Author: Wayne Manfield
Reviewed by: SheReadsAlot
Publisher: JMS Books
Genre: M/M Young Adult
ISBN 13: 9781935753971
Like a million other young gay men, Bryan keeps his sexuality hidden because it’s safer that way. Yet other guys know he’s different — they sense it, and make Bryan’s life pure hell. At home, things aren’t much better. He barely acknowledges his alcoholic father, and his mother has little time to spend with her family. So Bryan is alone, with no support, no shoulder to cry on.
Years of torture and torment, of name calling and humiliation, have taken their toll. Bryan does what he can to make new friends, but in trying to be something he’s not, he makes a huge mistake. Unable to cope with the repercussions, Bryan spends more and more time in a fantasy world he has created for himself. In this private world he is handsome, an object of desire. He is loved.
Is the hiding place as perfect as it seems? Or will Bryan go too deep and not be able to come out again?
Review: Wayne Mansfield’s “The Hiding Place” deals with tough subject matters, bullying, attempted suicide, mental health issues and fantasized/implied dub-con. So if any of those subjects are triggers, I’d advise you skip this one because it’s a sad, depressing short story. Romance this is not, you’ve been warned.
I enjoyed this book and, at points, I didn’t. This story is one that shines a light on bullying and its effects it can lead on lives. We meet Bryan, 18 year old high school senior. He’s tormented during school days to no help, teachers add to the problems and his family life is closer to non existent. He’s depressed and trying to keep together for a few more months before being able to move to the city and away from his tormentors.
His only solace? His fantasy world where he’s loved, touched and treated like a human being. Bryan relies on his imagination to create companionship and love. However once he moves away from home, life does not get better.
Wayne Mansfield writes pretty solid stories including this one. And I appreciate the message brought on the anti-gay bullying through this raw story telling but the story had a few issues for me.
Concerns: No safe sex practices, sometimes the pacing was weird, the transition into Bryan’s fantasy, at times, was a rough one. Was he raped? Was it in his mind? Whatever that was, it was pathetic and sad. You can’t help but feel for Bryan’s disturbed mind.
“The Hiding Place” is a metaphor for the world Bryan fantasizes. It’s a lonely world and the ending is especially disturbing and haunting before the ‘conclusion’. (Don’t expect a happy one but a realistic one) For less than 60 pages, the story leaves an emotional punch.