Review: Hide

HideHide by Matthew Griffin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

By Mathew Griffin

Reviewed by Jay Gilbertson

Imagine my excitement when I found this book! After all, it was touted as a remarkable love story and the two main characters were Wendell and Frank, beyond charming names, right? And the fact this was a tale of ‘hidden’ love following the darkness of WWII, it certainly would be full of hope.
Hope, yes. Love, not so much.
Author Griffin created a very hidden and lonely, forbidden gay love story with very little actual love at all. Yes, the two men end up becoming extremely dedicated to one another, but the cost was so high. By severing any and all relations with friends, family—anyone that knew them, they created a self-imposed prison.
Wendell had a taxidermy shop in a declining town of Northern Carolina and Frank worked at a textile mill there. Both very macho jobs that required more hiding and posturing and pretending. True, this was during the fifties when it was illegal to have ‘relations’ with another man, but even behind locked doors and shuttered windows, there was little joy. Griffin’s excessively heavy-handed use of metaphors led to some minor skimming.
Overall, I enjoyed the story, their dedication to one another alone was admirable and there were some nuggets worth noting:
“Lightning ripped the clouds open and sewed the clouds shut. I leaned us against the sill, so he could feel the wind: how it passed through the boards of the house and between our bodies and kept on its way, how the storm moved right through us without disturbing a thing.”
In the end, after the body has gone, the face fallen and memories have all but faded, you’re left with one true thing: hope. Wendell and Frank had that in spades.

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