A Wealth of Unsaid Words - R. Cooper Do you like holiday themed stories? Usually we see this in an anthology as a short story or novella and the environment of family, love and redemption, and new beginnings are common.This week I was in the mood for something a little more complex than just a basic “feel good” romance story. In A Wealth of Unsaid Words, R. Cooper adds a bittersweet facet by using mental illness as a source of conflict and character development. Basic Plot: It is a year since Alex has last been with his best friend Everett and his family. Alex has spent the last year trying to gain control of his life from his bipolar disorder. His habits and meds are working, so can he now take the risk to be the man he wants to be for Everett? Relationship: Alex has relied on Everett and his family throughout his teens and as an adult against his illness. They are extremely supportive and now he feels as if he needs to stand on his own. Everett has loved Alex all his life and he has begun to fear that Alex would never allow them to move to the next step: “That and who hasn’t wanted something they haven’t gotten? Those poems are full of all the reasons why he wants what he wants, which are also the reasons why he shouldn’t have it,” she added. And really that’s what the book is about. Are these two men strong enough and brave enough to try to make this relationship work? Strong Points: The strength of this story is that we only see Alex’s viewpoint. We get to see how his mind works, and while he is now on his meds, we still get the impression through the skilled writing of how frantic his thought process has been in the past. We see what an effort he is making on accepting the love of Everett and his family.And I love the dialogue and descriptions. Cooper just makes me laugh at times and cry at others. While reading this book, I felt like I was in his mind, living Alex’s life.Also, I really loved what Cooper wrote as Alex’s writing voice. She really captured the manic and the depressive mind in writing with Alex’s words. What could be better? In this case, it’s not what could be better, but rather what else I wish I could have seen. I would have loved to see the entire relationship, beginning with how Alex was before he began the meds, including all of the ups and downs of the past. It would have been compelling reading and a chance for Cooper to really demonstrate a range of writing. But, that would have changed the tone it was not the purpose of this story. Conclusions: if you want a good, quick read then this book is for you. The story is more complex than just a shag and a pat goodbye, it has heart, a bit of angst, and a dash of compelling dialogue.