Title: All You Need Is Love
Author: Russell J. Sanders
Date: March 21st 2017
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
All You Need Is Love by Russell J. Sanders is the LGBTQ+ coming-of-age story of Dewey Snodgress, his school’s theater lead actor. Set in 1969, one day, he’s approached by Jeep Brickthorn, the hippie of the school, asking Dewey to give him a ride to school because he lost the bus. Our protagonist accepts and the two quickly become friends, and while young soldiers are fighting in Vietnam, Dewey is fighting his own heart.
This is the first book I read for the Diverse December challenges hosted by Kathy @ Books and Munches. I finished it in a few days and I have to admit that the story was a little off to me. I think everything was too “easy” to the protagonist and I couldn’t entirely grasp the characters.
Where Dewey was self-conscious, Jeep didn’t care about what other thought of him. The two are opposites, but they’re both determined to realise their own dreams. As I’ve said before, I don’t think the characters were very well-rounded, or at least, I couldn’t grasp them entirely.
The story was too fast-paced and a few times I was confused by what was happening in the book. However, I loved the concepts in it. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of #ownvoices books, and Dewey’s problems were well portrayed. Throughout the story I could understand why he had a hard time accepting his feelings.
1969 is the year when things slowly starts to change. It’s the year of the Beatles’ last public performance, Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the Moon and above all, it was the year of the Stonewall Riots, which is often considered as history’s first major protest on behalf of equal rights for homosexuals.
The writing style was very simple, and one or two times I found grammar errors. However, the book was enjoyable and I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.
About the author
Russell J. Sanders is a life-long devotee of the theater. He’s a singer, actor, and director, winning awards for his acting roles and shows he has directed. As a teacher, he has taught theater arts to hundreds of students, plus he’s also taught literature and writing to thousands of others.
Russell has also travelled the world, visiting Indonesia, Japan, India, Canada, the Caribbean, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Florence, and Venice—and almost all the US states. His friends think he’s crazy, but wherever he goes, he seeks out Mexican restaurants. The Mexican food in Tokyo was great, he says; in Rome, not so good. Texans cut their teeth on barbecue and Mexican food. Russell’s love for enchiladas led him on a quest to try them wherever he can find them, and he has found them in some very out of the way places. And good or bad, he’s delighted to sample his favorite food.
Most importantly, Russell is an out and proud gay man, living in Houston with his husband of two years, his life-partner for twenty years. He hopes that his novels inspire confidence and instill pride in his young gay fans, and he also hopes others learn from his work, as well.