Book Review: A Home At The End of The World

This is the story of three people who make a life together. Three friends who become a family. This is the story of Jonathan and Bobby, friends, brothers, lovers, and Clare, the woman who shares their hearts, their bed, and bears their baby.

When Jonathan and Bobby become friends in middle school, it is to the chagrin of Jonathan’s mother, who sees Bobby’s hand in Jonathan’s pulling away from her. Jonathan’s father sees this simply as natural adolescence, and although he is right, he is not as intimate with the boys’ lives as is Alice, the mother. She has spent hours in Jonathan’s room, listening to albums, smoking pot, dancing. She bonds with Bobby almost against her will, and their home becomes a second home for him, an oasis away from the tragedy and dysfunction of his own.

In the meantime, boys will be boys, and Jonathan, gay, and Bobby, not gay but not straight, have experimented and explored their budding sexuality. Alice catches them with their pants down, and this event, traumatizing for all of them, ends the friendship between mother and son and surrogate son.

After the boys graduate, Jonathan moves from Cleveland to New York for college while Bobby stays. When he loses father and home to a fire, he moves in with Jonathan’s parents. When Jonathan’s dad’s declining health causes them to move to Arizona, Bobby heads to New York moves in with Jonathan and his roommate Clare. There, they all find a sort of love, Jonathan with a man named Erich, and Clare and Bobby with each other. Jonathan’s dad’s death and Clare’s pregnancy leads them to leave New York City behind and move upstate, where they open a small restaurant and raise little Rebecca together the three of them, in their home at the end of the world.

This novel takes on our definitions of friendship and of family, of gay and straight and what it really means to love another person. It is the story of escaping from “our convoluted, neurotic lives” and finding those places, quiet, simple, and perfect, where we can learn life’s little secrets. How some things end, how some endure. How we think we’ll have more time, how we don’t. Things move along at a comfortable pace, tragedy strikes, illness befalls, and things move along at a different pace, one you still must become comfortable with.

The world is filled with cities that are themselves filled with hustle and bustle and chaos, but there are also pockets of peace and affection and truth. Likewise, your bookshelf might be filled with books that are themselves filled with action or humor or romance, but there are also pages of beauty and reality and truth. This is one of those.

Submitted By: Rob B. Follow him on Twitter @robbrowatzke

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  • It’s a wonderful book, I’ve read it a few years back and liked the characters and where the story took me.

  • Wes

    I also read it a few years ago and loved it. Just avoid the movie…ugh.