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The Front Runner: A Novel Paperback – June 1, 1996
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About the Author
Patricia Nell Warren is the landmark author of some of the most popular gay novels of all time. Each of her books has been a milestone in Americas understanding and acceptance of GBLT themes. Her most beloved work, The Front Runner, has sold an estimated ten million copies in ten languages. The first modern story about gay love to become an international bestseller, Warrens celebrated saga of an ex-Marine track coach and his Olympics-bound athlete has engaged and inspired both gay and mainstream readers for over a quarter of a century. Warrens novels have also sold heavily to libraries and are used in numerous college courses. Wildcat Press is Ms. Warrens exclusive imprint, offering some of the best in enduring gay literature. Established in 1993, the dynamic independent publisher has released both past and present bestsellers, winning it critical acclaim. Current titles include, The Front Runner, Billys Boy, Harlans Race, The Fancy Dancer, The Beauty Queen, One Is The Sun, and The Wild Man. Dedicated to furthering free speech, Wildcat Press has been one of the plaintiffs for the ACLU in several recent landmark lawsuits, two of which went to the United States Supreme Court. Wildcat maintains that we are all one community regardless of race, creed, or sexual orientation, and that tolerance brings understanding and acceptance.
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Top Customer Reviews
There's another thing that there's a relationship with a big age difference. It's because of a phenomenon that was more true in gay land in the 70's and is changing now. Gay relationships often spanned years because older partners were role models and mentors as well as lovers. When a young gay guy can't come out of the closet, can't find support in parents, older relatives, institutions where he can't express himself, his relationship partners will sometimes have a component of role-modeling and mentorship so the partners will often be older. That's the pleasant version that could really be genuinely positive for everyone concerned. Sometimes the difference in age can be about taking advantage but it really doesn't always have to be and certainly wasn't back then.
The book feels, long like the author felt duty-bound to get down every little thing her friends told her.
I saw Harlan Brown evolve from an uptight, ex-Marine Jock who hated women, to a man who could at last appreciate Betsy, who carried Billy's child for them. He actually grew and evolved...just like many of us have had to. You see him warm and in a way blossom with the love Billy and he have for one another, as well as the support of the founder of the college and other straight allies. And if people think that only gay men don't like women...well, it goes the other way as well. There are lesbians who hate men (in many cases for valid reasons). Remember, he got treated pretty rottenly by his ex-wife, who even turned his sons against him. And in that era, there was (and I suspect there still is) in some quarters,hyper-macho men who really do not like anything remotely feminine. I've known a few but never met one, though, who truly HATED women.
I have discussed the book with gay friends and they seem to think that Patricia Nell Warren understands gay men quite well. As for the datedness of the book, it was written in the late 70s and takes place just a few years earlier, so of course it feels "dated". I lived through that time and thought she did a great job of capturing gay life. I remember the big clubs and dance bars and well, the Continental Baths were legendary. This was not all of gay culture in the 70s but it was a lot of it. AIDS has changed so much...life is different now. My life is different...came out and married in Canada. When I reread the wedding scene, it reminded me of my own wedding, but of course in the changed world of 2007. I suggest this book as a great love story and a peek into what those heady years following Stonewall were like--so much hope, so much struggle.
All in all, I recommend this book.