In Split by Mel Bossa we meet twenty-eight year old Derek whose recently moved into a new condo with his boyfriend Nathan. Derek’s quiet, stutters when he speaks and has red hair. He’s had a hard childhood, his mother had a mental breakdown after she lost an unborn and afterwards his father worked away a lot.
Nathan is a ‘closer,’ big in the Sales world. He loves Derek and pays for everything, giving Derek a life of luxury. Nathan proposes marriage to Derek and he is unsure but accepts. One day while Nathan is away at a Sales Conference in London, Derek’s Aunt Fran comes round to see him and the new condo.
I immediately sensed that Derek and his Aunt Fran have a close relationship. Aunt Fran still smokes even though she’s got cancer and throughout Derek’s turbulent childhood was the one stable adult influence.
Aunt Fran presents Derek with his diary that he wrote at 11 years old. In this diary he writes to Bump, his mothers unborn. Eleven year old Derek is naive and just starting to experience puberty, we’ve all been there so it’s completely relatable and gives the reader a lot of empathy for him. Derek is about to read about his traumatic childhood and so are we the readers.
As we read the diary entries we are introduced to Derek’s neighbours the Lund family. Boone Lund is Derek’s age and his best friend; Lene Lund is younger and is eccentric but very funny; and Nicolai is wild. Derek can’t eat around Nicolai, craves to be around him and have his attention and realises when Nicolai disappears that he loves him.
We discover that Derek bottles up his emotions until he explodes; think of a pressure cooker – if you don’t release the steam sooner or later it’s going to explode. Derek’s inability to express his feelings resulted in asthma attacks in his childhood; but in present day his emotions are building up again as he faces the past and finds himself back in contact with Boone, Lene and Nicolai.
Bossa’s use of diary entries is a brilliant idea and one that is very well executed. I did feel that some of the diary entries were longer than necessary whereas others were shorter than I would have liked. Bossa’s mix of diary entries along with events in the present kept the storyline moving along at a good pace.
In the present Derek learns to express his emotions, finally finding his voice towards the end of Split. This leads to an extremely satisfying happy ending that leaves the reader contented. The ending of the book is stretched out but this only gives the reader more of the happy ending to enjoy.
On a personal level Split filled me with hope for love and I found myself wishing for a love that Derek comes to experience at the end of the book. This made Split a piece of literature that is beyond superb and that I will read time and time again.
Considering that Split was Bossa’s first novel it is incredible. Bossa should be proud of Split and her unique writers voice that gives her a gift for story telling. I’ve become a fan of Bossa and still have Suite Nineteen of hers to read and review. After that I will have to eagerly await future books.
As always I’d like to thank Publishers Group UK for sending me Split by Mel Bossa to read and review. Split by Mel Bossa is available to buy on Amazon. I’d recommend Split by Mel Bossa for any gay man who wants some inspiration to believe in love.