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2 Burnside Gay and Lesbian- General

Becoming a Man Half a Life Story


Becoming a Man Half a Life Story Cover

ISBN13: 9780062507242
ISBN10: 0062507249
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Chapter One

Everybody else had a childhood, for one thing-where they were coaxed and coached and taught all the shorthand. Or that's how it always seemed to me, eavesdropping my way through twenty-five years, filling in the stories of straight men's lives. First they had their shining boyhood, which made them strong and psyched them up for the leap across the chasm to adolescence, where the real rites of manhood began. I grilled them about it whenever I could, slipping the casual question in while I did their Latin homework for them, sprawled on the lawn at Andover under the reeling elms.

And every year they leaped further ahead, leaving me in the dust with all my doors closed, and each with a new and better deadbolt. Until I was twenty-five, I was the only man I knew who had no story at all. I'd long since accepted the fact that nothing had ever happened to me and nothing ever would. That's how the closet feels, once you've made your nest in it and learned to call it home. Self-pity becomes your oxygen.Forty-six now and dying by inches, I finally see how our livesalign at the core, if not in thesorry details. I still shiver with akind of astonished delight when a gay brother or sister tells ofthat narrow escape from the coffin world of the closet. "Yes yes yes, "goes a voice in my head, "it was just like that for me." When we laughtogether then and dance in the giddy circle of freedom, we arechildren for real at last, because we have finally grown up. Andevery time we dance, our enemies writhe like the Witch in "Oz," melting, melting--the Nazi Popes and all their brocaded minions, the rat-brain politicians, the wacko fundamentalists andtheir Book of Lies.

We may not win in the end, of course. Genocide is still the national sport of straight men, especially in this century of nightmares. And death by AIDS is everywhere around me, seething through the streets of this broken land. Last September I buried another lover, Stephen Kolzak-- died of homophobia, murdered by barbaric priests and petty bureaucrats. So whether or not I was ever a child is a matter of very small moment. But every memoir now is a kind of manifesto, as we piece together the tale of the tribe. Our stories have died with us long enough. We mean to leave behind some map, some key, for the gay and lesbian people who follow--that they may not drown in the lies, in the hate that pools and foams like pus on the carcass of America.Why do they hate us? Why do they fear us? Why do they want us invisible?Put it this way. A month after Stevie died, running from grief, I drove three days through Normandy. In the crystalline October light I walked the beach at Omaha, scoped the landing from a German bunker, then headed up the pasture bluff to the white field of American crosses. American soil in fact, this ocean graveyard, unpolluted even by the SS visit of Reagan in '84, who couldn't tell the difference between the dead here and the dead at Bitburg. You can't do Normandy without D-Day. After Omaha, the carnage and heroism shimmer across the pastureland, ghosts of the soldiers who freed the world of evil for a while.

Two days later I fetched up in Caen, where they've built a Museum of Peace on the site of an eighty-day battle fought by three million men. Newsreel footage and camp uniforms, ration books, code breakers, yellow star and pink triangle. You watch it all happen like a slow bomb, from the end of World War I, the dementia of power, till the smithereens are in smithereens.You walk numbly from year to year, country to country, helpless as a Jew or a Gypsy or a queer.


The critically and popularly acclaimed coming of age/coming out story from the author of Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir. "Witty as it is anguished and as full of understanding as of anger, this is Monette's best book."--Booklist

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

chrismecham, April 14, 2007 (view all comments by chrismecham)
This is THE book I would keep should I only be permitted to keep one and the book that has influenced my ethics and identity more than any other. Monette writes about growing up white, bright and privileged in America like no author before him. Monette was writing during the worst of the AIDS epidemic when a generation of the best and brightest were falling all around us and while he does point a political finger he also shares the freedom he experienced by escaping "the coffin world of the closet." His extraordinary prose throughout the book make it especially memorable.

This book should be required reading for anyone who is or who has loved someone who is gay.
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bluepurple, May 13, 2006 (view all comments by bluepurple)
Mr. Monette writes a tale of self pity. He attended Phillips Academy aka Andover and then Yale. Much of his self proclaimed horrid childhood was not any more or less of a horrid childhood than many of us had however he blames it on his being homosexual. He blames all of his childhood and teen failures on his parents, teachers and takes no responsibility for his own behavior. He openly writes in graphic detail of having sexual relations with a minor student while he was teaching at at all boys residential school. This is an admission of illegal acts-pedophilia. Mr. Monette had much more growing up and in his adult life than most of us had or will ever have yet he whines throughout this entire book about how tough his life was and it was all at the fault of others. This book is not worth the read unless you enjoy the stories of selfish and full of self pity people who blame all of their failures on others. I find the graphic details of Mr. Monette's relationship with a boy to be sickening. I read this book for an undergraduate course in literature "gay writers 101" and thought it would be a great book. I was wrong.
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Product Details

Half a Life Story
Monette, Paul
Harper San Francisco
San Francisco :
Gay Studies
Gay men
Gay men -- United States -- Biography.
Edition Description:
1st HarperCollins paperback ed.
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
8.03x5.33x.81 in. .56 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Gay and Lesbian » Fiction and Poetry » General
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Gay Studies

Becoming a Man Half a Life Story Used Trade Paper
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Product details 288 pages HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS - English 9780062507242 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , The critically and popularly acclaimed coming of age/coming out story from the author of Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir. "Witty as it is anguished and as full of understanding as of anger, this is Monette's best book."--Booklist
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