It's 1977 and Thomas-Edward is starting his freshman year at Penn State. His roommate, Donovan "Dondi" Whyte, immediately captivates him. Dondi is charming, witty, and extremely magnetizing, and Thomas-Edward easily falls under his spell. As their friendship grows, they become lovers. Thomas-Edward is in love, but Dondi tells him he can never be what he wants. That free-spirited nature breaks Thomas-Edward's heart over and over again until he meets Dondi's younger brother, Matthew. They share a connection and bond like none other, and Thomas-Edward eventually realizes that, while he loves Dondi, Matthew is the man who holds his heart. When unforeseen tragedy strikes, the three men come together as a means of support and solace.
Larry Benjamin has crafted a beautiful tale of love, loss, discovery, redemption, concession and revelation. All of the characters are well-developed. I particularly appreciated the fact that the book's pace moved pretty quickly and was not weighed down by an overabundance of flowery language and set up. It felt as though I was sitting in the room with the characters and merely observing their lives.
There is one quote from the book that particularly struck a chord with me and can be applied to all of our lives.
"It's taken me my whole life to understand that the only thing between birth and death is love, that love is life."
What a happier world we'd live in if more people understood this powerful lesson!
Buy What Binds Us here and here.