Labyrinth of Extremes: The Cam Gordon Chronicles, by R. M. Gibson, is a heartfelt story about life, love, and loss told from the perspective of a single father.
The Sixties are nearly over and Cam Gordon is on the precipice of some major life changes. Cam, a single father of two teenage boys, wants to find a wife and mom for his kids. But the divorced man isn’t willing to settle down with just any woman. He wants to find the perfect mate who’ll love him, take care of his boys, and not leave. But relationships aren’t the only issue he’s dealing with. Changes at work threaten his position. His son, Jon, has had issues with drugs in the past, and it looks like he hasn’t kicked the habit for good. Can Cam, his sons, and the women in his life survive all the upheavals?
It’s refreshing to see a story about parenthood from the perspective of a divorced father, which is penned by a male author. Cam is portrayed as a decent and loving man who is on a quest: to find a wife. The majority of the book is dedicated to this quest. When Cam says he wants to find a woman, he means it. And find them he does. At one point, there’s a handful of women vying for his attention. The women, for the most part, know about the others and not one ever acts overly jealous, which is intriguing, albeit a bit unrealistic.
Not all of them are prospective wife material, but that doesn’t stop Cam from bedding them and from introducing the women to his sons. This aspect of the story is baffling. There’s no doubt that Cam is a loving father, but then he puts his sons through getting to know and then losing some of the women in Cam’s life. Especially since one of his sons is quite fragile and Cam is terrified he’ll start using drugs again. Why does he parade women in and out of his boys’ lives? What purpose does it serve?
That’s not the only mystery of Cam’s personality. He travels quite a bit for work and during his travels he buys gifts for the people in his life, including the women he’s sleeping with. One of his favorite gifts for the women in his life is a ring. Not a diamond ring, but still a ring, which holds significance to the receiver. Why does he lead them on? Is he leading them on?
Cam is the star of this story and he’s also the glue for holding it together. The questions surrounding Cam, his motives and actions keep the reader turning the pages. It’s hard to dislike him completely because even though his actions can come across as suspect, deep down there’s the feeling that he’s a decent guy. But he’s lost. And this is an interesting element and sheds light into society during the time period from the male perspective.
Aside from the author’s habit of telling instead of showing, Labyrinth of Extremes is an entertaining read. Since it’s part of a trilogy, the reader will have to wait until the third installment to see if everything works out for Cam Gordon.
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