Review: Clear Water by Amy Lane

Meet Patrick Cleary: party boy, loser, and spaz. Patrick’s been trying desperately to transform himself, and the results have been so spectacular, they’ve almost killed him. Meet Wes “Whiskey” Keenan: he’s a field biologist wondering if it’s time to settle down. When the worst day of Patrick’s life ends with Whiskey saving it, Patrick and Whiskey find themselves sharing company and an impossibly small berth on the world’s tackiest houseboat.

Patrick needs to get his life together—and Whiskey wants to help—but Patrick is not entirely convinced it’s doable. He’s pretty sure he’s a freak of nature. But Whiskey, who works with real freaks of nature, thinks all Patrick needs is a little help to see the absolute beauty inside his spastic self, and Whiskey is all about volunteering. Between anomalous frogs, a homicidal ex-boyfriend, and Patrick’s own hangups, Whiskey’s going to need all of his patience and Patrick’s going to need to find the best of himself before these two men ever see clear water.

Patrick has finally come clean about being gay with his father and all his father has to say is, “yeah, right”. Kind of like exactly what his dad said when he was going to get a job and pay for his college tuition. His father, as far as Patrick knows, just thinks of him as a fuck-up and a leech that lives off of his father’s bundles of money. Maybe Patrick hasn’t exactly struck out on his own and stuck to any one thing but he really wants to. Patrick very much wants to do something with his life but when with such low self-esteem it’s hard to think that he ever will. On top of that he has ADHD and without his medication…or even when the meds wear off his mind is like a jumble of information and he doesn’t always track as well as he should.

He heads off to console himself with his boyfriend who is not happy that Patrick plans on living without his father’s money. Not that Patrick’s father kicked him out but he wants to do it on his own. Little does Patrick know that not only is Cal not happy but he’ll do just about anything to keep Patrick’s dad’s money.

Wesley Keenan aka Whiskey is walking on the Delta one night when a car crashes through the guardrail and starts sinking. Whiskey ends up saving Patrick’s life. Whiskey and his work partner, Fly Bait, get Patrick back on his feet and actually let him stay with them for the summer. Whiskey is very attracted to Patrick but Patrick feels that he can’t be with anyone because he’s such a fuck-up. During the course of the summer both Whiskey and Fly Bait work with Patrick and his self-esteem issues and start to see a huge change in Patrick. Patrick and Whiskey eventually act on their attraction and it becomes something deep and lasting and oh so beautiful.

I have to start my thoughts off by saying that at first this was a really hard book for me to read. My oldest daughter who is only 13 has ADHD and wasn’t on medication for most of her life (she is now and it’s amazing the change in her). Some of the things that Patrick was experiencing was like looking at my daughter and frankly it was a bit too realistic for me. Lol I mean, my reading is about escaping from reality for a while! Lol (Which is funny since I read fiction and want it to be realistic. Yeah, ok, moving on.) Anyway, though I loved that Amy Lane took this incredibly common disorder and had one of her characters experience it was a bit out there for me. But in the end I’m SO very glad that she did.

Lane created a person that needed a shitload of patience. Patrick was a spaz and could be incredibly trying at times. Whiskey was just the perfect person for him. Whiskey saw beneath the crazy actions and realized what an incredibly intelligent man Patrick was. Whiskey became an expert, along with Fly Bait, in making Patrick believe that he was a worthy persona and worth loving. It was truly heartwarming to read the love and friendship that this book had to offer – despite the oh so close to home issues – for me.

Besides the romance there was the whole reason that Whiskey and Fly Bait were on the Delta in the first place. They were researchers trying to figure out what was in the water that was causing anomalies in the frog population – creating some incredibly interesting frog-like things. This research eventually leads them to some hinky happenings that Whiskey and Patrick didn’t expect. It also had some wonderful Lane humor when it came to two-headed frogs. Loved them!

In the end I really loved the relationship between Whiskey and Fly Bait, Whiskey and Patrick and Patrick and Fly Bait. Those were just wonderful and written so well. The suspense portion of it was a good tie in as well and a nice stepping stone for Patrick and his father. It was a great book about love, acceptance and home – finding that place that you truly feel like you can be yourself.

