Customer Reviews

55
4.6 out of 5 stars
What They Always Tell Us
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:$7.54 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2008
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Wish this book had been around when I was a kid. Believable characters in real life situations. The author does not speak down to his target audience. He speaks to them on their level, using language that they would use, not the watered-down, sugar-sweet language that I remember reading. I also find it amazing how even secondary characters are so multidimensional. Cannot recommend this book enough, to people of all ages.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
There is something very comforting about this book. Sitting down and reading it took me back to my own teenage years and the way with which Wilson captures that familiarity is very cool. I didn't grow up anywhere near Alabama and yet what these characters go through rang very true to me. Everything from the relationship between the two brothers to the storyline with the neighbor's kid. Very simply written and yet smart and complex. The fact that both the writer's sense of humor and connection to the material comes across so easily is only one of many great aspects about this book. I was very pleased.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Martin Wilson crafts a wonderful tale of teenage friendship, troubles & love (both familial & otherwise) among 4 boys that are growing up in suburban Alabama. "What They Always Tell Us" masterfully portrays today's teenage voice in a way to which almost anyone can relate. Much like an Altman film, Wilson creates characters that have their own disparate stories & then come together in a not unremarkable way. The writing style is also reminiscent of Louis de Bernières. Though the subject matter may rarely veer into the risque, it is never sensational nor is it used for anything other than logical plot advancement. (It is useful to keep in mind that Holden Caulfield's language was a bit racy, too.) Wilson's writing is ebullient without being pedantic, a rare trait in first-time authors. I would without reservation recommend this book for any person that enjoys a well-written, smart & relateable novel that cleverly and successfully explores teenage life.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This was a wonderful book. I complement the author for writing about gay boys who are not drama queens, experienced, or overly sex motivated. I seem to remember taking uncertain steps, halting attemps, unsure about my feelings. I loved the boys who were stars of this drama and I really hated for the book to end.

For a change, it depicted the parents and as loving and supportive. I liked the fact that Alex was not totally narcisistic and able to show compassion for others who needed friends. It showed a gay boy who was a whole human being.

I really hope that librarys will put this book on their shelves. I am leaving mine used copy at the teen center in my small town.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
What They Always Tell Us, by Martin Wilson is honestly one of the best books I have ever read, and I've read alot. One customer stated that the Character of "James" get's lost in the book. I seriously don't see this, James' character has so much to do with this book. His progression throughout the novel is quite impressive, and his last chapter will leave everyone in tears. This book really isn't as much about homosexuality as it is about something that finally makes Alex happy. "What if what they always tell us is wrong?" Anyone will re-examine what they thought they knew about closeted teenagers after this read, as I did and I am recommending this book to as many of my good friends as I can.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Pretty nice book easy to read keeping you glued at the pages.
The story it's more about brotherhood and growing up than on gay themes. However, the discovery of own sexuality and a glimpse at what being gay means for teenagers in high school is well filled in into the story. Coming out is actually left out since the gay character do not end up doing it, but this is balanced by a nice viewpoint of "coming of age" process. Discovering to be gay and accepting yourself is pointed out (even if not in deep) as a basic step during your coming of age journey and the impact that such thing may have on your life is also taken in consideration.
Concluding a book I have enjoyed reading and that I definitely suggest.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
While I can agree that this book relates incredibly to the strength of brotherhood as well as acknowledging distinct homosocial roles between men, I really think the true power of this novel can be seen in the psychological development of Alex as both a literary character and a young man. I think we can all see a little bit of both Alex and James in ourselves: the desire to always seek out perfection in both ourselves and those around us and the devastating blow we must face when these expectations are shattered due to the limitations of humanity.

More importantly though, I feel that this book is particularly moving due to how much energy it addresses to the turmoil felt not only by teenagers but also to those within the LGBT community. Alex's pain and confusion is shared with the readers since we are bonded with him in the quest for his self-discovery and psychological development. The character never makes the giant leap of discovery to "I'm gay!" which is quite revolutionary within the young adult queer literature movement. We are often too bombarded with pressure to relate gay characters to a specific role of homosexuality that we forget that, at least in this case, the character is still just a young man going through personal traumas in addition to sexual discovery. While I cannot say this discovery is similar to the traditional adolescent sexual awakening (as seen in his actions before the start of the novel), I will admit that Wilson cleverly represents this awakening of a person that borders on Chopin.

