I commend Stanley for telling his story. Along the way there are some great times and some sad times like all of us. After everything he has been through so far he has come out of it with joy, caring, loving let it roll of your back kind of attitude. His story can teach us all about love no matter who it is. I also enjoyed reading about Hollywood, broadway and London. Its nice to see society it slowly changing and not judging who people should and should not love. A love story anyone would be happy to read. You can learn quite a lot.
As I think back to what I learned from reading S. Stanley's memoirs and I contemplate how this review should begin, I recall a commercial for Google Chrome which highlights Dan Savage's It Gets Better Organization, providing positive and encouraging messages for gay youth.
Several videos in the series were posted by gay seniors doting that "It gets better with age!" Truer words were never spoken when it comes to describing Gordon's autobiography entitled My Two Wives and Three Husbands.
As the title suggests, Gordon did not always recognize as being gay. Questioning, yes, his entire life. He knew he was gay early on but already received enough criticism for being Jewish.
So, he dated women to cover up the latter. He did marry and attempt to settle into heterosexual relationships with women - once out of love and once out of convenience - and even fathered a child. From here, Gordon's life plays out like theatrics on a stage. Quite literally.
You may not recognize his name right away, but Gordon was a very successful optometrist in the beginning, creating the chain of offices that would eventually become known as Pearle Vision after he sold it. The money from the sale of his business allowed him to pursue a life long dream in theater. Success again! He becomes a producer across the globe from New York to London.
I will refrain from the stereotypical banter of gays involved in theater here, though Gordon doesn't! His book is filled with delicious gossip from on and off the stage, and in and out of the bedroom.
It is when the author meets his current husband of 16 years, Joe Henry, that Gordon's search for romance comes to a satisfied climax (pun intended) and only then can the curtain come down.
But this book isn't just some old queen's tales of the way it was back then. It is about a determination to succeed in life - in business and in love - while staying true to yourself and to who you are. And now, Gordon stays true to his readers. If you are out there and you are gay and you need words of encouragement more than ever, seek out this book!
Even if you aren't gay and would just like a positive message filled with laughs and love, then Gordon's life story is for you.
S. Stanley Gordon has created an autobiography that should appeal to a very wide audience - people who love memoirs (especially a little on the wild side), devotees of insider information on Hollywood and Broadway and the accompanying stars, those who want to understand the history of the emergence of gay life in the United States during the past century, lovers of love stories, and in general the curious public at large. This sparkling book represents the life of the author as he moved from being a child of Russian Jewish immigrants in the 1920s in Philadelphia, the metamorphosis of a kid with a Jewish name adapting to the arena of 'normalcy' by changing his name from Samuel Grodsky to Stanley Gordon (a delightfully hilarious story by itself!), to quite by accident becoming an Optometrist at the time of war thus avoiding the draft, and how he managed to recognize his same sex longings as a child, 'overcome' them by marrying women twice, and finally coming out as a gay person - an introduction to a life style he celebrates and relishes and finds three subsequent husbands in his gradual transformation to a dream life of life on Broadway and eventually Hollywood, all the time benefiting form a surprisingly successful Optometry corporation across the USA.
And all of this is true. Gordon writes from his now home in Pasadena California and relates his life of madness and love in a fashion that is exhilarating to read, offering insights to the slings and arrows he faced in his finding his place in the life of husband to wives, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and as well as husband to three disparate men. There are moments of sadness and loss and disappointment and challenge, but Gordon takes us through these pages with always a glint in his eye that something better is coming down the yellow brick road. This is a fast reading, brisk, intelligent and ultimately compassionate book by someone unafraid to tell it all! Grady Harp, May 11
on June 18, 2011
This memoir is open-hearted, kind, generous, and hilarious! From the first chapter through the last, I enjoyed every page of this book. Surprising, scandalous, charming and heart-breaking, I was moved and dazzled by the story of Stanley's life. Anyone, of any gender, race, age or sexual orientation will enjoy this book, and will be better off after reading it! Being one of Stanley's granddaughters, I can verify that this book is very much like its author - adventurous, charming, loving, good-natured and very spicy!
There are no photos in the book, but several can be found on Stanley's website: sstanleygordonauthor.com
on April 25, 2011
What's not to love about this book? The cover proclaims it a "true love story" and it is that and more, it is also a coming of age, coming out and coming up story told with disarming candor, and simplicity. It is Stanley Gordon talking to a roomful of friends, with a wry wit, no self pity whatsoever, even when relating tragic memories and some regrets, and no self aggrandizement even when telling about hunting for grunion in the Pacific with Leslie Caron or sitting across a dinner table from Mae West.
