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The Value of X Hardcover – January 1, 2003

31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

New Orleans native Brite has a number of horror novels to her credit and is a minor cult figure in goth kid circles (she is also the author of Courtney Love: The Real Story). Her latest novel is a rose-tinted gay coming-of-age story set on the mean streets of New Orleans' rundown Lower Ninth Ward. The son of hardworking blue-collar Catholic parents, 16-year-old Gary Stubbs is growing increasingly troubled by his sexual feelings for John Rickey, his best friend since childhood. Rickey, living with his divorced mom, takes the realization that he himself is gay in stride, but he is afraid his feelings are not reciprocated by Gary... Brite's novel is clumsy feel-good pulp, but its artless sweetness is a welcome respite from more jaded gay genre fiction.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In a change of pace, cult horror author Brite (Exquisite Corpse) tells the story of Ricky and Gary, who as best friends coming of age in 1990 New Orleans discover a mutual attraction. Ricky, who aspires to become a chef, secures them both occasional jobs in a diner so that he can indulge his passion for cooking and they can spend time together. Life is complete until their parents discover their true relationship and try to separate them by sending Ricky to a culinary institute in New York. The ensuing hardships (will their relationship survive the separation?) are fairly predictable and frankly not very interesting. Brite offers an all too brief look at the cooking culture-the most interesting parts of the story have to do with the behind-the-scenes world of restaurants-but, unfortunately, these glimpses only scratch the surface. Of interest mainly to adolescent audiences and Brite fans, this book is recommended for large public libraries only.
Caroline Mann, Univ. of Portland Lib., ME
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Subterranean Press; Signed edition (January 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931081670
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931081672
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,460,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm the author of eight novels, three short story collections, two nonfiction books, and some miscellanea. My earlier books -- LOST SOULS, DRAWING BLOOD, WORMWOOD, EXQUISITE CORPSE, THE LAZARUS HEART, ARE YOU LOATHSOME TONIGHT? (a.k.a. SELF-MADE MAN) -- tend toward the twisted, horrific, and frequently erotic. I still have a definite interest in this sort of thing, but my writing doesn't reflect it as much these days. My recent books -- THE VALUE OF X, THE DEVIL YOU KNOW, LIQUOR, PRIME, and the forthcoming SOUL KITCHEN -- all have to do (in varying degrees) with a couple of young New Orleans chefs named Rickey and G-man, their families, and their restaurant, Liquor. I've been married to a chef for 16 years now and he's still bringing me new stories. We lost our home in Hurricane Katrina, but we are back in New Orleans and doing our best to help rebuild the city. I'll note new books, anthology appearances and such here, but to read my day-to-day blog, please visit

