From Publishers Weekly
With a title that plays on Janet Jackson's epochal 1997 LP The Velvet Rope
, and its anatomy of unmet desire, therapist Downs's book describes the paradigmatic ways in which early childhood molds the future lives of gay men: scorned on the playground, disrespected by Dad, loved only by Mom until their first sex with men. Through this mechanism of rejection, gay men feel unlovable, correspondingly angry and, he says, driven to heights of creativity and "fabulousness"—in addition to shopping addiction and obsessions with fat, muscle and penis size—in a bid to distract themselves from their inner shame. For Downs, the only thing that will bring an end to this spiral of torment is, finally, "validation," which produces "authenticity." Downs is an engaging writer, though prone to repeating the same few points in different words, while his patients, quoted in sidebars, often make witty quips that rival Quentin Crisp for dry, bitter sarcasm. While many gay readers will fail to recognize themselves here, others will find Downs's logic warming and even generous.
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"An immensely accessible, readable self-awareness book that...is definitely not for gay men only." -- Southwest Book Views Autumn, 2005
"There are certainly some readers who will find their own lives reflected in [Downs's patients'] healing." -- Q Syndicate6/20/05
"Will influence the public discourse on gay culture and positively change the lives of gay men who read it." -- Mom Guess What, 11/15/2005