#ThrowBookThursday – It Had to Be You, by Timothy James Beck

The idea of #ThrowBookThursday was a hashtag I bumped into on a virtual book club, and I love it. Instead of a Throwback Thursday photograph, you post a book you loved from back when. You all know how I feel about book reviews and bringing attention to missed gems, so…

It Had to Be You, by Timothy James Beck

My review, from April 2003:

It Had to Be YouWow. Okay, first off, I read this entire book today—and it’s nearly midnight, so forgive me if I ramble a little.

When I read He’s the One by Timothy James Beck, there was a character introduced that I was dying to learn more about: Daniel Stephenson. I identified with him a lot more than the main protagonist of He’s the One, and moreover, he was just a wonderfully developed secondary character with some great stuff in his well-written past.

Now I know why.

Turns out that It Had to be You is the story of Daniel Stephenson, getting up to just about the point where he’s in in “He’s the One.” This was great, even if I did already know the ending as I’d read them out of order. Daniel is an easy-to-identify-with character for me (no buff jock, just a slim guy; no massively successful career, just an entry level second-attempt-at-a-career). He’s still hurt over the betrayal of his last boyfriend, still a little damaged over the revelation that yet another friend is dying of AIDS, and just about ripe for falling head over heels with the hunky guy across the street.

Except that guy lives with a woman, seems about as straight as they come, and probably won’t react well to his previous career as a female impersonator who mostly did Lady 2Di4, a Princess Diana tribute.

The wit is just as sharp in this one as in “He’s the One,” – and just as often nicely balanced with some poignancy that never over-sweetens to saccharine levels. And I must say I am now a firm fan of all things Timothy James Beck. I really hope to see more books out of him.

The story behind reading this book continues from last week. See, when I wrote the review of Rob Byrnes’s The Night We Met, I sent him an e-mail saying how much I loved the book and asking if he’d written more, and the answer (unfortunately) at the time was “not yet.” But he suggested I try Timothy James Beck and a few other authors. I grabbed a Timothy James Beck book (the second one, by accident, as the review up there mentions), and loved it, and then found the first. When I wrote this review thirteen years ago, I also e-mailed the author, only to find out that Timothy James Beck wasn’t a person. He was four people.

From here, my reading exploded in a bunch of different directions and authors, and if it wasn’t for these two books, I’d have never met the people who gave me my first real chance in the writing world, either. But that’s a story for another time, maybe.

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