Regardless, without this direct personal inquiry, the reader is left with the almost devout confusion experienced by Alex since the passages are saturated with sensual information that transcends the sexual act between two people and shapes it into a metaphysical representation of self-discovery. Reading this novel as one that matches the psychological prowess of the "greats" in Postmodernist literature, I would highly recommend this book to any and will be shocked and dismayed if its beauty is not truly appreciated in the years to come.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
We all have read stories about two siblings who at first get along and then quickly drift apart... with their outcome up to the author. WHAT THEY ALWAYS TELL US has that similar outline; however, Martin Wilson puts his own spin on it and creates a novel more real and even more original than anything else on the shelf currently.

We are introduced to two brothers. First there is James, the older brother who excels in all areas, from academics to athletics. Then there is Alex, who is now considered to be the outsider. Because of an attempted suicide at a party, not only did his friends abandon him but also his brother.

With this incident, James drifts apart from Alex, unsure of what his brother has become. As their life continues, two unlikely people bring them closer together.

First is Henry, the boy next door, who is only ten but has family issues of his own as both parents are hardly there for him. For some odd reason, Alex is drawn to him, wanting to be a guardian toward Henry.

Then there is Nathen, James' friend who notices Alex's interest and potential in running. At first just helping him out, Nathen's bond with Alex turns into something that not even James could have guessed at.

WHAT THEY ALWAYS TELL US is full of heartwarming and breakout scenes that leaves the reader saying one thing: WOW! Certain scenes, such as when Alex confesses his actions and the reconciliation between the brothers, deserve an Oscar for such amazing writing. Martin Wilson develops all four characters in a way that is satisfying, and the chemistry between each of them is so heartfelt.

Words just can't describe how powerful of a read WHAT THEY ALWAYS TELL US is. The only advice I can give you is to pick up the novel and read it (just make sure you have a box of tissues right next to you and an entire free day, because you are not going to want to put this novel down once you start!).

Reviewed by: Randstostipher "tallnlankyrn" Nguyen
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This book starts a bit slow. For those looking for a fast start, this book may not be for you.
And it is very light on sex, so if you are looking for adult gay fiction, this book may not be for you.

That said, this book does well with an old theme, coming of age for a gay teen. The character development is good. And the characters have flaws and develop as the
book progresses. The setting is Alabama, and the primary characters are two brothers, one straight and one gay. But at the start of the book the gay brother is deeply in the closet.
Unlike a lot of gay fiction, the story is about the straight brother as much as the gay one.

The dynamic of their relationship is a major theme to the story.

The book did not get the highest rating because it does have some flaws. One does not "discover" that one is gay or has feelings for other guys in high school. Kids have sexual thoughts before that time. And the straight brother's apathy towards his younger brother at times was hard to reconcile with his underlying emotions. I found it hard to believe the two boys would not have had a heart to heart talk before they drifted so far apart.

But those are flaws that can be overlooked because the story is well told once you get past the slow start.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Martin Wilson's debut novel works on so many levels: It's a heartwarming coming-of-age story that deals honestly with social issues; a sports novel that's also about love & family; a gay love story that tells a universal tale about longing & belonging; a YA novel that isn't afraid to allow its young characters to behave (and speak!) authentically; and a lovely regional story that paints, in a way that's both affectionate & true, a picture of life in a southern town. This book is a good thing for YA fiction writers & readers everywhere; Wilson shows us that it's possible to deal with issues like sexuality or suicide AND tell a great tale AND write well. The characters' speech patterns are very genuine, which may put some delicate readers off, but it's nothing teenagers don't hear every day of their lives. I have no qualms about my 14-year-old son reading this book. I look forward to more from this talented new writer.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed
Peter
Peter by Kate Walker (Paperback - April 30, 2001)
$7.53

Don't Let Me Go
Don't Let Me Go by J. H. Trumble (Paperback - January 1, 2012)
$12.64

The Vast Fields of Ordinary
The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd (Paperback - March 17, 2011)
$7.69
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.