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mitch Obrecht on April 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The first PZB tale I read was "Lost Souls", over a decade ago. In the time since then, she has been called a "Queen of Vampire Erotica", which is not fair, as only one of her ten original books even has vampires in it. She has dealt with vampires, zombies, spooky cats, the Beatles, and a coroner alter-ego named Dr. Brite.
PZB has been one of my favorite writers since the first time I read Lost Souls back in the early 90s. Each volume she releases, be it a simple chapbook or a 300 page novel, shows growth and more depth.
In Value of X, PZB continues her departure away from the horror tales of her early career. X is the story of (John) Rickey, and (Gary) G-Man Stubbs, two residents of New Orleans, and best friends since the fourth grade.
Rickey and Gary are not just best friends. They are gay and in love with each other, only they don't realize it. The secret each holds - that he is in love with the other - is complicated by the fact that all of their other friends spout homophobic slurs on a daily basis, and neither knows the other is gay.
After they finally figure it out, they become inseperable ... much to the annoyance of Rickey's mother and Gary's parents. A plan is hatched to drive them apart, by sending one of them across the country, while the other must stay in New Orleans, both missing each other terribly and wondering if they will ever see each other again.
This book is part one of a trilogy, which includes Value of X, Liquor, and The Big D. Liquor, the second book in the series, was actually written first. Absolutely typical of what I've come to expect from Poppy.
5 stars, and well worth your time. Brilliantly written and engaging, these characters will stay with you for a long time to come.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Ghary Kirk on October 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The reader below, "Faye," couldn't be further off the mark when she says Poppy Brite has lost her voice. Actually, the personal remarks about "watch her chase her tail" and alienating her fans make me think Faye is probably one of the vocal minority of "fans" Poppy has nuked in her online blog for whining about the fact that she doesn't write about vampires anymore, but no matter. It was never the "adjectives and adverbs" that made Brite's voice the special thing it was, and her voice and unshakable sense of her characters shine more brightly than ever in the Liquor series, to which "The Value of X" is a sort of pre-sequel. "The Value of X" isn't quite as good as "Liquor" or "Prime," but it's a mere amusebouche while the latter books are masterful entrees. I can't wait for the next book in the series, "Soul Kitchen." Personal taste is personal taste, but anyone who can't see that "The Value of X" and the books following it are a giant step up from "Lost Souls" et al simply doesn't know anything about good writing. Bring on "Soul Kitchen" Poppy - your REAL fans are waiting eagerly, not at all alienated by the fact that you speak your mind about the less enlightened ones!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Kieri VINE VOICE on October 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Poppy Z. Brite has been a cult horror phenomenon for quite a while, and has been a major voice for all the little gothlings out there. But even the Brite One gets tired of purple proze, I guess. So she gives us this gem!
I don't want to spoil too much of the plot for anyone, so I will leave my review at this: Poppy's writing style has CHANGES. This is no lush, florid tome where you read endless descriptions of blood in the moonlight and the lynx-green of a serial killer's eyes. No, here you will simply meet two nice young guys (who are, indeed, in a relationship--Poppy hasn't changed THAT much) who live in a rather slummy section of New Orleans and who dream of being chefs.
(Cue lush, florid descriptions of food. I swear, you'll gain a couple pounds just reading this book.)
There is no supernatural horror here...there is only the much more realistic horror of a young couple in love being separated by the parents who only want to "do the right thing." The book follows their tenative courtship, their early, rocky relationship, their time working in restaurants in the city, and their separation. It's a great little love story, and a much more accurate portrayal of New Orleans than one would find in, say, an Anne Rice book.
For anyone else who liked this, Subterranean Press is also publishing a chapbook of Poppy's, entitled "The Feast of St. Rosalie," also about the Stubbs family. Her recent short-story book, The Devil You Know," also features a few stories about Gary and Rickey (as well as the illustrious Dr. Brite, for anyone who read "Are You Loathesome Tonight?"). Forthcoming in 2004 is another story about these characters, entitled "Liquor."
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Baldrick on March 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
"The Value of X" is a lovely, sweet-natured tale that precedes Brite's longer, more widely available novels "Liquor" and "Prime," exploring characters Rickey and G-Man's early relationship and how they began cooking in restaurants. You need not have read it to enjoy the later novels, but it will add an extra dimension to your enjoyment of them. While its tone is different from the other two, Brite's affection for these likeable characters (and their families) is wonderfully evident in everything she has written about them.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Maureen M. McCarty on September 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Poppy is a talented writer who is not limited to one genre.
Everyone grows and changes, and Poppy Z. Brite and her writing are no exception. If the things you loved about Poppy's previous books were the believeable settings, the richly painted characters that made you care about them, and the suspense of what comes next, then you'll likely enjoy "The Value of X". The only slicing and dicing done here are in the kitchen, but even the peripheral characters are interesting enough to make you want to get to know them better. The issues that crop up in the boys relationship could apply to *any* relationship - gay, straight, young or old. I was disappointed only when the story ended, as I wanted to find out what happens next for them. For that, I have to wait for "Liquor" to come out in 2004, though there is a short story in "The Devil You Know" which is out now. If all you want is dark gothy horror, then this gem is not for you. If your horizons are broader than that, make sure you get this before it's gone.
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