From Publishers Weekly
Derfner (Gay Haiku
) recounts his forays into indignity, knitting and unlikely friendships in this engaging if uneven memoir. Derfner's affectionate portraits of the men he met at a Christian homosexual conversion retreat and his account of his dueling desires—to accept them or shepherd them toward self-acceptance—provide welcome gravity in a book that flirts with more substantive issues of intimacy, identity and masculinity but never fully engages them. The book's conversational tone suffers from a heavy reliance on hyperbole, and the author's carefully cultivated campy persona feels tiresomely derivative and forced. And while Derfner's foibles—losing his aerial cheerleading position to more capable females, making only $5 in his first night as a go-do dancer—are amusing, his kiss-and-tell accounts of hookups and bad sex rarely rise above their own prurience. The most forceful ruminations arise gracefully from unlikely sources: memories of his musical theater education digress into a discussion encompassing concentration camp artwork, ancient Hebrew concepts of creation and the Columbia
space shuttle explosion. Derfner's essays on his struggle to form meaningful relationships benefit more from his emotional intelligence than his wit. (May 13)
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Praise for Swish
"Joel Derfner writes what we all feel but aren't brave enough to say. SWISH is the best book about gay sexuality I've ever read."
- Elton John
is like having a marathon phone call with your gay best friend—assuming your friend is hilarious, brilliant, and completely honest. Which he probably isn’t, so you should read this book.”
—Marc Acito, author of Attack of the Theater People
Praise for Gay Haiku
“Just the author’s foreword in this little pink book is the funniest three pages I’ve read in ages.”
“A world of hilarious juxtapositions, melancholy reflections, and stingingly smart observations.”
—In Los Angeles
“Go out and buy five copies; it will never be returned if you lend it to friends.”