Published 25 November 2014
Published by Sloan Johnson
Copy obtained from author for review.
Two words stripped Austin Pritchard of the privileged life he’s used to. The moment he uttered the words, “I’m gay,” he realized there is no such thing as unconditional love. Now, he’s gone from traveling the world with his family to living on the streets trying to figure out how he’s going to stay in school.
A chance opportunity changes everything. Austin impresses the foreman and lands a job, but even more, he catches the eye of David Becker, who is determined to teach him that true love doesn’t come with strings.
The only thing David had as a child was love. His family struggled to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. That has driven him to stay focused on his goals; become a tenured professor at a university and save enough money to build a home of his own. It’s not until he sees an insecure college student working on his new house that he realizes that he hasn’t planned on someone to share his life with. He’s about to learn that everything he’s already accomplished is nothing compared to the task of making Austin see that he is worthy of love.
If you’re looking for a unique story, give Teach Me a chance. I was impressed with how Sloan Johnson was able to take several difficult topics and incorporate them into the story without it becoming too heavy and emotionally overbearing.
When we first meet David, he’s stalking the build site of his new home. A day laborer, Austin is there and David is attracted to him. Part of it is the hard work ethic he is showing. Austin seems more determined than the other workers who’ve been on site since the beginning. David wants the progress to move forward and not become stagnant, so he’s resolved to be on site, working alongside the contractor to see that happen. It’s also an opportunity to get to know Austin.
Poor Austin. He finally comes out to his family and is immediately ridiculed and humiliated. His father takes his car and his family away. He sends Austin back to university with instructions to renounce his wicked ways or be out on his own for good. By the end of semester, Austin realizes his father was serious. Now he’s out of the dorm for summer break and thrown into the scene of a large majority of homeless in our society, LGBT homeless youth.
A scary situation is lessened when Austin meets Bree and Casey. They show him the ropes for that area. Where to hang out at specific times, where to avoid, and who can be trusted. It’s through Casey’s day labor connections that Austin gets the construction job. David’s attraction and connection to the builder in charge of the project leads to an offer of the job lasting the summer.
As their relationship grows, Austin fears telling David that he is homeless and abandoned by his family. He doesn’t know that David came from meager beginnings and would never judge him. David does want to protect Austin but most of all he wants to give him the opportunity to pick himself up and soar. With David’s help, Austin has a place to live again and a job he’s earning money to live off and save for school.
Their age difference doesn’t seem to bother either one of them but they are at different places in their lives. Austin’s fix to every bad situation is to run. He literally packs and leaves. David is constantly on edge wondering of Austin will flee if he does or says the wrong thing. Eventually Austin is forced to grow up and face his fears, all of them. He begins to understand that if he wants certain things in life, he will be pushed out of his comfort zone. He’ll have to stand and defend. He has to fight for what is important and not keep running away.
Teach Me is a story of survival, strength and growth individually and as a couple. Austin and David will have you cheering for them and longing to see them happy and working everything out.
RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!!