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Band Fags!

4.5 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0758222657
ISBN-10: 0758222653
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Polito captures perfectly the acne and the angst of teen boys...with the agonies of raging hormones, lunchroom cliques...cute boys who keep their distance, and the heartbreak of adoring a female TV soap star too much." --Book Marks, Richard Labonte

"Band Fags!" is one of those rare books you may want to read not once but, like, totally a bijillion times. --H/X Magazine

Band Fags! explores the difficulties of growing up gay in the 1980s, all told with a sense of humor and affection for its characters. As you would expect from a playwright, Band Fags! shines with its clever dialogue and witty comments. --AfterElton

"If the words Dallas, Dynasty and the Go-Go's resonate with you, get this book." --IN Los Angeles

"The book jacket alone is enough to make anyone who loves a man in a white uniform with red trim quiver with glee..." --The Advocate

From the Author

If you enjoyed Band Fags! be sure to check out the official sequel "A Christmas to Remember" as featured in the collection Remembering Christmas.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington (June 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0758222653
  • ISBN-13: 978-0758222657
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,639,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James Hiller VINE VOICE on July 4, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For those of us Gen Xer's, the 80's, a much maligned area, played a significant role in our development ... Reagan, AIDS, Madonna, Dallas, and the premiere of MTV. It's a wonder any of us survived this decade, much less thrived in it. But somehow we did, such as the characters did in Frank Polito's new book, the appropriately titled "Band Fags".

Polito takes us on a journey in what appears to be a semi-autobiographical journey through his adolescence in the Detroit suburbs. He writes about Jack, a top-notch student, lead trumpet player, and questioning homosexual, and a bevy of friends that accompany Jack through his school years. His first and foremost friend is Brad, whom he meets almost casually, but then develops a quickly close relationship that somehow only teens seem to be able to pull off. Brad, discovering his sexuality and accepting it quickly , poses an unspoken threat to Jack, who seems to exhibit signs of "gayness" but is ultimately unsure of his path. The duo form an interesting pair, and it's their story that really drives you through the book.

True to high school, Polito throws in a bevy of friends, characters that sometimes get confused, despite his attempt to clarify them through Jack reminding you of who was who. Soon, however, the important ones bubble to the surface, as Jack goes through different events that shape his social standing with the groups. As Jack reunites with a former best friend Joey, and develops a crush on him, the "am I" or "am I not?" question rears its ugly head in an all too familiar and painful way. Ditto with another guy he develops a crush on, Tom. How many of us developing homosexuals fell in love with our best friends who were straight? The pain was intense, and captured well by Polito.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great coming of age book. The authors writing style is addictive really keeps you wanting to read it. I'm was a band geek and could identify with parts of it.

The homosexuality issue is present in the book but it is there in such a way that it isn't some erotica book, but rather a true glimpse into the main characters life growing up in the Detroit area in the 80s.

I can tell the author is intimately knowledgeable about the Detroit area, everything he mentions is a real place on the map. You can follow along with it on google maps.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book wasn't exactly what I expected. I had just finished reading Geography Club, which was a very fast read, and I was looking for more LGBT coming-of-age high school stories. This novel takes place over 6 years, following the protagonist from middle school to high school. Throughout the book, the reader is given an up close and personal view of the protagonist's thoughts and opinions. The characters were very well written. Each character felt like a real person. I liked how the characters changed throughout the 6 years, as well. There were so many characters in this book, too, that it felt like a real person was telling you his life story. When some characters were brought up later in the book I had to think back about what they had done in past years.

At first, this book is overwhelming and slightly off putting because of the vast amount of information, but once I got into it and knew the characters I was hooked. Some of the scenes have so much raw emotion. The inner thoughts of the protagonist really add to the realness of these scenes.

There are a lot of 80's pop culture references. I was born in 1988. The protagonist graduates high school in 1988. So, I didn't know some of the references. But, I googled a lot of them to understand what the characters were talking about and it really added to the story. I liked the way they were used. It made the book feel even more autobiographical. One reference I didn't get was the use of "dah-dah, dah-dah". At one point I thought it might be the Jaws song, but I am still unsure. I'm looking forward to reading Polito's Lost in the 90's because I won't need as much google assistance.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I want to read Drama Queers! eventually, but I think I'll have to be in the right mood for it. This is an extensive novel, that is definitely worth a read. If you were in high school in the late 80's, you will probably enjoy this book even more. I give it a 4/5.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Band Fags! (and actually being a Band Fag doesn't mean you are gay, it means you are one of those kids who tags along with all the other kids in the high school band, and usually they are not exactly the most popular kids in the school...) is probably the first "real" coming of age novel I have read; it's centred around Brad and Jack, band fags and best friends all though-out high school, and even if the external reader can easily see that both of them are gay, they don't know, or at least Jack doesn't know or better doesn't want to know.

The novel is a long run along with Brad and Jack in the middle of the '80, with all the icons of that time, soap-operas, movies, music and glossy magazines. It was somewhat a fake world, but to the eyes of young Jack that was the real thing. Jack who is in love with a soap-opera soubrette, an imaginary girlfriend he considers real and for this reason tries to replace in his real life with similar look-alikes. Jack who always played girl games, who has always preferred to tag along his girl best friends and who, when Brad comes into the picture, finds finally the perfect best friend: Brad likes soap-operas and fashion, and Brad understands Jack perfectly.

But while Jack growing up is trying to find the perfect girlfriend, all the time trying also to hide his secret fantasies for various young and hot same age boys, Brad never once shows any real interest for girls; again there is an obvious reason, and again it's not that Brad is trying to hide it, by Jack doesn't want to know, doesn't want to see. When finally Brad finds the courage to "come out" (i.e.
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