Rating 4.25 out of 5


Leontine said...

I will read anything from Amy Lane but I hear ya when something strikes close to home! I enjoyed your review, Tracy! I actually still need to buy this one but it won't be long now ;)

Dr J said...

Might be a good commentary subject down the road about "realism" in fiction--the kind we want until it strikes too close to home. Sounds like a really good book.

Tam said...

I loved that Whiskey believed in Patrick 100%, even though Patrick didn't believe in himself. Everyone needs someone like that in their corner. And I hate frogs. Really. It's close to a phobia but I did like Cal/Catherine. :-)

Tracy said...

Leontine - I haven't read ALL of Amy Lane's books but what I've read I've really loved. She just has a great way with words.

Dr. J. - Absolutely. We want it realistic but when it hits so close to home it gets a bit uncomfortable - that's for sure.

Tam - Yes! He really did, from the very beginning believe in him 100%. I think self-esteem issues are quite common in people with ADHD. I know my daughter does, but she's too defiant to admit it. lol
You hate frogs. Huh. I think you're the first person I've ever heard say that! lol Glad you like the non-jumping ones in Clear Water.:)

Chris said...

What I discovered while reading it was that I do NOT have the patience to be around someone with ADHD that much! Which is ironic, because I have all the coping strategies of someone with at least ADD...

orannia said...

Beautiful review Tracy. I loved this book. Interestingly, when I saw Amy Lane's blog post about it I emailed the link to a friend, whose son has just been diagnosed as ADHD. She doesn't normally read m/m, but read the excerpt (loved it) and then bought and devoured the book (blaming me the whole time for screwing up her reading order :) [Kidding!]

She too found it quite close to home, but as she is not as far along the journey as you I think what she loved was having someone (Amy) explain how someone with ADHD thinks. I'm glad that for your daughter things are brighter :) *hugs*

I too loved the book. What was scary for me was the number of time I could relate to Patrick. I'm not ADHD, but after chatting with the therapist how I react when my anxiety spikes is very similar. And the whole low self-esteem thing - related to that too. The only downside for me was how quickly Patrick and Whiskey fell in love, but that's just because I wasn't sure how realistic insta-love was. I stand corrected on that front now :)

And I believe there might be a sequel at some point :)

Tracy said...

Chris - It's really the hyper part that can make someone lose patience quite quickly - which is sad since that's what they need a huge heaping of.

Orannia - I'm sure it was an eye-opener from your friend. Every person is different so her child may not react to situations the same way. Since my child has multiple disorders one actually calms the other down a bit. That's not always a good thing but it happens! lol
It's hard when we see ourselves in fictitious characters, isn't it. It's happened with me before and I really had to sit down and analyze things for a while. It definitely wasn't fun but eventually informative for me.

Did you think they fell in love fast? I definitely didn't think it was insta-love. They fell in love over the course of the summer - 10.5 weeks - which in romance books is forever! lol (kidding)Since they took it so slowly at first (almost denying their attraction) and got to be friends it was a nice slow transition. I also liked how Lane then showed us the continuation of that love in the texts, etc., that Patrick and Whiskey passed back and forth during their separation. I thought it added a lovely aspect to the HEA as so much time had passed.

orannia said...

I'm beginning to think that my 'insta-love' comment is...well... I think I have a bee in my bonnet about insta love, so if the love isn't over months and months then I automatically put it in the instant column :( And to be fair Patrick and Whiskey did spend a lot of time getting to know each other over those weeks. My bad :( (This is why I shouldn't review :) I guess...IDK. I guess...maybe I'm jealous? Can one be jealous of fictional characters?

I did love the texts. It was so sweet. I love too how there were no misunderstandings. They communicated so well.

Tracy said...

Orannia - For me insta-love is when they've known each other for a few days or they sleep together a few times but never really get to know the other person - that drives me bat shit crazy. lol
And I've been jealous of fictional characters before so you're not alone. :)