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This title in other editions

The World of Normal Boys

by

The World of Normal Boys Cover

ISBN13: 9781575666617
ISBN10: 1575666618
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

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Awards

Winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Fiction.

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In his stunning debut novel, The World Of Normal Boys, K. M. Soehnlein captures the spirit of a generation and an era, embodied in the haunting, unstoppable voice of thirteen-year-old Robin MacKenzie, a modern-day Holden Caulfield, whose struggle for a place in the world is as ferocious as it is real.

The time is the late 1970s — an age of gas shortages, head shops, and Saturday Night Fever. The place, suburban New Jersey. At a time when the teenagers around him are coming of age, Robin MacKenzie is coming undone. While ?normal boys? are into cars, sports, and bullying their classmates, Robin enjoys day trips to New York City with his elegant mother, spinning fantastic tales for her amusement in an intimate ritual he has come to love. He dutifully plays the role of the good son for his meat-and-potatoes father, even as his own mind is a jumble of sexual confusion and painful self-doubt. But everything changes in one, horrifying instant when a tragic accident wakes his family from their middle-American dream and plunges them into a spiral of slow destruction.

As his family falls apart day by day, Robin finds himself pulling away from the unquestioned, unexamined life that has been carefully laid out for him. Small acts of rebellion lead to larger questions of what it means to stand on his own. Falling into a fevered triangle with two other outcasts, Todd Spicer and Scott Schatz, Robin embarks on an explosive odyssey of sexual self-discovery that will take him beyond the spring-green lawns of suburbia, beyond the fraying fabric barely holding together his quickly unraveling family, and into a complex future, beyond the world of normal boys.

In The World Of Normal Boys, K.M. Soehnlein has created a dazzling gem of a debut novel in the tradition of Ordinary People and A Boy?s Own Story, one that sparkles with raw honesty, poetic beauty, wry insight, and a rare richness of emotion that reverberates long after the last page is read. It is a story about growing up and falling apart, of rebellion and acceptance, of unspoken lives and irreversible choices that are made.

Review:

"Late 1970s New Jersey is the backdrop for this gay coming-of-age novel by newcomer Soehnlein....The third-person present-tense narrative presents an amusingly detailed and largely accurate picture of life in the Jersey 'burbs. Although marred a bit by rather facile psychologizing, Robin's story is ultimately a moving romance. That romance is not that of a boy with another boy (or man) — the clinical depictions of Robin's various sexual experiences are not particularly moving — but of a boy with a city: the New York where Robin lived as a small child; the New York he visits with his mother on their 'City Days' throughout his childhood; the New York that remains, despite an ugly walk on its wild side, the city of Robin's dreams." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Soehnlein makes the familiar strange....[T]his is a rich and unflinching book." Matthew Flamm, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Soehnlein's...characters are so engaging and his observations so acute, this potentially tired story is actually a welcome addition to the canon. It is also compulsively readable." Martin Wilson, Lambda Book Report

Review:

"Full of tension and suspense, Soehnlein's well-paced debut novel is a fresh look at one boy's sexual awakening in the 1970s and his journey to find a place where he can fit in." Booklist

Review:

"Even if you're not a child of the 70's, The World of Normal Boys will force you to relive the most painful moments of your adolescence. In the process you'll reaffirm your decision to be who you are now." Jeremy Quittner, The Advocate

About the Author

K.M. Soehnlein grew up in New Jersey. He has since lived in New York City, Tucson, and San Francisco, where he currently works as a freelance writer and plays clarinet with The Cubby Creatures. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and is the recipient of a Henfield Prize for fiction. His short stories have appeared in Modern Words and The James White Review. The World Of Normal Boys is his first novel.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

northski, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by northski)
The story of Robin and Scott's relationship follows a nice dramatic path. The larger story, however, is not necessary, revolving around a family tragedy that bogs down the narrative in maudlin stretches. The parents themselves could easily be kept off scene and Robin's dilemmas over his sexuality would still come through. In spite of the general overwriting, the story moves ahead when Robin deals with his sexual experiences. Note that most of the drug use that accompanies this aspect of his life feels gratuitous, tacked on in the same manner that the family issues are. Therefore, this has to be a mixed review of what could be a story with a better focus.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781575666617
Author:
Soehnlein, K. M.
Publisher:
Kensington Publishing Corporation
Author:
Soehnlein, K. M.
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Teenage boys
Subject:
Suspense fiction
Subject:
New jersey
Subject:
Gay
Subject:
Bildungsromans
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series Volume:
no. 47
Publication Date:
20010831
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
296
Dimensions:
9.08x6.05x.79 in. .71 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Gay and Lesbian » Fiction and Poetry » Gay Fiction
Gay and Lesbian » Fiction and Poetry » Men's Fiction
Reference » Science Reference » Technology

The World of Normal Boys Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.50 In Stock
Product details 296 pages Kensington Books - English 9781575666617 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Late 1970s New Jersey is the backdrop for this gay coming-of-age novel by newcomer Soehnlein....The third-person present-tense narrative presents an amusingly detailed and largely accurate picture of life in the Jersey 'burbs. Although marred a bit by rather facile psychologizing, Robin's story is ultimately a moving romance. That romance is not that of a boy with another boy (or man) — the clinical depictions of Robin's various sexual experiences are not particularly moving — but of a boy with a city: the New York where Robin lived as a small child; the New York he visits with his mother on their 'City Days' throughout his childhood; the New York that remains, despite an ugly walk on its wild side, the city of Robin's dreams."
"Review" by , "Soehnlein makes the familiar strange....[T]his is a rich and unflinching book."
"Review" by , "Soehnlein's...characters are so engaging and his observations so acute, this potentially tired story is actually a welcome addition to the canon. It is also compulsively readable."
"Review" by , "Full of tension and suspense, Soehnlein's well-paced debut novel is a fresh look at one boy's sexual awakening in the 1970s and his journey to find a place where he can fit in."
"Review" by , "Even if you're not a child of the 70's, The World of Normal Boys will force you to relive the most painful moments of your adolescence. In the process you'll reaffirm your decision to be who you are now."
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