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  • Dumb Jock

  • By: Jeff Erno
  • Narrated by: Tommy O'Brien
  • Length: 7 hrs and 35 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Dumb Jock

By: Jeff Erno
Narrated by: Tommy O'Brien
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Summary

Jeff Irwin is short, timid, and studious. A bit of a social outcast, he lives quietly in the shadows of the popular kids at his school, his life ruled by his ever-present fear of rejection or failure.

Enter high school football hero Brett Willson and the chance for Jeff to embark upon the challenge of educating the world's dumbest jock.

But what develops between Brett and Jeff proves far more challenging than any tutoring session. In 1983, rural Michigan isn't ready to embrace love between two men, never mind two teenage boys. If they're going to make a go of it, Jeff will have to come out of his shell - and Brett will have to prove he's more than just a dumb jock.

©2013 Jeff Erno (P)2015 Dreamspinner Press
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: LGBTQ+

What listeners say about Dumb Jock

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Definitely Not Dumb!

If you could sum up Dumb Jock in three words, what would they be?

A wonderful story!

What was one of the most memorable moments of Dumb Jock?

There were several, but if I'm forced to pick just one, it has to be the last chapter!

What does Tommy O'Brien bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

This is the first time I've listened to Tommy, Overall he did a decent job but occasionally there were a few times when it was difficult to know which character was speaking. That said I would listen to his narration again.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Definitely, but at over 7 hours long just not possible.

Any additional comments?

I laughed and cried, cheered and groaned at this story. There are several more books in this series, but as yet, not audible versions, but I'm hoping that will soon be remedied!

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Profile Image for Heather K (Dentist in my Spare Time)
  • Heather K (Dentist in my Spare Time)
  • 17-11-15

Warning... ranty review to follow.

*1.5 stars*

Yes, I rounded down. I really hated this book.

It's been awhile since I've stumbled across a book that gave me as strong of a gut reaction as this story. Every fiber of my being just said NO while I was listening to this one (more on the audio aspect of the book later). However, looking at my friends' reviews, I seem to be in the vast minority. What am I missing here, folks???

What is odd is that on the surface, this book has many of the things that I like in my books. I'm into age gaps, I'm into power-plays, and I'm into light D/s themes. However, I should specify that I'm into these things in my ADULT books. ADULT. These elements take on a whole different light in the YA setting of this story.

This book is about a 14 year old high school freshman and a 17 year old high school junior. The 14 year old, Jeff, is described pretty well. He is a skinny, thin, geeky pre-pubescent boy who is unsure of himself and his sexuality. He has a very messed up home life, and he is fragile in many, many ways. Brett is a 17 year old post-pubescent young man, one with a pretty stable home life, popularity, and looks on his side.

While a three year age difference may not be a lot, when you have a person described as basically a boy being intimate with someone described as basically a man... well, it squicked me out. A lot.

Combine that physical difference (Jeff's voice hasn't even changed yet in the story!) with the D/s themes and things get veeerrrrry weird. Brett called Jeff "pup" and "sport" all the time, which felt nasty to me. Puppy play with kids barely in their teens?? No thank you. Jeff also described himself as "puny" and "inferior", but not in a play-way like I would expect in an adult D/s book. Jeff had real self-esteem issues, and I didn't like seeing that mixed in with D/s themes. The whole kink vibe felt soooo verrrryyyy wroooonnnng.

It wasn't just the kinkiness or the power differences that bothered me, but also the characters themselves. Jeff was a whiny, annoying doormat who gave Brett second chances followed by third and forth chances. He was extremely vulnerable and irritating, and I didn't enjoy being in his head one bit. Brett was just an ass. We didn't get his POV, but I honestly didn't understand him at all. Like, AT ALL. He was hot and cold, totally unreadable, and made no sense as a character.

The side character were also so clichéd. The absentee father, the beleaguered mother, the gay teacher, the bullies... it was like a hit list of everything to include in your YA book. So done before, you know?

To top it off, the plot was a rambling, disordered series of events that loosely could be considered a story arc. For me, it dragged on and on, and it lacked proper structure and editing.

But the kicker was the audiobook narration. Tommy O'Brien really phoned this one in with a stilted, wooden narration with no differentiation between the characters' voices. It made for a really difficult listening experience.

