When You Don’t See Me is the fifth book from Timothy James Beck and is another winner. Specifically, this is the fourth book set in NYC and focus around a group of friends and lovers first introduced in It Had to Be You. The thing that makes all of Beck’s books great is they deal with characters you could easily know. They are the people next door, down the street, that you work with or that you hang out with. Real characters in real situations.
When You Don’t See Me is more of the same, this time focusing on the youngest member of the Dunhill family. Nick moved to Manhattan to live with his uncle when he was 16 after he could no longer safely live it home in the wake of his coming out. Now, 19 and living in a post-9/11 New York, Nick struggles to come to terms with his fear of the city, the fact this his friends and family are changing around him while he seems to be stuck in a rut.
I loved this book. Beck’s writing style makes the characters come to life so well as real three dimensional people. In a lot of ways it’s like reading someone’s diary (or blog if you will) where you get to know everything about them. Nick’s struggle to figure out how to make his way in the world, to deal with those he lost on 9/11 and to reconnect with his family after year’s of dysfunction made for days of great reading. Whether or not you’ve read the other Beck books, this one can be picked up with no backstory (although if you’ve not read the others, you should).
Up next: The Straight Road to Kylie by Nico Medina.