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Robert’s lover Keith died of AIDS Christmas day 1983. They had been together less than a year. There were no treatments available and all Robert could do was make Keith as comfortable as possible and until the end.
It is now Christmas 2007 and even after twenty-four years he has never recovered from the loss of his soul mate. Christmas has remained very important to Robert. However, he is miserable. His grief is as strong as ever and he is stuck in an unhealthy relationship with a young man who cheats on him. When Ethan abandons Robert to go party, in desperation Robert gets drunk and decides to go for a walk. He comes across a young woman about to commit suicide and feels an instant recognition. He knows he has to save her.
Jess is surprised when an older man calls out to her. She is determined to end her life but there is something about the man that seems familiar and even comforting and without really knowing why she allows him to help her. This moment changes both their lives but is it simply a coincidence or are Robert and Jess destined to be in each others lives?
Rick R. Reed has written an engrossing read. I enjoyed reading this novel a great deal. Robert and Jess have a very unconventional yet touching and surprisingly realistic romance. However, the character that had the greatest effect on me is that of Robert’s lover Ethan. His story is often disturbing and difficult to read but this is definitely a good thing. Mr. Reed does a masterful job of depicting the horrors of drug abuse and its effect on the mind and body. ORIENTATION will stay with me for a long time.
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