As the title implies, this is the memoir of a gay man. As a child first realizing he is different, he hides the fact that he is gay (or as it was called in those days, queer) just as he often hides the fact that he is Jewish when he finds himself among people who refer to Jews as Kikes or "goddamn Jews" . . . he is, after all, a lover not a fighter. Fresh out of high school Stanley lucks out and receives a needed scholarship to study optometry, not something he dreamed of, planned or even saw coming but the result of a friend's application on his behalf. Thus he comes into a profession that will provide him a good living for years to come and help him pursue other more romantic dreams. He begins his adult life trying to live a "normal" manly life: he marries a woman he does indeed truly love (just not romantically) and enlists in the Army. Sessions with a psychiatrist do not in fact cause him to become heterosexual, but they do help him come clean to his wife and eventually they divorce because he believes she deserves more from a marriage. His second wife is also a woman he cares for who knows and accepts that he is gay and has her own problems with men (so feels safer with gay men). They enter into a marriage that is in reality a friendship. They even have a son but eventually split up so each can look for that something more that is missing from their lives. Stanley pursues his dream of producing theatrical shows although without the success he hopes for, and finds true love three times, although not without tragedy and loss. At one point he even makes a pact with himself that if he doesn't recover from the loss of his second husband to cancer in three years time he will end his life. It is noteworthy that he does not act rashly on suicidal ideation but gives himself time and perhaps the promise of release at the end of a tunnel of grief, helps him to recover. At 88 the author is going strong and enjoying a long life that has been blessed with real true love several times.
From WWII to the present this highly engaging personal memoir is also a story of a society slowly but surely changing its attitude toward gay men and women. Most importantly it will inspire readers to live life to the fullest!
This fun memoir brings into sharp focus the distance we have come toward accepting gays into our society over the last 80+ years. Author Stanley Gordon presents an endearing picture of life as a Jewish boy and gay man from the late 1930's to the present. He learned about discrimination as a young child and began to develop the thick "skin" and habit of hiding his true nature required in order to survive.
Homosexuality was simply not discussed in his home. He recognized early on that he was attracted to boys - and that it was dangerously unacceptable to disclose that fact. When he began college, he discovered the thriving gay underground community in Philadelphia. In subsequent years, it became apparent that such underground communities were everywhere.
Like many gay men, Stanley married - twice. His marriages exemplified the reality that loving a woman doesn't cure homosexuality. They also show that suppressing gayness doesn't work either; it ends up destroying marriages. Fortunately, both ex-wives remained friends with him, allowing Stanley to interact with his son.
His memoir goes on to demonstrate that dating and falling in love is really no different in the gay than in the straight community. The ups and downs, the experiences and realities of dating and marriage are virtually identical.
This memoir is neither preachy nor pushy. It doesn't get in your face about accepting gay equality. It simply explores a lifetime of experiences that culminate in the knowledge that love in all its forms is the road to happiness.
S.Stanley Gordon grew up in a time where being gay was taboo, not much different from today. So, dating and finally marrying women, he decided to fit the "norm" while carrying around his secret desire. It takes courage and a lot of love and support to finally accept who you are and tell the story. Staying true to oneself against the odds is an effort to be applauded. No matter who you love, the heart doesn't lie.
This was a wonderful read, sprinkled with joy, pain and love and laughter. During his career as a producer we even catch a glimpse of a few celebrities he met along the way.
I recommend this title to anyone who loves, whether gay or straight. Love is all that matters.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided by the author for the purpose of this review.
on May 19, 2011
You don't have to be gay to enjoy "My Two Wives and Three Husbands," a new autobiography by S. Stanley Gordon. I'm not. I did. Thoroughly.
Gordon chronicles the loves of his charmed life growing up the son of Russian Jewish immigrants in the 1920's in Philadelphia, then to New York on Broadway with memories which are juicy, lurid and laugh-out-loud hilarious, before he arrives in Hollywood.
And, as the saying goes, a funny thing happened on the way to the theatre - two wives and three husbands.
Gordon describes his innermost conflicts and a metamorphosis at a time when being gay was a hidden misery, his years as a producer in the entertainment industry dealing with stars like Mae West, Rex Harrison and even the reclusive Greta Garbo. He tells of his loves and losses and laughs along the way, dishing dirt as he goes. Gordon not only lives life. He loves life and every word in his book describes his embrace.
If you have a tender heart, like to dish and enjoy historical peek at social changes of the last century, "My Two Wives & Three Husbands" is a must-read.
Even if you're straight.
on October 3, 2011
We ordered this for our book club. Everyone liked it. The author is clearly a mensch, his life is full and interesting. The book is written as if he were conversing with you over drinks and dinner. I would really like to know this guy. The title itself tells you about the man's humor and romanticism. Not the deepest work you will ever read, but interesting and enjoyable. The way the author has confronted and surmounted the obstacles in his life is inspiring.
on June 16, 2011
Stanley Gordon has written a delightful, funny, thoughtful book on his amazing life. It is a worthwhile "read" whether you are straight or gay. . .