After over 7.5 hours of listening to the audiobook and forcing myself to finish, I just don't have it in me to be charitable. I didn't like this story, and I'll hesitate to try another Jeff Erno book again.

**Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Morgan A Skye
  • Morgan A Skye
  • 24-09-15

Nice YA story

This is a YA book – so you can expect that this has a fairly predictable message – but it’s a sweet and good one. Nerd loves jock. Jock surprises nerd and loves him back. Everyone has to grow up and be brave.

I think there was a lot of “fantasy” type stuff in here – meaning, that people didn’t necessarily act like I think they would IRL. But… that being said – they could act that way… especially since this is only one perspective- Jeff’s.

I appreciated the lengths the author went to really get inside Jeff’s head and let this story out as one of hope for all those bullied along in high school.

There are some interesting components to this – as a YA book. 1) Off page sex – both are underage and it fits, but it’s there. 2) a bit of a Dom/sub thing – not overworked or “inappropriate” per se – interesting setting for it, though.


Audio

Tommy O’Brien is not my favorite narrator but he did a nice job with the narration, neither really adding nor detracting from the overall experience.


I think my overall impression was one of “good”. It was good. It didn’t “wow” me or make me think “how awful”. It was good. Certainly enough to make me consider more from the series when I’m in a YA mood.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Zell Oakley
  • Zell Oakley
  • 06-09-22

A story for gay men

Listening to Dumb Jock made me genuinely sad. And not because the book itself was sad (though there are VERY sad parts) but because gay literature has fallen so far since it was published that I don't know if it can ever recover. Most m/m books in recent years are written by and for straight women, or "queer" women who are functionally straight, for all that's worth (not much). You cannot find anything written by anyone who seems to have a clue what gay men--teenagers in this case--have actually gone through. Almost half the men in m/m relationships in these modern books are bisexual, and a further 25% are straight. which is... not my experience, certainly, nor any gay man I know. Coming out of the closet or being in denial about one's sexuality has been replaced by something called "bi-awakening" which is about 500 times more common in fiction than reality, but if you criticize it a hundred straight women will descend on you claiming to know someone who it happened to. I'm pretty sure they're all just friends with the same guy. The one-star review from Heather K. is genuinely hilarious to me because she doesn't like that the characters have flaws or have (very tastefully written) sex, which is very typical of the prudish views a lot of romance readers actually hold when you scratch the surface. She didn't like the fact that there is a three year age gap, because the characters are so young, but I can tell you that this age gap is very, very common in high school and the older partner is not a sexual predator, lol.

Anyway, enough about what the book is not. What it IS is a very sweet book about a couple of kids with issues. It's a nerd/jock romance, with Jeff being the nerd and Brett the jock. It could easily be cliché (and if it had been written a few years later it would have been), but it isn't. Too often in romances between two men of differing degrees of masculinity, the less masculine one is super "sassy" and the jock ends up having to grovel and apologize constantly. I think the women who write them simply write their own fantasy relationship and then plug in a not-very-masculine male character to stand in for themselves. But here, Jeff is not "sassy." He starts out as a wallflower with a case of hero worship and largely stays that way. He has endless capacity for forgiveness and that's a good character trait, even though it allows Brett to walk all over him sometimes. Brett, our jock, is mostly a good guy but makes a lot of mistakes. They're two very realistic characters who find themselves in a sweet and mostly realistic book (a couple idealistic parts notwithstanding).

There is one section where the romantic plot is derailed for a few chapters to focus on a tragedy that occurs, and normally I would be irritated at this but it's so well-written and so genuine that I found myself as rapt as I was for the rest of the book. The book is written in first person from Jeff's point of view only (another point in its favor, I hate the POV switches that pervade modern romance novels). There is a VERY light dom/sub element to their relationship which is ten thousand times more realistic than the very bizarre books being written in recent years. Once again Heather's review is hilarious to me, because she states that she's super into dom/sub books but was uncomfortable with this one because the characters are so young. Look, modern dom/sub books involve the characters calling each other "daddy" and changing each others' diapers, so I'm sorry if you think the idea that two high schoolers might have a very vaguely-defined control thing is... whatever you think it is.

