The Hollywood Series
- No Apologies (book #1)
- Acting Out (book #2)
- Full Disclosure (book #3)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Cheerful and friendly, Aaron Blake has never met a puzzle that intrigues him more than brooding Greg Falkner. He wants to get to know his roommate, but it seems the only way past his shell is through it. When a reluctant friendship turns into a budding romance, can the two keep their feelings secret from their classmates? Or will their newfound love destroy them both?
So goes the story screenwriter Greg Falkner spins for audiences and his longtime partner, Aaron Blake, in No Apologies. Loosely based on their lives together, the film rocks Hollywood with its blatant portrayal of two teenagers falling in love and coming of age in a world that struggles to accept them, while they in turn struggle to accept themselves.
At the end of the evening, will Greg’s risky venture break a relationship that’s already foundering? Or will the real life Greg and Aaron also find their happily ever after with no apologies?
So what did I think?
Fabulous – totally loved this ‘two-in-one/here-and-now’ story.
The story starts in 2002 with Greg and Aaron on the verge of breaking up. Aaron is no longer prepared to be Greg’s secret. He agrees to attend one last event with Greg, the premiere of Greg’s movie No Apologies.
The story then takes us back to 1994, to the start of the relationship between Greg and Aaron, the story that is being told in the movie.
Aaron and Greg are both complex characters and their relationship is intense from the moment a traumatic event triggers their deeper feelings.
Aaron is involved in an assault that causes significant injury to Greg. In a schoolboy showdown, a group of boys demand an apology from Greg with the threat of violence. Aaron feels tremendous guilt, humiliated and disgusted with his lack of self control as Greg taunts him into action. Later he admits to Greg that he fully expected that Greg would have apologised and thus avoided the eventual outcome. Later we come to understand Greg and the terrible guilt and pain he feels, such that he cannot bring himself to apologise (thus the name of the book/movie).
From this emotional start, Aaron and Greg commence a relationship although both denying being gay. They struggle to understand and accept their feelings, nicely summed up by Greg who wonders “Why couldn’t it all be simple and…normal?”. However they are drawn to each other.“Pulling back, Aaron stared into his eyes, the gravity of the moment and the choice they’d made hanging heavy in the air around them. Everything was about to change in their lives.”
The story focuses very much on Greg, no doubt due to the fact that the tale being told is his screenplay. It is heartbreaking to learn of the tragedy in Greg’s past and the impact his father has had on him. He makes decisions aimed at giving Aaron the best possible life, but with sad, sad consequences.
Aaron’s control and confidence translates into the physical side of their relationship, with Greg responding to the authority shown by Aaron. “In a delicious twist of fucked-up fate, it seemed he enjoyed being made to submit to someone he loved.”. The interactions between Aaron and Greg were really well written and blended sex with emotion. “He’d never heard that tone from him – like arctic air clashed with Southern heat, and a storm brewed as a result.”
The majority of the book is focused on the younger Aaron and Greg, with a brief detour back to 2002 in the middle, before finally ending back with the movie premiere where the present day Aaron and Greg address the future of their relationship. I enjoyed the ending of the story. A happy ending but with a sense of realism.
I would highly recommend this book and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the Hollywood series.
Now for my only point of confusion…the story of the younger Greg and Aaron is told using their names (not the movie character names) so reads like their actual life story. It provides details of their families and events in their lives. The movie used different names (Grant and Alan) and had changed events in Aaron and Greg’s lives. Therefore, we later find out that the story of the younger Greg and Aaron, although similar, wasn’t really their actual story. (I hope that actually made sense!) This meant that I felt that I didn’t really know the true Greg and Aaron.
Check out the Book Trailer for No Apologies!
To find out more about Tibby Armstrong and her books visit her website.