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Billy's Boy Paperback – November 1, 1998
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From Library Journal
Raised alone by his mother, 13-year-old narrator William knows that his father is dead and considers his Mom and Aunt Marion his only family. But when Mom comes out as a lesbian and William has a dream that his father is alive, he is forced to rethink things. He begins by searching for his father, also discovering a new, communal sense of family in which role models are not necessarily biological parents. Teak enters William's household rejected and beaten up by his own family because he is gay. And Shawn, a special friend of William, runs away from his fundamentalist Christian parents, disguising himself as a girl to evade private investigators. William's search is ultimately for himself, and it is stark and troubling. Warren's (Harlan's Race, Wildcat, 1994) ability to understand this character and tell his story in the lingo of 1990s youth is remarkable. Highly recommended for all fiction collections.?Tom Nielsen, Pat Parker-Vito Russo Lib., New York
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Twelve-year-old William Heden is at the center of Patricia Nell Warren's latest novel about the struggles facing homosexuals in homophobic America. A sequel to her l974 classic, The Front Runner, and to 1994's Harlan s Race, the book stands alone and can be read without knowledge of Warren's previous stories. Billy's Boy follows adolescent William as he explores his family history and delves into the role anti-gay attitudes have played on the people he lives with. A number of socially relevant themes emerge: the role of the Christian right-wing in forming homophobic attitudes; coming out to friends and family; the role of educational institutions in fostering tolerance for different types of students; and the necessity of creating alternative families for those whose biological kin have rejected them. While Warren's writing is often clunky, and her messages about acceptance, heterosexism and the sexual exploration of young teens are heavy-handed, a wide-range of well-developed characters make the book highly absorbing. In addition, Warren's tremendous empathy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered youth - and her obvious experience in working with them - lends both nuance and authenticity to the book's dialogue. William's struggle to understand his own sexual desire as he comes of age will intrigue adolescents as well as adults and should be read by anyone concerned about the pressures facing queer kids as they navigate life in the late 1990's. -- From Independent Publisher --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.