Complexity by Harper Miller
July 17th, 2016
And let's be honest, M/M romance isn't necessarily written for the audience it's intended for, that being gay men. It's written for and solely by white cis-women. That contributes a lot to the reason I steer clear from it. Being that I'm queer myself, full disclosure: Most my friends are also queer, so I don't have one friend that would touch a M/M romance with a stick unless it's written by a gay male, which I completely understand. But when I discovered Harper Miller was writing one, I figured why the hell not?
I'm a huge fan of Harper Miller because she makes me feel like different types pf characters are marketable and that is a huge factor of why I purchase books. I hate reading what is deemed "typical", or "mainstream." I just want a non-conventional read that isn't like anything else and fortunately, Complexity is it!
What I loved about this book:
A BORICUA HERO. Can I just shout that from the rooftops? Anyone who knows me in real life knows I go nuts over Los puertorriquenos! As long as I can remember I assimilated to the dominant Latino culture where I live, which is Puerto Rican culture. For that, I've just had a love for los boriquens!
THE SPANISH! Okay, so there are always complaints about Spanish being in a book without any translations. Well you'll never hear that from me as I'm bilingual and IRL, Spanish speakers DO NOT, I repeat , DO NOT slow down to explain what we mean when we say stuff. I swear I just hate when a latino character is used but then there isn't any Spanish if the character is bilingual. And what really bugs me is when "standard Spanish" is used as every culture has it's own vernacular and slang. Dominicans don't talk the same as Cubans and Mexicans don't understand me sometimes as Cuban American, so when I read a, "Hola, como estas?" instead of a "Dime lo que hay?" or a "Que vuelta, Asere?" I'm like, damn did these people do their research that all latinos have their own culture and "speech?" I loved how the spanish was extra Puerto Rican and unapologetically!
MANUEL BEING BI. Let's face it. We live in a culture that labels us either gay or straight and no one understands the inbetween. I liked that Manuel was into women too because that's not something I was expecting. I was expecting some gay for you story and I'm so glad this wasn't it!
THE LANGUAGE. I'm from the East Coast so the language really spoke to me. The way he talked reminded me of so many people in my life, let alone the way I talk as well. I'm not ashamed of using a little slang here and there because it's a huge part of my culture as an Afro-Latina millennial. His prose was really refreshing to me especially seeing that he was Puerto Rican and from NYC.
What I didn't connect to as much:
Okay, so I get super squirmy when it comes to anal sex. That's a bias I have to unpack, which I totally realize and haven't gotten over yet. I think a part of it is connected to the fact that I don't enjoy it myself and many of my friends who do identify as gay males prefer intimacy like kissing and oral over be-all-end-all anal. Their sweet moments I loved but the anal sex I just couldn't sit back and enjoy it because I know it hurts so much, lol.
It bothered me that Manuel preferred "white" boys and considered Latino a race. I think there is a lot to take in mind with my opinion on this. I also identify as Latinx, but Afro-latinx. I hear people say all the time that Latino is a race and I cringe every time I hear that. In my head, Manuel was a white Puerto Rican, a javao if you must and to read that he had a preference just brought me back to younger days when Puerto Rican guys told me "At least you're not Black-black. I can take you home because you're Cuban." Blissfully ignorant to the fact that just because they saw me as a Latina, they thought the whole world did too. Identifying as a Negrita, A black woman, has and always will be important to me so it's hard for me to connect with him linking Latinidad as a whole. I may be the only person who nitpicks at that but I had to speak my piece on that.
Overall this book was awesome. I think it'll take a little more for me to pick up another M/M romance but I'm glad I took a chance on this one. It's always better to try something by an author you know and love before diving face first into an unknown genre.
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