One manâ€™s story of coming out in the late 1980s, Tomorrow May Be Too Late moves quickly from the casual pick-ups of the club scene to an abusive scam of a relationship. Marino meets his boyfriend (also named Tom) and moves in with him despite misgivings that he is being used for money. Even when all of his credit cards are in his boyfriendâ€™s wallet and heâ€™s cosigned on two car loans that he canâ€™t afford, Marino ignores his uneasy feelings and continues the relationship, which increasingly sours as the book continues. The story is frequently interrupted by short descriptions of sexual interactions that neither titillate nor move the narrative forward â€• although Marino occasionally inserts jarring religious references in the middle of sex scenes to break the monotony. Each encounter is followed by a requisite shower, which left me wondering whether Marino should have taken time from his busy romantic life to invest in some sort of body wash company.
People of the same generation might appreciate references to popular songs of the time, and it is possible that this book would inspire some reminiscence about youthful adventures to those who have been involved more heavily in the club scene than I have. Marino moonlights as an exotic dancer, and there are some interesting descriptions of that work that distract from his relationship. On the whole, however, the prose falls flat. The reader is well aware that the new boyfriend is bad news from the second date, and waiting for Marino to come to this same conclusion over months of dating has a similar effect to that of watching any acquaintance make poor relationship decisions â€• after the first few pages of warning bells it starts to seem that anyone who would ignore the red flags deserves what comes later.
That Tomorrow May Be Too Late was self-published is evident from the very beginning. The book suffers from the largest problem of self-published works â€• the want of a good editor. Marino seems like a nice person, and one that I hope has found happiness in his later life, but the memoir feels self-indulgent and overly long. While well intentioned, it was at times difficult to read and there are far better examples of bad-relationship memoirs (I Am Not Myself These Days by Josh Kilmer-Purcell, for one) that provide a more compelling insight into the twists and turns of an abusive relationship. Readers expecting that level of quality will be disappointed by Marinoâ€™s efforts.
I do not recommend this book for library collections, unless there is an interest in collecting all works of GBLTQ memoir, regardless of quality.
Reviewed, by Emily Faulkner
Adult Services Librarian
Chicago Public Library