Review of In Front of God and Everyone by Nealy Wagner

In Front of God and Everyone (Pay it Forward #1)In Front of God and Everyone by Nealy Wagner

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3-3.5 stars

I received a free copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.

Josh is madly in love with his best friend Caleb, and has been for most of his life, even though he knows that nothing can ever come of it and he is destined to watch Caleb marry and get on with his life from the sidelines.
Josh and Caleb are living in a polygamist cult on a compound completely secluded from the outside world. Since every man on the compound apparently have to have 4-5 wives, there aren’t enough girls to go around, so some of the young men tend to disappear, when they come of age. Such a fate befalls our main protagonist Josh. Luckily, he is tipped off, that this will happen, and Caleb prepares him and tells him, he will come too. They meet up and road trips it across the country to a woman who escaped the compound 5 years earlier.

Josh and Caleb were very likable characters, especially Josh, who is the main protagonist and thereby the one we get to know the best. And it was a sweet story, following them across country and see them settling down together. But everything was just a bit too easy.

Josh and Caleb experience NO outside homophobia, whatever shame there may be is internal and negligible, which I find highly unlikely after so many years of religious brainwashing. Also, I think it would have been nice with just a tiny bit of balance – that not everything in the outside world was pure roses. Obviously, it would be great if homophobia didn’t exist, but it does. And rural Wyoming probably has it’s share. But no one bats an eyelid in this story.

I really wanted to see some conflict related to their upbringing, to facing up to their sexuality, to coming out. There was a great opportunity here for internal angst and shame, but it wasn’t really used. It seemed that their upbringing on the compound was mainly used to have a reason for the two of them being 20-year-old closeted homeless virgins.

The conflict introduced felt a bit forced to me, but was luckily resolved rather quickly, by everyone and his uncle telling Caleb what an idiot he is, and Josh standing up for himself – which was a really nice touch.

There were some editing errors, enough to be noticeable, but not so bad that they pulled you out of the story. All in all it was s very sweet story, the writing flowed nicely and it was very easily read, it just needed a little bit more.

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