Reviewed by Nikyta
TITLE: Hanging by the Moment
AUTHOR: H. B. Pattskyn
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 350 pages
BLURB: Pasha Batalov has lived his whole life doing what a good son is expected to do. He dropped out of school to help run the failing family restaurant, and ever since he’s put up with his difficult business partner, who also happens to be his father. And, of course, he keeps his sexual orientation a secret from his conservative Russian family. After being closeted costs him his first serious relationship, Pasha resigns himself to one-night stands and loneliness.
But after a chance encounter with lost delivery truck driver, Daniel Englewood, Pasha starts to question all of his assumptions about life. Daniel is sweet, funny, smart, drop-dead gorgeous—and for the last six years, he’s been living with HIV. Pasha worries that he won’t be strong enough to help Daniel if HIV turns to AIDS, but he can’t walk away from their deepening attraction. He also doesn’t know if he can be strong enough to face the hardest task that a relationship with Daniel demands: coming out to his family and friends, and risking losing everything else he holds dear.
I first got acquainted with H.B. Pattskyn’s books when I read Heart’s Home in early 2012. I loved that book and thought the writing was phenomenal. When I noticed Hanging by the Moment, I knew immediately I wanted to read it not just because I enjoy Ms. Pattskyn’s writing but also because the blurb intrigued me.
I’m ecstatic to say that I loved this book just as much as I loved Heart’s Home. The writing was just as great, so much so that I was enamored with the story and once I started, I didn’t want to put it down. I couldn’t wait to see what Pasha and Daniel go through, how certain situations played out and whether or not Pasha will have the life he always wanted.
To be frank, this is a story about life being too short to fight or to worry or to even get hung up on the little things. It’s about living in the moment and taking chances you wouldn’t normally take because anything can happen tomorrow but today is what counts. It deals with a lot of issues such as coming out, HIV, gay-bashing, homophobia and ultimately sticking up for yourself and living the life you want to live but also about accepting who you are. It was a beautiful story that had me sad and crying one moment then happy the next.
Pasha is an unconventional character. He has a lonely life filled mostly with working in his family’s restaurant every day and fighting with his father constantly. He stresses over his weight and the fact that he’s in the closet and doesn’t think he’ll ever be happy. It’s sad but I connected with Pasha and I enjoyed the fact that he had issues with his weight. He would start a diet then something would happen so he’d eat a carton of ice cream to drown his sorrows. When he meets Daniel, there’s an instant attraction but Pasha doesn’t think Daniel would ever look at him twice… until Daniel comes back to his restaurant to see him.. except Pasha freaks out and pushes Daniel away and then regrets it later. Poor Pasha! He just has no self-esteem 😦
What I really loved, though, was the fact Daniel didn’t give up. Daniel might be this incredibly attractive Native American but he sees Pasha for more than just his waist size and thinks Pasha is gorgeous inside AND out. I loved that while Pasha wanted to lose weight, Daniel made every effort to let Pasha know that his weight didn’t matter to him even to the point of pushing Pasha into ordering what he really wanted and not some bird ford. It was sweet and made me fall in love with Daniel. More than anything, I liked the balance between Daniel and Pasha. We get Pasha’s troubles and we get Daniel’s troubles in their own time. I loved experiencing the emotions between Pasha and Daniel over Daniel’s HIV; from being freaked out to wary to scared to accepting but also the fact that Pasha eventually realizes that no matter why Daniel is with him, Daniel’s feelings and emotions are genuine and not a result of some bad luck (you’ll understand this when you read the book). It wasn’t just hard on Pasha because he didn’t want to lose someone he was growing to love but also on Daniel who had a constant fear that he would get Pasha sick or Pasha would see him in a different way and then leave Daniel. It’s heart-breaking if you really let yourself get into the story but it unfolded in a way that was enjoyable without being too overwhelming or too dense. It was just right, IMO, but mostly the fact that even when one of them freaked out, they eventually talked about it and got through their issues together.
My only issue with the story is that I felt the beginning was a bit rough. Pasha is very self-degrading. He doesn’t think highly of himself because of the situation he’s in and the way he’s been acting since he broke up with his ex, who he was still yearning for. When he meets Daniel, he can’t understand why Daniel likes him because Pasha thinks he’s unattractive since he no longer has a size 32 waist. In the beginning, it’s rough because it’s almost as if Pasha hates himself or at least his life. So, for me, it was brutal to see him debase himself in some ways (although it’s not extreme just sad) and some readers might have a hard time getting through this. However, as the story progressed, I couldn’t help but love Pasha. He doesn’t want much in his life except to be loved and respected by his father AND to have a man that loves him. Thankfully, he gets that in Daniel!
I will warn some readers that Pasha and Daniel move a little fast when it comes to love but, to me, it fit the story well. I enjoyed the intensity between them and I felt the love that they developed. I liked that they took things slow when it came to sex because of Daniel’s HIV but I also liked that their feelings for each other are shown and we get to experience every step of it. They call, they text, they go on dates, they even have some fights and we get to see it. It helped me connect with the characters, to get to know them in a way that had me very invested in the story.
With that said, this was an amazing novel that I loved reading. It’s sweet, intense and at times sad. I cried, I laughed and I fell in love with the characters and their journey. I even adored the secondary characters that weren’t so nice. I love Ms. Pattskyn’s writing and I really hope we’ll one day get more of either Pasha and Daniel (especially to meet Daniel’s family) or at least see the journey of another couple (*cough* Brett and Mark *cough*). For those readers looking for something that handles a range of issues that has a little angst but a happy ending, try this one because it was definitely something I enjoyed every step of the way!
Nikyta J. is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.
To read all her reviews, click the link: NIKYTA’S REVIEWS