Just Like Honey
Artist Ryan Ikeda’s domestic bliss shatters after an invitation to join a career-launching gallery show in 1990s Seattle. His artistic uncertainty and secret desires, dangerous as turpentine and flame, threaten to torch his bond with Ben, his handsome boyfriend, and muse.
Suddenly, instability rocks every aspect of Ryan’s life: his grandmother’s sinking health, his friends moving on to new jobs, even his apartment is endangered. Worst of all, Ben’s work demands more time away from home, the overload of changes jeopardizing the stability of their open relationship.
Ryan’s long-time friends advise him to jump headlong into the colorful Seattle art scene. However, Ryan’s deep examination of his creative needs outlines new demands for his life with Ben. Striving for both balance and success, Ryan faces the greatest risks of his personal and professional life.
Just Like Honey peeks inside working artists’ studios, cruises the 1990s Seattle bar scene, and eavesdrops on artists gossiping about their competitors at hot gallery shows, while Ryan and Ben explore the communication and tenderness required for a deep, open relationship.
Do not be put off by what might seem like a slow start because you will soon be captured by the need to understand artist Ryan’s needs and motivations.
This is truly much more than a story about a man who seems to have lost his way both with his relationship and his career. Reading Just Like Honey caused me to have a whopper of a book hangover. There is so much more than you anticipate and the journey the reader takes is both unexpected and beautiful.
Ryan knows that he is a talented artist but he is consumed by self-doubt alternating with the knowledge that he can create beauty. In a sense, this is a story of Ryan’s relationship with himself. But then we have other relationships, so many complex relationships. The character’s connection with his boyfriend Ben, with mentors and with extended family, and even more importantly with his own mixed Japanese-American culture and family history. Ryan is weighted down by the expectations of his family or is it his perception of the expectations of his family.
The secondary characters are interesting; some eccentric, some a little crazy and all are colorful. So many surprises await the reader but you’ll hear no spoilers from me. 4*