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Richie's Outing by Cole Parker

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Well, I was expecting a Cole Parker story, and I got one, but this is quite a lot darker than I was expecting. The poor boy Richie of the title has everything against him - his community, church and even (especially) home are toxic places for him, but with help from an unexpected source it all comes right for him in the end. Really, of course, the responsible adults concerned should have been there for him way earlier - but better late than never.

Cole is a brilliant writer, able to drop his reader right into his story and make them believe in it, and this is no exception, so it's uncomfortable reading in parts, but Richie gets a happy ending, so the reader does, too.

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Wow, when the scene started describing the character's mood, the gun, and the church, I had a real reaction that had me gripping the arms of my chair much harder than I probably should. Of course, as I should have known it would, the outcome was positive. Though I cried a little inside at the burning of three perfectly good cheeseburgers.

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