Title: Me, Myself, & Him
Author: Chris Tebbetts
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Young Adult, LGTB
Date Published: July 9, 2019
Version read: ebook ARC provided by NetGalley
Amazon link (nonafiliate): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JFJY4QZ/
When Chris Schweitzer takes a hit of whippets and passes out face first on the cement, his nose isn’t the only thing that changes forever. Instead of staying home with his friends for the last summer after high school, he’s shipped off to live with his famous physicist but royal jerk of a father to prove he can “play by the rules” before Dad will pay for college.
Or . . . not.
In an alternate time line, Chris’s parents remain blissfully ignorant about the accident, and life at home goes back to normal–until it doesn’t. A new spark between his two best (straight) friends quickly turns Chris into a (gay) third wheel, and even worse, the truth about the whippets incident starts to unravel. As his summer explodes into a million messy pieces, Chris wonders how else things might have gone. Is it possible to be jealous of another version of yourself in an alternate reality that doesn’t even exist?
With musings on fate, religion, parallel universes, and the best way to eat a cinnamon roll, Me Myself & Him examines how what we consider to be true is really just one part of the much (much) bigger picture.
I finished this book a couple of days ago and needed to let it simmer before I wrote a proper review. I have already written a review on GoodReads and my sentiment has not changed. The hardest part of writing this review is to focus on the book that I read and not the one I wish I had read.
Mr. Tebbetts explores the world of second guesses and what-ifs in this dual-timeline explored concurrently. Chris Schweitzer is 18, working with his best friend, and not making the best choices in his life. He passes out after doing whippets (basically huffing laughing gas), bangs his nose, and ends up in the ER. This is where the story splits into its two timelines.
Timeline A has Chris going to California for the summer to stay with his Dad. Timeline B has Chris staying home and working for the summer.
Tebbetts employs a concurrent chapter format, so there are two Chapter 2s and two Chapter 3s and so on. One chapter in one timeline and the other in the second timeline.
Timeline A review:
I have issues with this Chris for several reasons. As soon as 18-year-old Chris steps off the plane in California he sees his soon-to-be stepsister (who is 14) and mentally comments on her breasts. Now, this may just be the Mom in me, but WTF! this isn’t a pornhub series we’re watching. That was *put the book down #1* but I picked it back up and pushed on.
In this timeline, Chris’s father has arranged for him to work in his office at the college and insists that he attend group therapy for his drug use. Chris doesn’t want to do either of these things, so his dad ups the ante and says do it, or I don’t pay for your expensive college in the fall. Chris is unhappy and doesn’t think this is fair. Okay, stepping back again because this entitlement is infuriating. The MC is 18, pay your own dang way through college then. This whole, Dad abandoned us for his soon-to-be-new wife so he “owes me this” just makes me want to reach through the book and slap the character.
Halfway through this timeline, it began to drag on and on as each day became the same with no real movement or development. The “budding relationship” between Chris and another group member read more like an attempt to show that he was growing but the constant back and forth between Chris, his friends back home, his Dad, his Dad’s assistant, and the new love interest was monotonous, to say the least. I get that the summer between high school and college can be rough, but dang this kid was too immature and self-centered to make me want to care about him.
Timeline B review:
Oh, lord, if timeline A dragged on and felt like it took a year and forever, this timeline was worse. In this one, he lies and stays home with his best friends–who wouldn’t you know it hook up and he is now the 3rd wheel. Page after page of listening to her ask if he’s okay with it, and his male friend apologizing and saying it wasn’t planned. Good grief! You’re all 18! Own it!
Obviously, there’s a side interest in this timeline except this one leads him down a path of doing worse things than whippets. When his dad’s wedding arrives he says he might not go, the dad threatens to not pay for college, yadda yadda yadda.
By this time, I am so over his friends, fake budding romances, stagnant growth, and constant woe is me attitude that I really did not care about the main character in either timeline.
There are developments toward the end that implied the parents’ divorce was not exactly as he thought they were but it didn’t really serve a purpose to the story so it stood out like a sore thumb.
I do like Tebbett’s underlying writing style and voice but there was so much potential in this story that I feel robbed. The synopsis implies there is a philosophical growth–maybe even one of being happy with what you have or somethings are worth fighting for. But instead, we get a whiny, spoiled, rich kid who thinks that nothing is really his fault and boo hoo when he has rules and expectations to follow (which obviously comes from Dad because Mom is the easy going, have to make the divorce up to my kid, stereotype). I see too many Chris’ in the young adult community and shake my head at a book that paints it as an acceptable and desirable behavior.
I hate to say it but yeah, it’s a 3-4* book because I realize that I am not the intended market for the book, but on a personal level, it is still a 2-3*. The more I think about the book, the more angry and frustrated I get with it.