Thursday, June 13, 2013

Review: First Position

Reviewed by Janell
First Position is a reunited lovers story starring Emory, an almost-professional ballerina, and Mason, an NFL quarterback. They met in college and dated until shortly before graduation, when their career paths led them in different directions and Mason dumped Emory for not abandoning her ballet career to follow him. The story picks up six years later as Emory is breaking up with her fiancé and Mason is divorcing his trophy wife and recovering from a shoulder injury.

It’s a good premise and a good beginning. Emory and Mason’s road to reconciliation is emotionally quick, yet physically slow. They’re each keeping secrets from the other because they don’t want to ruin their fragile new beginning. When Emory discovers Mason’s secrets, she yells at him for not telling her. “Because, Mason, that’s what people in relationships do. They share things with each other.”

Emory is a a strong, reasonable character. She’s also got a perfect ballerina body, perfect coloring that rarely requires makeup, long blonde hair, and she loves to eat. Her only perceived imperfection is her small chest, but the big-breasted women in the story are characterized as sluts and whores, so her small breasts are an implied positive character attribute.

Mason is amusing at times, thoughtful and emotional at other times, but always an alpha male with temper issues. When he thinks Emory has been touched by another man, he throws food and flips coffee tables. He buys her a nice dress but then doesn’t want anyone else to see her wearing it. He also, still, doesn’t respect Emory’s love of ballet. He takes her to a ballet performance, thinking that it’s ridiculous, but he harnesses his contempt and congratulates himself for spending two hours of torture to make Emory happy. For me, his thoughts and behavior were boorish enough that I couldn't fall in love with him.

The supporting cast of characters is colorfully depicted, from Mason’s brother and mother to Emory’s gay roommate and his boyfriend. Mason, by the way, is okay with a gay man hugging Emory. He’s not okay with calling a baby boy beautiful, though, the baby must be handsome, so Mason still has some evolving to do.

My biggest problem with this book is a technical one: too much narrative head hopping. When characters are having a telephone conversation, I don’t need to see what each person is doing on their end of the line. I would also prefer one definite narrator per scene, because it wasn’t always clear who was having what thoughts. It weighted the narration down with unnecessary information.

Overall, this is a sweet story. It’s a long journey with a series of small happenings that paint a big picture, rather than a roller coaster of events and emotions. The ending, when Emory finally reveals her secret, has heavy emotions that play realistically and I felt that the characters had finally reached a new level of emotional intimacy. It made me wish that large chunks of the mid-section had been replaced with more conflict and introspection to depict even more character growth.

Grade: B-

Click to purchase: Amazon
First Position
by Prescott Lane
Release Date: April 14, 2013

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