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Love that Dares

The View from a Rusty Train Car follows two boys, Luke and Jared who become best friends. They find a pure true love in each other–agape, not eros. Watching tv and playing video games together, a simple hug–that lasts too long–sets their relationship in the cross-hairs of a paranoid society.

Their parents refuse to listen, let alone understand. Amidst beatings from school bullies, Luke’s forced internment at a religious camp, and miscommunication on both sides, the love they once shared is ripped aside.

Jared leaves to find himself still in love with Luke–even when Luke marries his sister. Jared returns on the wedding day and their worlds fall apart once more. From that day on, Luke has a broken heart, not something the doctors can categorize or easily treat.

The laughter, the sharing, the dreams, vs. the hiding, the lies, and the abuse are an uneven match for Jared and Luke.

I found myself crying and saying, “No–it’s not supposed to happen this way!”

Love is never lost, when the heart is full.


A coming of age and coming out story spanning decades, continents and emotions. Highly recommended for readers looking for a reality check. The sweet moments are contrasted well with overwhelming tragedy in very real moments that really hit home.


As the blade sliced into his skin he screamed. “God, forgive me!”

Jared – Shy, honest, innocent. He narrates part of the story. I love his outlook and his growth and I feel his pain. His strength is apparent in the way he is able to carry on.

I wish I could be who you want me to be.”
Luke – From fresh and cheeky to confused and remorseful he really got under my skin.
“…I’m not saying ‘no’. I’m saying ‘not yet’.”

Derrick – A dream man. Or is he? Wow, I’ve never been so unsure of a character before. I thought I loved him, then I absolutely hated him. Then…..


There are two timelines going on in this book. One is current, the other relives the past.

“L Loves J – Forever”

Eleven year old Jared is new in town. Luckily, Luke is bold enough to make fast friends. Growing up, they very innocently learn about life, friends, family and love and they overcome youthful challenges together. As the two boys discover their world, and each other, they are inseparable, until they are, indeed, separated. Luke is sent away to “camp” to be straightened out, while leaving Jared behind completely unaware. This is just the beginning to an uplifting yet tragic story.

“It’s just that simple. I love you!”

Be prepared to care about these boys, to get angry at the world and find hope in an unabashed message.


I was impressed with the way the author was able to age the voice of the characters as they matured and the story became more complex. I felt like I was really watching two young boys grow into men and that gave me a connection I didn’t expect.

Some editing issues caused me moments of pause, for instance, some italics were omitted in thought dialog. Overall, I found the writing to move forward quickly.

I ran the gamut of emotions. Everything from adoring sighs to heart-wrenching sobs. I was left with a feeling of completeness but also resolve in my conviction that love is love and there is progress to be made.

Unfortunately real life interfered with my review of this book. I read it and then wasn’t able to get to the review for a few weeks. So, I reread the book to make a fresh attempt. I’m so glad that I did. This book really benefits from a bit of a reread. It begins at the end, which is another beginning.

My thanks to DeeJay Arens for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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