Tutti Fruitti Rudi by Stephanie Franklin

Title :  Tutti Fruitti Rudi              Word Count : 61,950

Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb :

My Review :  Rudi Costa has always felt that his life is going down Shit’s Creek and he is left without a paddle. He has no marketable skills and he had to drop out of high school to provide for the one person who loves him unconditionally. His sister Penguin is five, but she is at the level of a three year old because their mother is a heroin addict. Rudi steals and prostitutes himself in order to put food on the table. He has to lock Penguin in their room so that the men who his mother whores herself for, can’t touch his beloved sister . Their mother is a waste of space who only thinks of her next fix. When she gets behind in her payments to her drug dealers, she pimps out Rudi to pay for her debts by threatening to take Penguin away.

 When Giovanni,  the biggest drug dealer collects from Rudi, it is always painful. Giovanni is a pig of a man, who loves rough sex. He brutalized Rudi’s most sensitive areas for hours without any lubrication at all. Poor Rudi can barely  walk when he is done. He is walking through the park from one such arrangement when he finds a young man who has been gay bashed. It is obvious to see that Jay doesn’t belong in this part of the neighborhood.

Jay’s family invites Rudi over for dinner as a thank you. Jay’s father David  doesn’t seem to like Rudi right off the bat. After a lavish dinner where Rudi sits uncomfortably wondering about his table manners, he bolts as it becomes clearer that they are from two separate worlds. Rudi starts ignoring all of Jay’s texts. It isn’t until Rudi’s mom kicks him out with his little sister, that he sees Jay again. Jay swoops in like an avenging Angel and gets his family to care for  sweet little Penguin temporarily.  Rudi makes a more pronounced effort to sort his life out so he can take care of his sister on his own. 

Giovanni and Rudi’s mom get there just desserts when Rudi steals their drug money. It is not an ideal plan , but he decides to make the most of a bad situation. Rudi rents an apartment and set it up so that Penguin has her own space. Jay and Rudi decide to celebrate and take their relationship to the next level after a night of teasing and touching at a dance club.

It is at this point that I felt like I  was dropped off a cliff unexpectedly.The novel just left off at this point and I felt that there were a whole lot of  unresolved issues.  I was left feeling very unfulfilled. I think it could have been fleshed out by a few more chapters and it would have blossomed into a great novel. Rudi is that tortured character  who is very lovable and you  can empathize with him. I give this my ratings of 3 –  it was ok , give it a try. 

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