Saturday, June 20, 2020

Nash Summers - Arrows Through Archer

After the loss of his parents, Archer Hart is consumed by grief. Each day, he struggles his way through classes, parties, and trying to put on a good front for the sake of his best friend. But at night, he falls asleep to the sound of gunshots ringing in his ears.
Mallory is a man fighting a war of emotions all his own. When his son invites his best friend back home to Banff over a college break, he’s happy for the company.
Some time during the late-night talks, subtle smiles, and long, long silences, the two men begin to find solace in one another.
But love isn’t always easy, especially when it strikes you straight through the heart.

Comment: I saw this book recommended quite often in a group I'm a member of because readers keep saying how emotional, heartbreaking this is but also sweet and has a HEA. The story also features main characters with an age gap and I was curious to see how the author would deal with it so I decided I had to try.

In this novel we meet Archer Hart, a very depressed young man who can't cope with his grief after the death of his parents. He also has lost contact with his brother, who can't accept the fact Archer is gay.
Archer finds a friend in Danny, who is there for him and after one attack that puts Archer in the hospital, Danny offers Archer the possibility to recover at his father's house in Canada.
During the time Archer is there, he can't help but developing a special connection with Mallory, Danny's father, but it takes some times until what's between them is acknowledged.
Can these two different people, both going through the process of grieving, help each other to heal?

I think I can understand why many readers have enjoyed this book, it does have a certain emotional content that is difficult to be indifferent to. However, for me this book wasn't as impressive due to mainly two aspects, the first person POV and the writing. I think both were not suitable to this story and the emotional impact we are supposed to feel just passed me by completely. This was both sweet and a little sad, yes, but it was extremely easy for me to put it aside when I had to stop reading for some reason.

Basically, the plot centers on grief and how people can become depressed if they don't cope. I'm not a person who can really comment on this, since I never went through what the characters do (losing a spouse or one's parents) but the depressing states thy both sow is probably the truest part of the story and one I could sympathize with.
The thing is, by the way this was written, I was not fully convinced the characters had such an issue. I don't think the author wrote the story with enough depth to really put me, the reader, in those character's position and to feel as desperate as they supposedly would, Archer in particular.

Part of the issue is the first POV. Some authors do it wonderfully but here, I think 3rd person might have been better because it got to a point I found it very weird Archer would think of certain details, that he would actually be sharing those things, I mean, we don't really think like that and it felt weird he would describe something that way. It doesn't really feel the writing was flowing.
This means that, for me, it was easy to keep the distance from what they were feeling, from what their big obstacles supposedly were... when something that was there for all the angst climax to be obvious, I just thought to myself that it was silly and unrealistic.

Archer is a man in pain, he can't really cope, he is depressed, has suicidal thoughts, carries the gun of his father for sentimental reasons but also because he knows he will be a good sniper in the army or something and is afraid to connect with more people (besides his best friend Danny) for fear he would end up alone again.
Mallory grieves the death of his wife so they have that in common, that intrinsically sad flavor to their days, and they start boding over it. Were they a good couple, despite the age gap (which turned out to be not such a big deal as I imagined considering Mallory is Archer's best friend's father!) and the way each thought about being with the other?
To be honest, for me, not really.

The romance was not believable. Not that they couldn't, that is not the issue. I just think the way they behaved, the way they talked and the silly contrived tool that supposedly was there to make them even more aware of what they meant for one another, they just didn't seem to have real chemistry.
Sure, they had the hots for one another but I don't think the author showed that in a good way, or at least, in a sweet and passionate way.
The story is divided in two parts, Archer and then Mallory's POV and let me say I truly did not believe a man of 44 or whatever age Mallory is then, would speak and think like that. It just didn't convince me he would say and do those things like that.

All in all, this was just an OK read for me. It's readable, one can follow the story very easily but it doesn't flow naturally, the characters don't have depth enough to sustain the weaker plot points and I don't see why so many people love this, although I understand the potential can be enough to infer all the feels people keep defending the book has.
Grade: 5/10

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