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The Tricky Part: One Boy's Fall from Trespass into Grace [Kindle Edition]

Martin Moran
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Between the ages of twelve and fifteen, Martin Moran had a sexual relationship with an older man, a counselor he'd met at a Catholic boys' camp. Almost thirty years later, at the age of forty-two, he set out to find and face his abuser.

The Tricky Part tells the story of this relationship and its complex effect on the man Moran became. He grew up in an exemplary Irish Catholic family-his great aunt was a cloistered nun; his father, a newspaper reporter. They might have lived in the Denver neighborhood of Virginia Vale, but they belonged to Christ the King, the church and school up the hill. And the lessons Martin absorbed, as a good Catholic boy, were filled with the fraught mysteries of the spirit and the flesh.

Into that world came Bob-a Vietnam vet carving a ranch-camp out of the mountain wilderness, showing the boys under his care how to milk cows, mend barbed wire fence, and raft rivers. He drove a six-wheeled International Harvester truck; he could read the stars like a map. He also noticed a young boy who seemed a little unsure of himself, and he introduced that boy to the secret at the center of bodies.

Told with startling candor and disarming humor, The Tricky Part carries us to the heart of a paradox-that what we think of as damage may be the very thing that gives rise to transformation, even grace.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

To everyone else in the Denver neighborhood where he grew up in the '70s, Moran was a studious Catholic boy. No one knew he carried a secret that would fester for 30 years and lead to extreme anxiety, sexual compulsion and suicide attempts. At age 12 he met Bob, a church camp counselor in his 30s who, for several years, took Moran hiking and camping, and had sex with him. Moran painfully recounts the inner workings of a lonely, insecure adolescent who, out of a desperate need for friendship and acceptance, continued a sexual relationship with a man 20 years his senior. Feeling guilty and shameful regarding the affair and his homosexuality, Moran lived a life in which the erotic and the illicit fused, and compulsive sex became a means of self-punishment. Over the years, Moran, now a writer and actor, managed to glean bits of guidance and self-acceptance from his aunt, a contemplative nun; a New Age music teacher; friends; and eventually, recovery groups and therapy. Moran's Catholic-American gothic differs from other abuse/recovery/coming-out memoirs in that it examines a uniquely gay mind/body split as it subtly reflects on a gay man's spiritual quest for self-determination and love.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Moran, now 42, gives a compelling account of his seduction, at age 12, by a counselor at his Catholic church camp, and their ensuing three-year relationship. He describes his gradual addiction to the sex itself, with no love attached, which he still sees repeated in his brief liaisons in parks and restrooms, despite 15 years with his partner, Henry. He remembers enjoying the concealment from friends and parents of his involvement with Bob, 20 years his senior. He recounts how he descended from "the top of the Catholic heap" in junior high to thoughts of suicide when he felt that his deeds "stuck to [him] like a bad smell." Moran discovers acting, then joins a men's support group for survivors of sexual abuse, and is amazed at "how much energy it takes in the present to continually dismiss the past." His is a poignant and provocative memoir that delves behind the titillating headlines to reveal what's really at stake when children are sexually abused by authority figures. Deborah Donovan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 1055 KB
  • Print Length: 306 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0307276538
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (March 25, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00IW4DNYG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #359,668 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
When I first saw the subject matter of Martin Moran's THE TRICKY PART, I immediately assumed it was going to be RUNNING WITH SCISSORS meets OUR FATHERS. It has elements that would be at home in both books. Like Augusten Burroughs, young Martin is sexually abused and as a child and has no realization of the extent of the hurt and damage the abuse caused, but Martin, unlike Burroughs is from a seemingly normal household situation (his parents do divorce, but the family members remain relatively intact). While his Catholicism plays a major role in the book and he met his abuser at a Catholic summer camp, it is not filled with the grotesque horror by members of the clergy that fills the pages of the David France book. Instead, the reader is taken into the world of Martin Moran and journeys with him through years of pain, depression and confusion but also sees him emerge as a well balanced man who is able to face his abuser and in some ways became a source of healing and forgiveness for a man who robbed young Martin of so much in his younger years.

There are a number of books regarding the damage of sexual abuse available, but Moran's book does add a different perspective. We get to see the various ways he wrestles with what has happened to him as he navigates other challenges in his life. We see him discover his gifts and talents. We are with him as he matures. We are with him when he tries to take his life and when he recognizes his compulsions and the way these compulsions are ruining his life. We see him look at himself honestly and as he becomes aware of his sexuality, the process it will take to divorce his sexual preference as the reason he was abused in the first place.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE PAINFUL HONESTY OF THE TRICKY PART June 7, 2005
Format:Hardcover
Martin Moran's memoir is a briliant set of recollections, woven together by the writer's exquisitely descriptive prose. I've never seen Mr. Moran on stage, but I cannot imagine that he is a more accomplished thespian than he is a gifted writer. The fallout from the abuse he suffered is mind-boggling and instructive. In a day and age where conservative Christians point to predatory "recruitment" to condemn gays, Moran takes pains to point out his sexual orientation had nothing to do with his molestation. Other unhealthy practices were clearly a rsult of his victimization, and it gives great pause when considering the ill effects suffered from those abused in scandals that have captured the attention of the national media...from the Catholic clergy to Michael Jackson.

