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Boys Like Us: Gay Writers Tell Their Coming Out Stories Paperback – Bargain Price, October 1, 1997

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Twenty-nine original coming-out essays by some of the country's most prominent gay writers are assembled here by Merla, former editor of Christopher Street and New York Native. The settings of the pieces span the nation and the entire postwar era. Among the several gems are "Cinnamon Skin" by Patrick White (A Boy's Own Story) and "He's One, Too" by Allan Gurganus (Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All), both of which transcend the personal essay and become literature. The stories by poet J.D. McClatchy, "My Fountain Pen," and playwright Tim Miller, "How to Grow Fruit," are wholly personal, poignant and poetic. Unfortunately, one must also wade through much that falls short of these, and the book ends on an off beat with poet Carl Phillips's annoyingly cloying "Sea Level." And yet, overall, this anthology conveys concretely the rite of passage on which it focuses, providing an impressive, if uneven, complement to American gay literature. 25,000 first printing.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

A literary agent, editor, and prominent figure in gay publishing, Merla has assembled an extraordinary collection of 29 gay "coming out" stories from writers such as Edmund White, Andrew Holleran, and Stephen McCauley. The authors describe encounters with strangers or friends or even family resulting in revelations that they were gay. Each event may have been dramatic or funny or poignant, but all had a self-defining moment after which their lives would never be the same. Whether the stories concerned coming of age in the South (Allan Gurganus) or having the first sexual experience in Hawaii (Norman Wong) or having a crush on a high school friend in California (Michael Nava), the common thread is firsthand experience. Aside from the sheer literary quality, this book is an important step in providing role models to ease the pain of young gay people as they approach their own self-identity. Highly recommended for all public libraries and especially for gay/lesbian collections.
Richard S. Drezen, Washington Post News Research Ctr., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380788357
  • ASIN: B005OL8JPI
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,805,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Sterling Walker's stories and prose have been anthologized in several collections, including the Lambda Award-winning Fresh Men: New Voices in Gay Fiction. His debut collection, Desire: Tales of New Orleans, was nominated as a 25th Annual Lambda Literary Foundation Awards finalist in the category of "LGBT Debut Fiction." He wrote the biographical entries on poet James Merrill and film director Douglas Sirk for The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives, and has written for other publications, including the Boston Book Review and Publisher's Weekly. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from Brooklyn College. In 2013, Walker received the first annual Emerging Writers Award from New Orleans' Saints and Sinners Literary Festival. A native of New Orleans, he now resides in Brooklyn, with his spouse, the artist Jeffrey Dreiblatt.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on February 18, 1998
Format: Paperback
I am a lesbian who also enjoys reading books about gay boys & men. Coming out stories are of special interest to me.
This book is exceptionally well written. It begins with pre-Stonewall entries and tells each person's story up thru the 1990's---so that the reader gets a very good overall historical view of the way homosexuality is viewed and the progress the gay community & individuals have made.
Each of the stories (there are approx. 29) is told in the first person, telling the author's own experiences from youth to adulthood. With only one or two exceptions, the stories are extremely well told. All of the stories told are written by men who are professional writers.

In addition, there is a photograph of each of the men the way he appeared in his youth at the time the story happened, and in the back of the book a picture of how he looks today---along with a brief bio about him and other writings he has done.

These men really reached out and touched me. Each one made me feel as if I really knew him.
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I was very moved by this collection of stories by gay authors. It's a book you'll read again and again. I especially liked the way the book starts with essays about coming out in the 50's and moves up to present day experiences. Gay men will see something of themselves in the stories, and others will come to understand what it's like for a gay person to deal with their sexuality.
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Format: Paperback
A must read for those who have come out, are coming out, haven't come out, or those who want to try to understand those who are coming out. You'll laugh, you'll cry! Better than cats--you'll read it again and again and again.... Reading this book, it was great to find out that different thoughts, feelings, experiences that occured through my coming out were shared by others, even those much older than I!
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Enjoyed reading various accounts of young boys discovering their sexuality. A good "coming out" book.Lots of variety in their stories.
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a must-read for every gay man, and anyone else who ever wondered what it is like to have the revelation and experience of coming out.
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By A Customer on June 5, 1997
Format: Hardcover
This is some anthology -- on a vital, primal topic. A real treasure, and very much needed. You'll definitely be re-reading it as the years go by. In particular, check out the pieces by Alan Gurganus, Scott Heim, Ron Caldwell and Ed Sikov
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Format: Paperback
This book deserves 5 stars. I know, I know. You look at it and think, Another anthology of coming out essays? From the 1990's? How many times do I have to read the BIG REVEAL until I'm no longer bound by fellow-feeling to live through yet another fraught, tearful denouement? But I swear this book is different. Each writer looks through the prism of self-recognition and sends the broken shards of rainbow in different directions, each bright, alluring, and spellbinding. The stories transgress the line of memoir into essay and produce fascinating insights into gay identity. If you remember that the gay movement has lived and changed with the velocity of dogs years since the Stonewall Revolution, you begin to understand that reading this work can be an integral part of how we see ourselves. I highly recommend its jeweled prose.
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