When Donna Minkowitz, a contributing writer to the Village Voice, Ms., and Out (among others), got in drag as a 16-year-old boy (complete with baseball cap and fake mustache), she soon found herself surrounded by taut-bodied, sweaty men in tight-fitting T-shirts and well-worn Levi's embracing and holding hands. But she wasn't sneaking into a gay bar: this was a Promise Keepers convention, where "family men" were enslaving themselves before their master, Jesus, as they learned to ask forgiveness for their sins and demanded the return of their traditional patriarchal role from their families.
In her brave new book, Ferocious Romance, Minkowitz investigates the Religious Right, and in so doing draws some unexpected parallels between that culture and the diametrically opposed worlds of the S/M community, ACT-UP, Queer Nation, and Sex Panic!; she also finds herself identifying with many of the people she meets. This is a poignant journey in which Minkowitz comes face-to-face with the very people she has protested against as an activist; the experience leads her to explore her relationships to organized religion, women, feminism, sex, friendship, romance, and rage. A thoughtful and unconventional memoir--at turns harrowing and enlightening--that hits straight at the reader's heart and mind. --Kera Bolonik
From Publishers Weekly
Minkowitz, a lesbian activist, brings a refreshing lack of rancor and an appealing open-mindedness to encounters that would normally be fodder for the most extreme rhetoric of the culture wars. In pursuit of an article for the Village Voice, she set off to engage the religious right, her perceived enemy, mostly by infiltrating their ranks at rallies. To her surprise, she was almost wooed. In chapters alternating between experiences with Christian groups (e.g., the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, the Promise Keepers, Focus on the Family) and her life among her own set (S/M workshops, gay rights marches), Minkowitz details how she came to feel an affinity "with people who cackle, ululate, and bray their praise of God." Minkowitz, who calls herself "Dionysian," feels at home with what she sees as the eroticism of charismatic Christianity ("my people, gays and lesbians, have been known to get pretty ecstatic themselves"). Her writing, never strident or polemical, is both earnest and breezy, and sometimes funny. After a while, however, it becomes clear that Minkowitz is content to keep her account subjective and impressionistic: she offers little contextual understanding of the differences among Christian groups or of the wider ramifications of their beliefs?or, for that matter, of her own. She concludes by offering a purely personal notion of virtue: "I could see there was no redeemer. No enslaver. Only other people. I approached them with great joy." Minkowitz's book is notable for its generosity of spirit more than for its depth. In the end, she seems to view conservative Christianity as just another a lifestyle choice. Agent, Jed Mattes.
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