About the Book:
Terrence Bottom wants to change the world. A prelaw student at Columbia University majoring in political science, his interests range from opposing the draft and the war in Vietnam, to civil rights for gays, to anything to do with Cameron McKenzie. Terrence notices the rugged blond hanging around the Stonewall Inn, but the handsome man—and rumored Mafia hustler—rebuffs his smiles and winks.
Cameron McKenzie dropped out of college and left tiny Paris, Kentucky after the death of the grandmother who raised him, dreaming of an acting career on Broadway. Although he claims to be straight, he becomes a prostitute to make ends meet. Now the Mafia is using him to entrap men for extortion schemes, he is in way over his head, and he can’t see a way out—at least not a way that doesn’t involve a swim to the bottom of the Hudson in a pair of cement flippers.
Cameron is left with a choice: endanger both their lives by telling Terrence everything or walk away from the only man he ever loved. The Mafia hustler and the student activist want to find a way to stay together, but first they need to find a way to stay alive.
I have a serious love for this series by Michael Rupured. Reading his books is like peeling back the pages of history to get an honest, upfront view at the events that shaped LGBT history. In Happy Independence Day, these events center around the famous Stonewall Uprising, the very riots that serve as inspiration for modern day Pride celebrations nationwide.
The historical accuracy reflected in detail and language is a testament to Rupured’s skill as a storyteller and researcher. By present standards any number of things in this story would be offensive, but in the context of the liberation of the 60s, they add to its genuine feel. I applaud Rupured for being able to transport readers back in time where they can experience all the sights and sounds of the era. Through his excellent details and imagery, the setting and characters vividly come to life page by page. Rupured has a way of challenging present day social issues with his exploration of the past. Maybe it’s because he so clearly outlines the issues and events that have shaped our current social climate, and we can’t help but be thankful for the progress we’ve made while still considering all that’s yet to come.
When I set out to read Happy Independence Day, I think my expectations were skewed. I knew to expect Terrence Bottom’s story, one which I’ve been dying to get my hands on since reading Rupured’s previously released After Christmas Eve. We definitely get Terrence’s story, but I was unprepared for exactly how significant the holiday mentioned in the title would be. In what I’ve become to recognize as his signature vignette style, Rupured tells a story of romance, civil unrest, and independence. Each of these characters is fighting for some type of freedom in his or her life. Sure Terrence is chief among them now that he’s living on his own and pursuing his college degree with the support of Philip and George, but it’s not just his sovereignty we have to consider. It’s Harold who’s ready to venture into the world and pursue his dreams of becoming a stylist and makeup artist, Abigail questioning what’s next, Cameron fighting to break free of the dangerous lifestyle fate has cruelly forced him to choose, Kreema fighting to just be herself, and even Philip. I know what you’re thinking – Philip’s a grown man. What independence is he fighting for? Even though he’s definitely an adult, he’s still struggling to find his way through unchartered territory with George. He wants more than he can have thanks to society’s view on homosexuality, and he’s fighting an internal battle to accept what his next phase of life will entail.
So while this is Terrence’s story, I feel like it’s also Harold’s. He’s made significant strides toward earning the trust and independence he seeks. Through his encounters with Marty, he’s doing a lot of self-discovery which opens up a whole realm of possibilities. He’s viewing the people around him and their connections through more adult eyes, as if the blinders are off and he can finally see it all clearly. He’s a really unique character, and I sincerely hope Rupured will continue to develop his story. I feel like there’s so much yet to come.
About The Author: