The lives of saints, the rules of Lent, the task to be good enough to join up with God in the life everlasting – these realities infuse the Catholic world of 12-year-old Jimmy. His body is on the cusp of puberty, his parents on the cusp of a divorce and into his life – as if by providence? by accident? – comes an older man, Bob, a counselor he’d met once at the Catholic boys’ camp.
It’s a collision. A naïve altar boy suddenly finds himself in the arms of flesh, in the grip of illicit sex and in the chaos of a relationship both criminal and miraculous. Destructive and illuminating. The complexity of this alliance reeks havoc on the adolescent Jimmy and leaves a haunting legacy for the adult he will one day become.
Set in the 70’s in Denver at the foot of the Rocky Mountains and, 20 years later, amid the rush of Jimmy’s troubled adult life in Manhattan, The Tricky Part tells the story of a boy who barely survives his tumultuous adolescence. A boy who tries to bury any memory of what passed between him and his secret lover and who, as a grown man, discovers he must go back in search of who he was – a boy riding his bike on a suburban street, with a jumble of shameful secrets inside him – in order to affect a reconciliation. Jimmy is a grown man in the grip of countless questions – Who would I be if this had not happened? How can I ever forgive myself for taking part in something so ‘bad?’ A man who realizes he needs to find and face his long-ago abuser. Who realizes that, if he is to really live, he must try to untangle the most difficult of questions about self-acceptance and forgiveness.
Is it possible that forgiveness is actually a letting go of all hope of having had a different or a better past? Is it possible that the very thing that harmed us might come to restore us?
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