BOBBY GREEN (Johnnies #5)
Amy Lane, Author
Vern Roberts couldn’t wait to turn eighteen and get the hell out of Dogpatch, California. But city living is expensive, and he’s damned desperate when Dex from Johnnies spots him bussing tables.
As “Bobby,” he’s a natural at gay porn. Soon he’s surrounded by hot guys and sex for the taking, but it’s not just his girlfriend back in Dogpatch—or her blackmailing brother—that keeps him from taking it. It’s the sweet guy who held the lights for his first solo scene, who showed him decency, kindness, and a smile.
Reg Williams likes to think he’s too stupid to realize what a shitty hand life dealt him, but Bobby knows better. What Reg lacks in family, opportunity, education, and money, he makes up for in heart. One fumbling step at a time, they connect, not just in their hearts but in their bodies, where sex that’s not on camera, casual, or meaningless, becomes the most important thing in the world.
But Reg is hampered by an inescapable family burden, and he and Bobby will never fly unless he can find a way to manage it. Can he break the painful link to his unrealized childhood and grow into the love Bobby wants to give?
A rather intense, highly moving and sometimes tragic story packed with themes, morals, friendships and chosen family. This is not an easy read and packed with angst, emotional and physical trauma. I read this as a stand-alone and didn’t find that at all problematic. There were times, early in the story, where I felt that I should understand things better, but the answers were forthcoming. This was my first book in the Johnnies series and I’m anxious to read the earlier stories as each character was likable, unique and interesting. The characters were real with strengths and weaknesses and at Johnnie’s, they found camaraderie and family, the kind of family you create and grow.
Reg is a 35-year-old young man of limited opportunity who has settled into a life dedicated to taking care of his severely mentally ill older sister. With few marketable skills and a terribly disadvantaged childhood, he felt fortunate to have found a job, in porn, with benefits, health insurance specifically and where he was able to have a family of sorts. A rather unusual porn actor, Reg acted under his own given name as he couldn’t consistently remember to use his chosen name, Digger. The burden he carried, caring for his noncompliant and sometimes extremely dangerous sister, was, to him, a lifelong responsibility. His mother abandoned them when Reg was only 16. Another older sister had her own family and distanced herself from Reg and his sister with paranoid schizophrenia. Despite his work in porn, both gay and MF porn, Vern absolutely identifies as heterosexual. His sister is a rabid homophobe and perhaps that was a factor in his determination that he was not gay. The combination of his own ‘slowness’ and his ‘crazy’ sister made it impossible for Reg to develop a long-term relationship. Who would want him?
When a very young new actor came to Johnnies, Reg took him under his wing. Vern Roberts chose to use the name Bobby Green, a play on his own name. Bobby almost immediately could see how kind Vern was and how much he needed help and Bobby with a maturity born of necessity jumped in to help. Bobby didn’t see Reg’s slowness, his rather simple view of the world as limiting because he also quickly identified how devoted Reg was and his many good qualities. Bobby left his home in Dogpatch, California. Yes, I did say Dogpatch, to escape the blackmail and abuse at home and to try to make a better home for his mother. Life in Dogpatch was dismal. Life in the city wasn’t much better when Vern / Bobby was working as a busboy and discovered by a porn director how noted Bobbies remarkable ‘attributes’.
I have not read much of this author’s work and I welcome the opportunity to be better acquainted with her talent as a master storyteller