Dustin Reviews: Memorial Day by Bryan Serwatka

The Central Texas military community has always known the painful sacrifice of losing loved ones at war, but America remembers the area for its harrowing tragedies: the 1991 Luby’s Cafeteria massacre in Killeen, the failed ATF Waco siege in 1993, and the 2009 mass shooting on the Fort Hood military base. At the end of another school year and the beginning of another long Texas summer, three individuals find their fates entwined as each desperately tries to break the patterns of their pasts.

Young high school teacher Tom Woodbine meets a recent divorcée named Andy in a chance online encounter that will forever change him. Nearby, one of Tom’s former students, Susan Ortega, finds herself held captive by a life of burden and devastating loss. A tale interwoven with dreams, déja vu, and reminiscence, Memorial Day by Bryan Serwatka follows a week in the lives of Tom, Andy, and Susan as they freely surrender to the possibilities of the present.

Memorial Day is Serwatka‘s debut work of fiction. From the start, I found myself drawn into Tom’s life. Serwatka writes engaging character dialogue, especially between Tom and Andy, which was believable and quite interesting. However, there were several lengthy monologues which could have been trimmed substantially, OR had Serwatka converted the monologues into an interactive flow of conversation it would have made a bigger impact on this reader. The points made in the monologues were interesting, but the drawn out speeches went against the grain of Serwatka‘s wonderful interactive conversational style.

And what happened to the contractions? Texans speak in a collect of contractions and Tom, even though he’s a public school teacher would have spoken in contractions. It’s part of being a Texan. LOL

Kudos to Serwatka for his implied love scenes. He could have easily gone into explicit sexual detail, but instead, he opted for the implication instead. It’s my own personal preference, but I enjoy a story that is not bogged down in graphic detail and leaves the love making to my imagination. Yes, in some stories, the love making scene(s) must be included because of importance to the story line. Serwatka handled this aspect perfectly to my taste.

Editing is a reoccurring element which distracts from the smooth reading flow of many self published works. Memorial Day was no exception, this could have been a much better read had there been more dedication to editing.

The ending, I hate to say, was a disappointment and it left me flat and confused. The simple story had a nice build up which lead to a confusing final scene. I even went back and re-read the final chapter several times to see if I had missed something.

Memorial Day was a good first literary piece of work for Serwatka. There were wisps of brilliance in his writing. I look forward to watching this young man grow and mature as he releases future work. I have Bryan Serwatka on my radar and hope others will do the same, he’s an author to keep an eye on.

About the Author

Bryan Serwatka was born in Killeen, Texas in 1985 and currently lives in the United Kingdom. Memorial Day is his first novel. He is also a musician in the Leeds-based band Backyards.

Memorial Day is available to purchase at Amazon:

Tags: gay romance, gay fiction

3 out of 5 stars


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