What an absolutely charming story.Muscling Through
is a quick read, but a very sweet one all the same. Alan is very much the star of this story. No surprise really, as he is the narrator. But his direct approach to his relationship with Larry just won me over completely. Most people can't seem to see past how big and brawny Alan is, and they miss the fact that he is sweet and artistic as well. He's also a man of few words. But his affection for Larry is obvious from the start. He treats Larry with such care, and it's obvious at times that he feels he's not good enough for him. But when Larry asks him about his feelings, he doesn't shy away. Alan tells him exactly how he feels. He seems unwilling, almost incapable, of deceiving Larry for any reason. It's endearing.
It was fun reading about Larry making all these discoveries about Alan. Their initial meeting was close to disastrous, but I thought it was sweet how he approached Alan after realising his mistake. And whenever Larry discovered something new about Alan, his love seemed to grow. I couldn't even begrudge his bout of jealousy over Ren, the student who modelled for Alan on the side. I liked that he didn't take Alan for granted. It was bitter sweet seeing how they struggled without each other.
A sweet love story, with likeable characters and not too much angst. A solid four star read.