Is there really a such thing as a platonic relationship between men and women or is that another one of those abstract concepts? That’s a question that many people attempt to answer on a daily basis and it is one of the many questions author James Fant attempts to answer in his novel CoEd.
The synopsis reads: Can a man and a woman be best friends without somebody catching feelings?
Travis Barber and Sade Styles are best friends of the opposite sex. Despite what everyone thinks, they are not getting busy…yet.
Co-owners of a popular barbershop/salon in named CoEd, Travis and Sade spend the bulk of their days together. But when Sade’s apartment lease runs out and Travis offers her the spare bedroom of his newly built house, will they end up sharing more than just the utilities?
This witty, fast-paced romance seeks to answer the question: can a man and a woman be best friends without crossing that fine line into the land of lovers. Best case scenario, nothing happens. Worst case scenario, they get to know each other a little too well and end up hating each other!
Are Travis and Sade making the best move for their friendship?
It is always interesting to see different takes on relationships and gender roles. After all, I did take a few college courses in sociology and gender studies. I’ve also taken a few courses in the school of life and I am always glad to glean information from a variety of sources. Romance novels are no exception and this particular romance novel was, indeed, valuable to me. Though I’m not typically big on romance novels, I can say that I enjoyed this one.
The things I did not enjoy: the setup for a couple of scenes felt predictable. There were parts of the story where the stars aligned so well to create those “awkward moments” between Travis aka Trap and Sade, so I felt I just knew what was about to happen next. However, what I did enjoy far outweighed what I did not.
There were a few things I could relate to in some way. The first being the initial platonic relationship between Trap and Sade. I remember there being some gossip that went on in the workplace about me and a male coworker because we had become friends. Some of the banter in the fictional barbershop CoEd gave me a little insight as to what that gossip about my friend and I entailed.
The next thing that piqued my interest was seeing how Sade and Trap handled their living situation. Having been involved with someone who had a female roommate with whom he had previously been intimate with, I wanted to know, even in a fictional setting, what could go on in the minds of roommates who are attracted to each other.
I wouldn’t say that this book is action-packed or over-the-top drama because it isn’t either of those things. It is more of a character study. Since it was so obvious that there was an attraction between the two main characters, what the heck was taking them so long to make a move on one another? What were their insecurities? What made them tick? What motivated them to continue on in a lifestyle where they both evaded and involved one another? I felt that Fant did a good job of answering those questions as the book progressed.
One scenario that particularly stood out to me was when Trap and Sade finally decided to take a major step in their relationship only for Trap to make a choice to potentially ruin it forever. This scene was the most eye-opening and thought-provoking for me because it gave me a perspective about a question that I’ve had for years. What question is that, you ask? Why do people (and by people I mean men) do things that seem (and often are) utterly ridiculous and then say that they did it for your own good? Then not only do they end up hurting you, but also other people. Actually seeing the thought process of Trap before, during and after he made that choice made it make a little bit of sense, though my being a woman and thinking the way many would probably expect a woman to think will probably keep me from ever fully understanding. I think I’m a little bit closer now.
CoEd kept me entertained and it allowed me to view everyday life and relationships from a different angle. The effort that Fant put into it is evident and I can really appreciate the time and energy it took to produce this novel. I was able to understand both of the main characters respectively and their story together made sense. This is the first book that I’ve read by James Fant, but it won’t be the last. I rate it a 4 out of 5 stars.