Honeymoon with Harry was Bart’s first novel, a quirky family bond between Harry and his almost son-in-law. A funny, sad and heart wrenching story. I enjoyed Harry and will probably read it again sometime. Bart’s new offering, What Remains, is so much deeper, so full of rich emotion. The story of an unconventional couple and the people who make them into a real family, What Remains is one of the best books I’ve read this year.
I met Bart at All on the Same Page Bookstore in St. Louis, Missouri the summer of 2012. I attended his book signing for What Remains. Honeymoon with Harry was already on my nightstand waiting to be read, so I took HH and my own book, Dirty Laundry, and headed to St. Louis. Never one to pass up an opportunity, I wanted to meet Bart partly due to his decades long career as a Hollywood screenwriter, movie maker and all around knowledge of the film industry. I want a movie. Plain and simple. I gave Bart a copy of Dirty Laundry and asked him for an opinion, handed him HH for an autograph and purchased a signed copy of What Remains from the bookstore that afternoon.
Little did I know how much I would come to enjoy Bart’s writing, respect his opinion and honor his love for his family. What Remains is not a true story, but I’m 100% certain Bart drew on his own experiences of love and life to shape his characters.
Bart and his real life partner, Joe, have a nontraditional marriage and two adopted boys, both age 7. The boys were adopted as infant and are the joy of their parents’ hearts.
What Remains tells the story of Cody and Rhett, a gay couple who struggle with the same things as other married couples and enjoy the same joys and triumphs. The real living begins when Rhett, a documentary film maker, goes to a foreign country and visits an orphanage where he falls in love with two siblings, a boy and a girl. Rhett is insistent – he and Cody are meant to be parents to these children. As Rhett and Cody choose which path to take with the kids and their own relationship, Cody’s brother Connor shows up. Many of us have a Connor somewhere in our family. The spoiled, arrogant, lackadaisical guy who has never worked a day in his life, thinks he is God’s gift to women and expects the Universe to always answer in the affirmative. All good things must come to an end, and Connor finds himself on Rhett and Cody’s doorstep, broke, divorced and at his brother’s mercy.
Bart weaves the story of the three men, two kids and one hilarious, sassy nanny into an incredible tale of family love, loss and new beginnings.
Bart’s superb ability to weave a rich emotional story about this modern-day family gripped me from page one to the end, so much so that I spent an entire day off reading – I could not put this book down!
What Remains is available at local retailer All on the Same Page Bookstore in St. Louis, Missouri, as well as online.