Far From Happy by Jeni Decker

 There was no smoking gun. No horrible family secret behind why I left. No reason at all for me, at nineteen, to leave for New York, ready for anything life had to offer—especially if it involved certain proclivities. In the time required to walk to Times Square from the Port Authority Terminal, my naiveté was wiped away. I witnessed a prostitute performing her nightly hustle. In the days to follow, I was mugged twice, ripped off while trying to purchase pot, and beaten to the point of soiling myself. But a chance encounter with a young hustler led to a meeting with Mr. B, mob-connected owner of multiple clubs on Times Square, all under fire from a new mayor embarking on an anti-sleaze campaign directed squarely at The Deuce.I spent the next twenty years of my life coming of age on the streets, but now, as I speed south across the  countryside, heading for my native New Orleans and a dying sister, I make a pact to leave New York in New York, only to find coming home proves harder than coming out.

I struggled with the beginning of this book but as I continued to read, the meaning of the story finally came in view for me. It felt like there was more running and forgiveness than explanation as to why this continued to happen and to be honest, it got rather old. With the flashbacks of his time in New York, while not highly graphic and detailed, you could sense that he was lucky to have come off the streets in one piece.    Once we started piecing the puzzle together I was able to wrap my head around the main character and give it a four star rating.
Jackson is one of the most confused young men I have ever read about.  Leaving his family in New Orleans he heads to New York to go to school.  The education he received wasn’t from a college though, it was from becoming a prostitute on the streets.  He even admitted in the book, he had a great family, was loved and protected, he just found himself selling his body to strangers.  One night he gets a call from his sister telling him he needed to come home now.
When he got home he was told his sister Shelby was on life support and she had made a will with the direction only Jackson could decide when to pull the plug on her.  His sister knew when she was told she had cancer this was how the end was going to be, she also knew unless she did it this way Jackson would never come home.  She just neglected to tell her mother and siblings about the cancer so this was a shock for them.
During all of this he meets Christopher who is a self-confident gay man and has his life put together.  As you read this book you will see what Chris is willing to do in order to help Jackson find a place to land and stop running.  With
Chris’s acceptance and his family’s love and forgiveness, the only thing making Jackson run is the fact he can’t admit he is gay.
The author made Jackson’s story real for the reader.  All of the characters are so well developed you can feel the emotion jump off the pages while you read, but I just wished Jackson could have learned to accept himself earlier in life.  He was writing a book about his experience and it was hard for me to see him distance himself from everyone including his own writing.  Far From Happy will tug at your heart, make you cry while reading his pain and give you times to celebrate when you think he finally has it.  It was a good book to read if you want to understand someone who runs from everything, even the good in life sometimes.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HY5G062/ref=as_li_ss_il?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00HY5G062&linkCode=as2&tag=crysmanrev-20     http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/far-from-happy-jeni-decker/1118114053?ean=2940148352822&itm=1&usri=far+from+happy     https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-farfromhappy-1400553-149.html?referrer=52378e08e5757