Reviewed by Carol Hoyer, PhD, for Reader Views (1/10)
Jim Arnold’s first novel, “Benediction,” is a book everyone should read. Set in San Francisco at the time when those working in dot.com were important in the business world, Ben Schmidt is a forty-something gay male. He loves his job, the city and most of all, the new movie he is publishing. However, Ben is not 100% happy – he is missing something in his life but can’t put his finger on it. His relationship with Jake, the handsome neighbor upstairs, is wonderful, yet he has affairs on the side. He also finds that there are those in his office who would do anything to sabotage his career.
Just when he thinks he knows what he wants and where he is going, he finds out he has prostate cancer and needs treatment right away. Not being able to focus on anything, Ben takes us on a journey to find himself and the meaning of his life. As a recovering addict, Ben finds himself going down that path again which leads him to meet some very interesting people. During the time of his soul searching Ben begins to see, or thinks he sees his beloved dog Connie and many of his dear friends who have passed on. He struggles with the fact that he is getting older and having surgery will have an impact on his sex life and sexiness (or so he thinks).
With “Benediction,” author Jim Arnold has given readers an honest insight into the life of gay men, relationships and having cancer. The characters, such as Ben are so well developed and described you will feel you are living the journey with them. Regardless of your gender identity, everyone will be able to relate to this novel. Readers will fight for their hero, want to get rid of those who are arrogant and self-serving and learn something about the gay community.