Anyway, I'm aware this is less a review of this book than it is a lament for the state of m/m literature (god forbid I refer to it as "gay" literature because what about all the straight men in m/m relationships??), but the fact remains, this is a fantastic book with characters that are recognizable as gay teenagers and a romantic plot that is compelling, if occasionally meandering. The narrator is fantastic too, particularly when he sings a few hymns about halfway through the story. That could have been really bad, as it comes at a very important and emotional point, but he acquits himself nicely. So if you like your gay romances to be between a straight or bisexual jock and a sassy gay moron with more snappy dialogue than substance, you might want to avoid this one. If you want to know what gay teenagers actually act like and think like, then buy the book, and please write more like it.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lifesavr
  • 05-08-15

I lost 20 lbs of crying!

This is so common of a theme for a gay coming out story. They always make me cry, some more than others. I was surprised that this one got to me though, I didn't feel that it was going to be that good or maybe I just thought I would not allow this one to get to me, but it did. HS was a lost time for me. I stayed deep in the closet in 1960s, in Oakland, CA. I had so many crushes, that I kept to myself, and I barely graduate from HS. I was surely very depressed & also I was dealing with going to Vietnam and war. I became the very first person that my draft board ever gave a CO status to. Since then I have spent 40 years in the medical field savings my patients from the horrors of illness if I could or comforting them in their dying. People still hate me because I am gay, and stories like this one brings up the sadness of my youth and how alone I had to be because of other people's hatred of me. I always wonder if they ever realize the harm & pain they inflicted on a lonely young man that just wanted what everyone one else wanted someone to love and someone to love him back!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-08-15

Pulled on my heartstrings

I love it when a book can make me laugh and cry and Jeff Erno was a master of it in this book. The start of the book was slow and I almost gave up on it about 10% into it because I thought it was too unbelievable how the romance is initiated and progresses, but then it really picked up. Once their romance gets started it is a fun roller coaster that made me feel along with the characters.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Aquanetta Mitchell
  • Aquanetta Mitchell
  • 04-02-22

Enjoyed it for what it is

It definitely has strong themes. LGBTQ, D/s, Alcoholism, Death, etc. You can tell that it wasn’t edited well because some things were very repetitive and/didn’t align with things that were said and done at different times in the story. Overall I enjoyed it though because I’m into the themes. If you’re not into there themes mentioned, the book isn’t for you.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Art Gibson
  • Art Gibson
  • 27-12-20

Adequate but sad

Brett used Jeff. He caused him anguish. The story’s plot without spoilers left me with a bittersweet feeling. Good tale otherwise

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jeffrey
  • 17-02-19

A Sweet Story With A Good Heart

A little research reveals that this book is but one of six written by Mr. Erno over 2 years based on his own feelings and experiences growing up in Michigan. It is based on a story he wrote for a site as an amateur that he was encouraged to publish.

Its dominant themes reflect the author's own sensibilities as many authors' books do. It is a fiction which must be kept in mind that fiction is fiction and the author can write what he/she wants according to their own needs, wishes and desires.

The content of this story reflects entirely the author's views and therefore is unassailable. It's presentation that comes across as a bit rough. The worst is that the narration is at times wooden, more like a scientific presentation or a documentary and contradicts the very emotional moments, some of which are eye-popping.

The era presented to me does not at times fit what a 14 year old boy should be able to interpret back then, but here we go again. It's the author's prerogative to imbue his characters with whatever knowledge or sensibility that he wishes. The narrative seems chopped and abrupt and uneven at times, but who cares. The ending was predictable but very satisfying. I hope more Dumb Jock books surface here on Audible, it is a sweet story with a good heart.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Zac Chupe
  • 07-09-18

Heart warming

The first time I read this I cried. Such a fantastic book. I still cry. Every time I read it.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for James
  • James
  • 27-07-17

Love vs the enforcers of HS heterosexist normativity

The narrator is very good and the story too. Matt is quite a character and we witness his self-awakening and empowerment in the face of heterosexist normativity and its dumbass enforcers in the High Schools. More things than usual are left to the imagination and this is fine perhaps except for the abrupt ending. But then if I wanted to hear more about Brett's horrible coach and his homophobic parents and the prejudice of small everytown, I guess I wouldn't be reading a romance!