The accounts of Moran's personal civil war, his efforts to heal through therapy, his long time relationship, and his eventual encounter with his abuser are riveting, realistic, and alive.

Reading this book is uncomfortable and essential, both necessary components if you are to have a true understanding

of the devastating effetcs of non-consensual sex.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Hungry Prey" May 25, 2005
Format:Hardcover
Little Martin lives in Colorado with his family, warm, loving bonds between them. Still there's a hollow at the center of his life. When he meets Bob, a grown man who works as a Catholic youth counselor, his twelve-year old nature reaches out to him and he accepts Bob's sexualy advances without a fight, almost greedily.

He becomes part of Bob's life, a necessary part, or so it seems, but really only an accessory. He meets other boys who are also tangled up sexually with Bob, and perhaps strangest of all, in Wyoming he meets "Karen," the fiancee of Bob, and with Bob's connivance gets to go to bed with her, have sex with them both. "It all strikes me as weirdly inventive, that such a configuration could exist. This is something, I think, he's been angling for all along. Attention from all sides, mastermind in the middle. How did he become this being, this thing--like a daddy longlegs weaving a big, sticky web? And how did we get here, tangled in it, like hungry prey, groping in the dark for food, for escape?"

The "hungry prey" bit is exactly right because as the book reveals, the saddest thing of all is the way Bob uses Martin's need for him, his nascent sexuality, his forbidden feelings. Everyone needs to feel loved, and men like Bob are past masters at manipulating this terrifying need to fit their own fashions. As he grows older and stops seeing Bob he finds himself, eerily enough, replicating Bob's behavior patterns--not molesting kids, but developing an addiction to anonymous sex he can't seem to shake despite the love of a dedicated partner.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On the murder of gay children July 10, 2005
Format:Hardcover
Everything previous reviewers have said about this book is quite true and I won't repeat what they have already told you. I love the book and the child who lives so vividly in it. But I do want to add one further thought.

I myself am both a victim of sexual (and every other kind of) abuse in childhood and gay. MM details very accurately the horrendous damage abuse does to a gay child. I know of no one else who has discussed this in print. Every gay person should read it as should every psychologist and social worker. And every Christian.

Few people seem to notice gay children (and I mean CHILDREN). Yet, in the current scourge of homophobia lifted over this country, it is they on whose little backs the whip most falls. A slaughter of innocents, hundreds of thousands of them. Silent and not so silent voices are being raised everywhere screaming,'They must not be allowed to be, for they are a disease that sickens America and will make us lose the Cold War against the evil communists (or whomever).'

One of the most impressive things about The Tricky Part is that it allows us to meet and love America's gay children in the person of a brave, sweet boy from Denver, Colorado.

But it also demands of us that we find ways to listen to them, come to their aid, and work to stop religious and educational institutions from building yet more subtle and brutal psycho-spiritual concentration camps for them. If you love your country and all its children, I plead with you to read The Tricky Part.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A riveting book
A riveting and very informative book about a young boy trying to deal with the long range effects of a sexual predator on his life. Read more
Published 26 days ago by Joan Torres
3.0 out of 5 stars Ironically named because the book skips the most important part
The tricky part provides a good overview of the childhood of the author why he was the way he was and why he was probably targeted by the person that abused him over a sustained... Read more
Published 5 months ago by General Pete
5.0 out of 5 stars The endless half-life of sexual abuse
Children (both Gay and "straight" both male and female are sexually molested), All too often they are taking advantage of by adults who were themselves sexually molested... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Janet Mackie
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating First Half, Disappointing Second Half
This book is divided into two parts: "Falling" is about a young boys first physical experiences, which he later calls molestation; "Waking" is what happens to him... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Ralph Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enlightening
First of all let me just say that I found this book very readable and the author has a very easy style - very much as though he is talking to you. Read more
Published 8 months ago by JOSEPH OLIVER
5.0 out of 5 stars A story written with integrity
A brave and beautiful journey towards self acceptance. An important read for anyone interested in understanding sexual abuse and the process of healing. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Revi l
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Story on a Difficult to Discuss Real Life Experience!
It tackles sexual abuse head-on. It displays candor, bewilderment, understanding of self and finally, forgiveness in a unique and very personal way. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Bruce Lauton
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Memoir
It happens more often then we'd like to imagine and it's a parents night-mare, but many young boys fall prety to older men and it sticks! Read more
Published 22 months ago by Sham
5.0 out of 5 stars good books
i have really enjoyed the book it has real touched my heart.and the guy in the book shows that you can over come S.A. when you grow-up...
Published on June 4, 2012 by john
5.0 out of 5 stars A Treasure. . .just when I thought I had covered all the bases
As one who has made the cross over to the other side of childhood sexual abuse I thought I had all the bases covered through 1-1 therapy, groups and reading. Read more
Published on January 6, 2012 by CGSansone
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