In Franky Gets Real by Mel Bossa Franky is having a hard time; he’s unhappy at work as a Salesman, stressed by Geena his Boss and dominating girlfriend, he feels like he’s lost his way in life. Franky’s only saving grace is that this weekend he’s going camping with old friends, an opportunity to escape his stresses and reconnect with these old friends.
The first of Franky’s old friends is Wyatt, once the coolest of the gang now married with three children. Wyatt likes a drink, but why can’t he seem to say No to a beer?
Wyatt’s brother Alek and Franky used to be close, but now to Franky it there feels to be more distance between them than ever before. Alek seems to have something on his mind, but what is it? Franky notices every detail about Alek and has feelings deep inside of him about Alek, but ever since that moment fifteen years ago Alek hasn’t ever expressed an interest since.
Holly is a feminist, law student whose recently got into a relationship with Joe a Mechanic. Holly is the diplomat in the group. Nevin works as a Network Engineer and is undoubtably the brains of the group; but he’s quiet and you know what they say about needing to watch the quiet ones.
When Franky, Wyatt, Alek, Holly & Nevin arrive at the campsite they meet their neighbours Eli & Vlad a gay couple from Toronto with their dog. The disclosure of secrets start among the characters; somewhat dramatic at times – but what could I expect with at least three gay men as main characters?
Poor Franky went away to escape his life, the responsibilities and realises that this trip will be the opposite of what he hoped for. Within Franky doors are opening that he closed long ago leading to some self-revelations and for the first time in a long time he will have to make a choice. Franky needs to get real with himself and the one he loves or risks losing him forever.
Early on there are sexual undertones that continue throughout the book; but they complement the storyline rather than being the storyline or distracting from it. The description was bland with every character seemingly looking the same, but despite this lack of descriptive diversity Bossa should be given full credit for her clever writing style and storytelling ability which made each character distinct in my mind.
Bossa’s smart use of implied secrets gives the reader an idea as to what the secrets might be and encouraging the reader to read on to expose the truth. I particularly liked Bossa’s use of memory flash backs to show the reader how Franky’s and Alek’s friendship started developing fifteen years ago.
Franky Gets Real is essentially a story about love and self-discovery, chasing love and not giving up on the chase; a story which I will reread when I need to believe in love and that love prevails above all else. It is sometimes witty, sometimes deep and demonstrates Bossa’s ability to relate to a gay male audience, which is a fantastic achievement for a female writer.
It is easily the best gay fictional literature about gay love I’ve ever read. I can’t recommend Franky Gets Real enough and have already recommended it to some of my gay, bisexual and bi-curious male friends.