Archive for the ‘Gay Fiction’ Category

Young Man from the Provinces, Alan Helms
December 20, 2008

Alan Helms, Young Man from the Provinces, is the first gay morality tale I’ve ever read. Discovering myself in the pages, eloquently moved by the author, who describes his sometimes misspent youth and rise as a “golden boyman”, someone adored by his looks.  Alan Helms is the main character in this novel, chronicling gay society before Stonewall. A culture smilier to our own.

I found myself connected to the book in two ways. His childhood,  he lived and was raised by a father in the throws of alcoholism and a mother unable to deal with breaking away or finding independence from the abuse. That was the first. The second was the adoration of youth.

The novel parrelles many straight and similer stories, not just in the days before Stonewall. Re-telling his own personal journey through the gay experience. 

A Gay Life Before Stonewall by Alan Helms

Young Man from the Provinces: A Gay Life Before Stonewall by Alan Helms

I was struck by the way Alan Helms documents his fear, as he grows up in his alcoholic family, how he tries to escape into his own life.

How the memoires’ plain and certain truth, mentions his shame and desparaging family. He clearly shows how addiction affects childhood. I saw my own family; my father was not addicted to alcohol, but to the paranormal and to the surreal. Just like Alan Helms, who’s father disappeared and spent money on alcohol instead of food. My father spent it on psychics and UFO workshops. He shares the arguments and the heartache.

I was touched by the author’s honesty.

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Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sederis
December 19, 2008

David Sedaris has mastered his voice and style (some say this is his best book). When I finished reading Me Talk Pretty One Day I found myself wanting a novel from this author. I enjoyed this compilation of short stories and essays. He brings to life his characters. His voice resounds off the page; his sentences are metered and straight forward. He’s also understands flow; a very elusive device that allows us, the reader, to enjoy and be captivated by his work. He does not bog down with unnecessary words.

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

The stories about his father, his time in Paris are delightful. We truly feel his anguish to adjust to the culture. His love for Hugh, for relocating and his dysfunctional affection for his family are all transparent. This is a truly an American book. It also shows how Sedaris has matured as a writer.

Naked still remains my favorite, check out the ratings and other comments on Amazon.  Get the book, you be the judge, but David Sedaris is an amazing American writer.

Barrel Fever, David Sedaris
December 17, 2008

I imported this book review from my old blog, Barrel Fever is the first book by David Sedaris. When reading the first stories, I quickly find myself not caring about the characters and their fantasies; then the compilation opens up. The stories are sexually gratuitous (not in a good way) and repetitive – at first. Divided into two parts, that of short stories – afterward essays.

Barrel Fever by David Sedaris

Barrel Fever by David Sedaris

The stories are caught in moments of pure fantasy with very timely celebrities of that era, I constantly found myself questioning, “Who is that?” I actually skim read through Parade and just didn’t want to read about Glen’s Homophobia.  In some ways, I understand why Sedaris never again focuses on the short story form.  In his later books, everything is essay. 

The essays are of course brilliant. We see the David Sedaris we know and love. The Christmas story makes me laugh out loud, I will never look at the Macy’s Christmas display in the same way again. As a writer I find great joy in reading first books – because they are just that, the first. The author is still fresh and trying, it’s a literary sandbox.  

Naked is much better, with consistent good writing, I never wrote a review for Naked, since I was hospitalized and just didn’t want to revist the grim time, yet that work gave me must needed diversion.  I’ve also read Me Talk Pretty Some Day, it’s delightful.  Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim is an ode to the dysfunctional family.

This book chronicles his fresh voice, When You Are Engulfed in Flames documents that oversaturation and redundancy.