Fin & Matt – Charlie Winters

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“Honestly, I think I’ve loved you since the day we met.”

 

In a word: Maybe read the thing? I dunno. It’s harmless enough. The writing isn’t very good, and the plot is pretty bare-bones. There were a few parts that I enjoyed, but overall I wasn’t a fan. When I first read it (back in February) I liked it well-enough, but reading it again was a chore. I’m still not sure how this even got so many 4 and 5 star reviews on Goodreads. If insta-love is your thing, no matter how bad the writing is, you might enjoy this. It’s worth at least reading once for the entertainment value. There’s a lot of this that could work if only the writing was better.

[available for purchase at Book Depository and Amazon.ca]

 

THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS

The Trigger Warning: This book contains homophobic language and characters, and major character death.

 

The Plot: I’m not really an overly huge fan of books where the whole plot is just the romantic relationship between the two leads. I’m especially not a fan of this if I can’t get attached to the two leads, which was the case here. The whole plot of Fin & Matt is Fin and Matt’s romantic relationship from first meeting, to ‘dating’ (see: massive amounts of poorly written sex and sometimes they go out), to moving in together, to marriage, to death. I’d say this is a story about these two men falling in love, which I think is what it was going for, but that’s not really what we have here. It’s insta-love, first of all, and even beyond that we aren’t shown how these two fell in love with each other. We’re just told that they are in love and we just have to go with it. There is also some drama with Matt’s family, which was enjoyable to read.

 

The Couple: Fin MacAuliffe and Matt DiFiore are the two leading men here. Fin’s a 22-year-old trust-fund brat who has just graduated from college and gotten a job as a music teacher at a high school. It’s at this school where he meets Matt, who is the 30-year-old PE teacher and, we come to find out, is divorced from his (female) high school ‘sweetheart’ and is estranged from his blue-collar family. I’m not a huge fan of either of them, to be honest. Fin’s not too bad, just kind of boring. And really inconsistently insecure, for some reason, which sometimes makes him come off as whiny. Don’t even get me started on his little jealousy moments either; boy is way over-dramatic. In the beginning, I found Matt a bit creepy and manipulative, but I think that’s mostly down to bad writing because his dialogue is terrible. He gets a little more bearable when the drama ramps up because at least then he isn’t constantly talking about how in love he is with Fin to Fin, and he has more people to interact with.

 

The Families: I fucking love Fin’s parents, they’re awesome and they definitely should’ve had more screen-time here. Sure, I wouldn’t be able to make myself read a whole book about them, but in small doses they’re easily one of the more entertaining aspects of the book. Patrick and Chloe MacAuliffe are both still very much in love, and their relationship is playful and really fun to read. They dote on Fin, and then on Matt once they meet him, and accept the boys’ relationship wholeheartedly. Matt’s family, on the other hand, are the complete opposite. He’s been estranged from them since about two years before the story starts because his father, Max DiFiore, is a raging homophobe and cannot and will not accept having a gay son. He’s also an abusive arsehole. Matt’s mother Pam is less a hateful bastard and more stuck under the control of her abusive husband and is pretty much beaten down by the life she’s trapped in. Matt also has a twin brother named Marc, who is also under their father’s thumb and is pretty shit when we’re first introduced to him. The whole family is homophobic in varying degrees, but Pam and Marc take steps to better themselves in that regard, while Max remains a hateful bigot to his literal end.

 

The Best Friend: Fin has exactly one friend in the whole world (Matt apparently has none), her name is Emily, and she’s… I’m not sure there’s actually a point to her. She and Fin went to high school together and they’ve been best friends ever since, but she hardly shows up in the story. She pops in now and again to get drunk and be weird and imply that she’s deeply in love with Fin. There could’ve been an actual plot point in there, but it never really happens. She doesn’t even get a mention in the epilogue, so I can only assume that she just dropped off the face of the Earth once Fin and Matt got married.

 

The Romance: So I feel that the romance is kinda lacking here. Sure, there are some romantic moments, but the whole story is basically about two men who fell into insta-love with each other. It’s not really love at first sight, maybe lust at first sight. They know each other for a few weeks by the time they fall into bed together, but we don’t really see what goes on for those weeks, we just go from zero to ‘I love you’ with nothing in between. And then they’re moving in together in a completely different city and getting married, like, a month later. And the story is told by Fin, so we get a few paragraphs of romantic asides, but we don’t hear anything from Matt aside from his dialogue (which I found mostly creepy in the beginning) which is mostly ‘I love yous’ and things of that nature. The way this is written doesn’t make it believable (to me) that these two men are totally in love and want to spend the rest of their lives together.

 

The Sex: The sex is a bit hit and miss; mostly miss. Though really, the only thing that makes it mostly a miss is 1. the bad writing, and 2. that there’s too much of it (though that’s most likely a personal gripe, different strokes and all that). But yeah, there was way too many poorly-written sex scenes for my liking. There were some things in some of them that worked, but mostly I just nit-picked them. Pretty sure if you took out the sex scenes the book would be halved. Also Fin was a virgin at the beginning and seemed to get super good at sex really quickly, which is a personal peeve of mine, I guess. Beware of that if that’s not your thing. There’s nothing offensive or disturbing about the sex, there was just too much of it and the scenes were kind of a chore to read through.

 

The Epilogue: This was the most talked about point in all the Goodreads reviews I read before I got the book. People either hated the epilogue, or just didn’t really care about it, there was no one who actually liked it. Personally, I liked some parts of it, but overall it was pretty dark and did not at all match the tone of the rest of the story. The parts I liked were the snapshots of Matt and Fin eventually adopting a daughter and her growing up and all that. If the epilogue was all about that I don’t think people would’ve hated it as much. Sure, it would’ve still been unnecessary, but it would’ve been cute and fit in better with the rest of the story. But it’s not all about that, it’s mainly about how Fin and Matt spend 20 years together and then Matt dies (of a heart attack, I think). And it is sad to read because maybe you’re annoyed by these characters, but not enough to want either of them dead. It comes completely out of nowhere too, which is probably the worst part. The main story ends with Fin and Matt married, so they technically already have their HEA. The epilogue is just extra and the angst it brings is totally unnecessary. You could completely skip the epilogue and not miss anything. In fact, if you want Fin and Matt to have their HEA and not want to ruin a good story with angst, I encourage you to skip it.

 

The Writing: It’s probably fairly obvious at this point that I hated the writing. The writing in this is bad. The plot and characters are weak, most of the dialogue is horrible, and it’s written in first person POV so it’s basically a book full of bad dialogue. The worst part for me though is the awful word choices. It’s written almost like the author is trying too hard? Like they’re trying to sound really smart, or formal, or something? Like there are words like ascended, and transpired, and things like that that are technically being used correctly, but they don’t really work within the context. And longer words aren’t abbreviated, and one nit-pick I constantly had was that the author (and technically Fin) kept saying ‘abdominals’ and ‘lubricant’ instead of just ‘abs’ and ‘lube’ and I’m assuming it’s written like that to make the narrative voice sound more high-class (I think that’s the term I’m looking for). The only way I really think of to describe it is, like I said, it sounds like the author is trying too hard. The story itself is kind of meh anyway, but the writing just makes reading it that much more of a chore.

[Fin & Matt was published May 28, 2015, available as both a print book and an ebook]

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One thought on “Fin & Matt – Charlie Winters

  1. Pingback: Monthly Round-Up: June – July – August, 2016 – In A Word

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