Family Matters by DC Juris is a quick four-chapter story that grabs and holds your heart and your libido from the very first line. Oscar and Derek plan a weekend of kinky sex complete with chains, whips, a Popsicle and a lot of lube, but their plans are interrupted by an invitation from Derek’s mother to a family get-together. Oscar is excited about meeting Derek’s family for the first time, but the prospect of facing his judgmental mother Beverly puts Derek in a tailspin. Beverly is “transphobic” and cannot accept that her daughter Amy is now Derek, a transgendered man with a gay boyfriend. Derek is so conditioned to not deal with his mother’s scorn that he puts on an “Amy” dress for the occasion.
From the start, it is obvious that Oscar, who has been scarred by his own past, cares deeply for Derek and makes no secret about wanting Derek to be happy and comfortable in his own skin. He is tolerant when Derek spazzes out on him and is brutally direct with Beverly when necessary. The turning point in the story takes place when Derek wakes up after the disastrous visit at his mother’s house with an excruciating migraine. Not knowing what else to do, Oscar calls Beverly for help. It is poignantly clear that she hurries over to their place armed with all the remedies to soothe the person that is her “child” – not strictly Derek or Amy. It’s during this emotionally charged moment that Oscar helps her realize that Derek’s identity comes from the inside and shouldn’t be manipulated by negative forces and social prejudices that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. In what some would consider a sexually-alternative romance novella, DC Juris gives us richly developed characters and a touching message that family IS what matters.
-Reviewed by Angela