people that are WAMM.

Jax, Bettina, Jules, and Heidi: Your love and knowledge kept me constantly striving to become a writer. Thank you for loving the story as much as I do.

Mary: My muse in human form. Thank you for holding me up, pushing me, teaching me the craft and for being there as my editor, friend, and sister.

To my parents, sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews. Thank you for you unconditional love and for being a source of inspiration.

Finally, thank you Steve, for "every day". You've given me more than anyone could promise. Thank you for making life an adventure.
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"No one talks about what happens when you fall in love with the boy next door... not when you're the boy living beside the boy next door."
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