Perhaps the title is worth a look for a start. "Masturbating with Strangers" - bound to grab your attention I'm sure if you're scrolling through book titles looking for something to read. My only question would be; would the title put off more potential readers than it attracts? I don't know the answer to that, but having read the book, I can only say if the title makes you think twice about reading this book, then don't. If the title offends, I can guarantee you the content will offend your sensibilities even more.
On Bodhi Alvarez' Amazon Author Page, it says; "Bodhi Alvarez always dares to push the envelope, and never met a curse word he didn't think looked great on paper." Most, if not all of those known curse words seem to appear at some point or another in "Masturbating With Strangers", so if you are easily offended, then this book is definitely not for you. Similarly, if explicit sex scenes are not your "cup of tea", then best steer clear of reading this particular novel.
That all having been said, personally I took no offence from anything in this book. Yes, at times it was raw and naked, but at the end of the day these are all just words and they are words that are in common usage in today's lexicon, and more especially so in the generational group around which this story is told. The story itself is the classic, lost youth trying to find himself and his place in the world. Although this is a story that is common to every generation of young people, this is the first time I have actually read this ilk from the perspective of today's youth; and that in itself made it very interesting for me.
The principal actor in this tale, Kevin Saunders is your typical over-achieving College graduate who suddenly realizes that the "American Dream" that he was brought up to believe in and base his life on, just doesn't exist. Like so many College graduates before him, Kevin was faced with the reality of a shrinking labor market and the need to "suck up" to the boss just to get a "job" as an unpaid intern. It was after Kevin had rebelled at one of these interviews that he decided enough was enough - Kevin would reject the "American Dream" and voyage out by himself to explore the world and "make a difference". Taking the last of his tuition loan checks for funding his voyage of self-discovery, Kevin walks off a cruise ship in Mexico and disappears into the hinterland of Central America. The book follows Kevin's triumphs and travails through Mexico, Belize and Costa Rica.
Let me say, right off the bat that I thoroughly enjoyed the story - I absolutely loved the wonderfully descriptive writing style of Bodhi Alvarez and I appreciated the many insights into both the male psyche and life in general that Bodhi wove into Kevin's journey. Returning for a second to the title, this really was an insightful analogy of what casual sex, which seemed to be the goal of every College student, really was; masturbating with strangers! I did appreciate the analogy.
This is an excellent, well written book and something quite different from my usual reading fare BUT, and I'm afraid it is a big BUT - the poor quality of the editing made reading difficult and at times very frustrating.
At just under 300 pages, I would normally expect to read a book this size in a couple of sittings. Even though I enjoyed it, it did take me several days to read and a large part of that was my continual frustration with the constant typos and misplaced words. This is a damn good book that is lessened by these simple errors. I would just urge Bodhi to give it another quick edit and resubmit a second edition. Although it didn't detract totally from my enjoyment of the story, it was enough to make it a little more of a trial and a little less of a pleasure.
As far as rating it, I would have given it four and a half stars, but the errors drag that down to four stars. Nothing should detract from such an excellent story and I'm afraid those editorial misses did just that. It looks like this is Bodhi's first novel. and I would just say well written - you have a rare talent. I look forward to seeing more from you in the future.