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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
The You I See by Danny Freeman is an eloquent tale about two young men who face the odds to stay true to themselves. Brandon and Alex are opposites when it comes to their personalities. It all begins during their attendance at a fundamentalist church, where Brandon, in contrast to the solemnity of the communal worship, cracks a joke with Alex about Dolly Parton’s assets. From then on, Alex felt corrupted, that Brandon had dragged him into his dirty world. But it also strengthened their friendship that evolved into intimacy. Alex is grateful for having supportive and understanding parents. What he and Brandon must be careful with is Houston’s reception of their sexual orientation. Religion doesn’t offer a refuge as God makes it clear in the Bible that homosexuality is wrong and perverted. But Brandon and Alex have nothing to gain if they choose to submit to the dictates of an unreceptive society.
The You I See is a quiet but essential novel with a profound and fascinating look at the issues of identity, and Danny Freeman explores it with a degree of intelligence and compassion. It is a story that you should never overlook, a novel that is deeply grounded in the characters and the conflict they go through. It stays focused on its theme without losing its sense of balance in dealing with other universal themes like sexuality, family, and social norms. And the best part is that it is never preachy. Rather, it presents you with a study of the human condition that affirms the painful bite of reality. Freeman’s novel is confident in every respect. This is a great read for its deep understanding of the human connections we make and how these form us to become the best person that we can be.