A bittersweet short story about a lifetime love affair. Henry and Jim have spent a life in love, from the very first date arranged by Henry's sister, through the rocky times they worked to make ends meet, and into their twilight years.This is more a post than a review because well... this book touched me on a personal level and it definitely affects the way I view this story. I began reading Henry and Jim by J.M. Snyder and was sobbing by the second paragraph. I had to stop reading before I could continue.
Old men now, Henry reminisces about the love they've shared as he learns to cope with Jim's fading memory and his own fear of being forgotten by the only man he's ever loved.
It's a beautiful short story about an elderly couple, Jim who is exhibiting Alzheimer-like symptoms, and his partner Henry who is the caregiver. Through Henry's point of view, we experience a morning in their present lives, Henry's anxieties about Jim's memory loss and his fear of being forgotten. Through flashbacks, Snyder highlights Henry and Jim's first meeting, part of their life struggles, and some very happy moments. It ends on a high note and it's a beautiful and touching story.
But for me... well... I couldn't help but think of my own parents. My mom suffers from these symptoms and my dad is the caregiver. They had a beautiful love story and first meeting. They saw each other once, wrote love letters, met once more and then married -- they saw each other twice before making that commitment. They have been married and devoted to each other for over 50 years. And I mean lovingly! As kids and even as adults, my brothers and I would begin with the "Aww mom... dad, stop!" and would end by looking at each other and doing the eye roll.
The scenes in this little story... Henry's anxiety for Jim; his fear that Jim would get hurt if he were left alone by the stove; his fear that Jim would forget his name, their love and the details of their lives, all of that was so REAL to me. I've seen that fear in my father, and my brothers and I have experienced it too.
I sobbed throughout much of this story for the loss, and at the same time thought how lucky they were to have found and experienced that love -- the fictional Henry and Jim, the real Henry and Jims out there, and my parents (my brothers and I too). And as tough as it is, I couldn't help thinking how lucky we are to be able to experience closure together -- there are so many Henry and Jims out there who are not so lucky.
Thank you J.M. Snyder for writing this story and for reminding me of the love that came first.
Genre: Contemporary Gay Literature
Visit J.M. Snyder here. Read excerpt here.
Anezthezea's 2010 M/M Romance Challenge
ETA: Thank you Mariana! This story is being highlighted for the real life struggle of Clay and Harold vs. Sonoma County in CA