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The Tricky Part: One Boy's Fall from Trespass into Grace Hardcover – June 15, 2005

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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.
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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

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press; First Edition edition (June 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807072621
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807072622
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #922,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Kearney VINE VOICE on September 18, 2005
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 By Thomas Adrahtas on 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 By Kevin Killian HALL OF FAME on 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 By William H. C. Congdon on 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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