There’s a familiar formula to Room For Love. It has plot elements of several independent films such as two characters thrown together after an encounter that have no reason to continue with each other after said encounter. They learn from each other because they’re from different worlds and other plot elements that you’ll swear you’ve seen or read elsewhere. That’s not to say that this story is just beating a well-worn path, because all stories are like that. Life is like that. That’s where Room For Love sets itself aside from other stories, it’s a very realistic look at life. Sex and sexuality are a core theme of the story. So much so that we meet one of our main characters giving a hand job to a driver why they race down a highway. Through their conversation and general unfamiliarity with each other, it’s clear that they’re not a couple. The driver is an older man and he offers to get them a room for the night. The younger man, let’s call him Cougar, is pretty indifferent with everything. He’s clearly just there for the ride. Eventually we learn that Cougar is a prostitute as well when the older man goes to touch him. It’s clear that the older man actually likes Cougar, but Cougar really doesn’t care.
We flip over to meet our second main character Pamela who is a romance novelist. She’s at a book reading and tells her audience that “Romance is dead.” Later she’s talking with her agent/best friend about her career and that her publisher might drop her if she doesn’t get another romance novel going. Pamela confesses that she’s run out of inspiration and considering she lives alone and hasn’t experienced romance in a long while, it’s hard for her to convincingly write about the subject.
The story begins to bounce back and forth between Cougar and Pamela until their paths cross. Pamela is looking at a bridge and thinking of jumping when she sees Cougar climb over and under the bridge. Panicking she calls the police and they kick him out from living under the bridge. She feels bad so she invites the homeless man back to her place which is pretty bold. Cougar thinks there’s something up because in his experience there’s always a catch, but Pamela just wants to help. Eventually though, they do end up having sex and developing a kind of relationship with each other.
The thing that’s interesting is that they both push their world on to the other. With Cougar, he treats Pamela like every “John” he’s dealt with. She’s a customer and so at times Pamela is confronted with this life and lifestyle that she’s never dealt with before. Even more so when she finds out Cougar’s gay.
For Pamela, she attempts to clean him up and have him be a member of her life and lifestyle. She wants him to clean up and be a man when really he’s a rebellious teenager still. There generation gap makes their relationship different and a constant struggle to relate.
The ending is interesting. Both character’s grow, but there’s this mean streak to Cougar that we see come out and you have to wonder where it comes from. Creator Ilya does a wonderful job of crafting these two characters that really come from very different worlds and walks of life.
The linework is very clean and somewhat realistic. The character’s eyes are stylized and some features are left simple, but overall it’s a realistic looking art style that accompanies this very mature story. The coloring is kept simple which worked for the tone and mood of the story. There’s a soft amber color scheme used for Cougar’s story and then a lighter blue used for Pamela’s. What’s really sharp about the art is when the two stories overlap and the colors begin to mix. Even then there are still very distinct Pamela and Cougar moments in which their color stands alone.
The ending of the book was solid. It kind of ends the only way it can and really the journey of the characters is what really matters. There’s not going to be a huge pop of romance or the classic chase to the airport scene. Rather creator Ilya instead opts for an ending that’s grounded in reality which suits the story that’s also grounded in reality. If you’re looking for a mature story about relationships, then check out Room For Love.
Room For Love Creator: Ilya Publisher: Self Made Hero Price: $22.95 (Currently available for $5.99 on the Sequential App) Format: Trade Paperback; Print/Digital