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Strange Brother (Homosexuality) Hardcover – March, 1977

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Strange Brother (Homosexuality)

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Product Details

  • Series: Homosexuality
  • Hardcover: 341 pages
  • Publisher: Ayer Co Pub (March 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0405073909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0405073908
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,358,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By gac1003 on November 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
While enjoying the nightlife of Harlem in the 1920's, June Westbrook, a recent divorcée and newspaper columnist, befriends Mark Thornton, a handsome young man with a secret. As they are leaving one of the clubs, they witness a young, effeminate man named Nelly gets arrested. June pleads with Mark to find out what happened to him.
En route to the courthouse the next day, Mark reads a copy of the Penal Code and learns of the horrible laws society has created against men like Nelly - and men like himself. He attends Nelly's trial at which the young man is sentenced to one year in prison for making advances towards another man and for dressing like a woman. Unnerved by what he has seen and read, he decides to tell June everything, believing she is the one person who can understand him.
Blair Niles' novel, first published in 1931, is a remarkable study gay life during the 1920's.: the powerfully negative views imposed by society, the feeling of loneliness, the secretiveness that gay men and women followed in order to fit in with society. Her main characters are wonderfully drawn: Mark, who is filled with self-hatred because of the way he feels toward other been and because of societal dislike of men and women such as he; and June, who, instead of behind disgusted by what she hears, is compassionate toward Mark, perhaps because she finds a connection between her and Mark. The supporting characters are equally good, ranging from Mark's "mentor" Tom Burden, who first helped Mark to realize and to accept what he is, to Seth Vaughan, the object of June's affection.
It's not a very negative novel at all, most of the time trying to understand and to show a positive light on homosexuality. I found that refreshing for such an early novel, though Mark does come to the typical tragic end for a homosexual character. Definitely a novel worth reading.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "blissengine" on March 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
June, a young divorcee, becomes friends with Mark, and through him she discovers the world of Harlem nightclubs, drag shows, and the shadowy world of homosexuals. Mark and June are rather alike in that they are both looking unsuccessfully for love. Being gay in the late 1920s is terribly difficult, and Mark struggles with self-hatred instilled in him by society. Even though it portrays society's many prejudices and negative expectations for gays at the time, and the standard-for-the-era tragic ending for the homosexual character, "Strange Brother" reaches for compassion, understanding, and acceptance. It does somewhat succeed through the character of June who realizes her commonalities with Mark, and chooses to embrace life fully, even after the death of the object of her own affection (not Mark, by the way). "Strange Brother" is a wonderful story giving readers a glimpse into the early days of moving towards acceptance of gays and lesbians.
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