Kirkus Reviews QR Code
WHEN YOU WERE ME by Robert Rodi

WHEN YOU WERE ME

By Robert Rodi

Pub Date: June 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-07582-1533-8
Publisher: Kensington

Wealthy middle-aged gay man depressed over his lost youth takes supernatural measures to swap bodies with a penniless young stud.

Still smarting over the breakup with his longtime lover Harry, 53-year-old Jack Ackerly is ready for a change. A cultured man of leisure living very comfortably off the proceeds of the sale of his advertising agency, Jack yearns for the carefree carnal existence he denied himself by not coming out until he was 30. In his desire to turn back the clock he seeks out Francesca LaBrash, a chatty witch who agrees to help him transfer his consciousness—if he can find another body willing to trade identities with him. Enter Corey, a 26-year-old sometime-waiter who Jack accidentally hits with his car. Corey, while undeniably hot, leads a life of dissipation, masking his low self-esteem and fear for his future in an endless stream of anonymous hook-ups. About to be evicted from his squalid apartment, he is exactly what Jack is looking for. Offering Corey his millions in exchange for his body, Jack and the financially desperate younger man seal the deal and Francesca works her magic. Needless to say, both men get far more than they bargained for when assuming each other’s lives. In Corey’s hard body, Jack prowls Chicago’s gay underworld making up for lost time with a wide array of one-night stands. Jack-as-Corey then sets his sites on seducing Harry, and bonds with Corey’s close friend Frida, a self-destructive young woman who needs a little tough love to turn her life around. Meanwhile, after getting past his dismay over his new body’s comparative decrepitude, Corey-as-Jack realizes that he has a chance—using Jack’s money and connections—to actually help people. Jack then starts to feel guilty for taking Corey’s youth, and rushes to reverse the spell just as Corey is struck down by a dance-related emergency in a disco. Rodi’s latest spoof (Bitch Goddess, 2001, etc.) at times reads like a commentary on the youth-centric superficiality of gay culture, but it is careful to leave a sweet aftertaste.

Amiable diversion, more Freaky Friday than Dorian Gray.