First, folks have been emailing us, saying all sorts of nice things.
- “I picked up the book and devoured it in two sittings. Congratulations… it was great. I would tell you what my favorite story was, but there were several.” — Washington, DC
“I ordered From Boys to Men online and couldn’t put it down. The writing was incredibly sharp, sweet and insightful. I found myself wanting to divvy it up so that I’d have more to read when the weekend was over, but I gave in to temptation and read each and every story — stories about guys who made me feel like my growing-up wasn’t abnormal in the least.” — Los Angeles, CA
- “This mail might come to you as asurprise and the temptation to ignore it as unserious could come into your mind; but please consider it a divine wish and accept it with a deep sense of humility…” — Lagos, Nigeria
We’ve also gotten an actual reviews! It’s from a blog, not the Times, but it’s a start.
“From Boys to Men is a collection of essays about growing up gay by some of my favorite authors like Alexander Cheeand K.M. Soehnlein. I wasn’t familiar with a few of the other authors like Viet Dinh and [Aaron] Hamburger (who is a UM grad — Go Blue!), but I’ve already got a copy of Hamburger’s Faith for Beginners on my nightstand waiting to be read. There are also some great essays by bloggers DogPoet, Joe.My.God, and Hot Toddy…Great book. Go out and buy it right now — at your local independent book store, of course.” — Alan Kiste, of some amusing blog pun
And there are some mentions in the press. First, the awesome one:
“We’ve been enjoying reading the new anthology From Boys to Men – Gay Men Write About Growing Up, edited by Ted Gideonse and Robert Williams (Carroll & Graf, $15.95). Such diverse writers as Alex Chee (Edinburgh), Karl Soehnlein (The World of Normal Boys), Trebor Healy(Through It Came Bright Colors) and Tom Dolby (The Trouble Boy) write about their own adolescent gay epiphanies, and though these vary in period and setting, they share certain leit-motifs that seem like part of a gay coming-out Ur-text: hidden crushes on classmates, playing with the girls, first wet-dream, the sheer terror of getting a woody in the showers with the team after practice.
Whether it’s Soehnlein and girlfriends play-acting Neil and the Dolls, or the title sentiment of Dolby’s “Preppies Are My Weakness,” Out There related to these tales all over the place. In fact, our boy’s own story echoes them. When we were 10, our family pulled up stakes and moved from New York to suburban Maryland. We’ll never forget our first day in the new school, when the question was put at recess: “Let’s see how the new kid can play games!” Uh-oh.
In NY public school, gym period had been devoted to hanging out on the bleachers with chums and smoking “punks.” In leafy MD, physical education was taken seriously, required and rigorous through senior year. We endured the queer hell of team sports, including one, lacrosse, we’d never even heard of! Hell if we knew how to catch a hard little ball in that awful netted pouch on a stick. We had a sadistic gym teacher who turned the lights out during dodgeball and encouraged the class to “aim for the head, gentlemen!” One sweltering softball day whilst we off in our own world out in right field, we fainted dead away, only to be rescued by sexy, half-Cherokee Mr. Bark, who fed us raisins and sympathy until we recovered. Our everlasting love and devotion were ignited. What a queer we were.” — Roberto Friedman, The Bay Area Reporter
Now here’s one we could have done without:
“The editors of From Boys to Men: Gay Men Write About Growing Up promise that their collection of autobiographical vignettes will not be all coming-out stories. With hot writers like Aaron Hamburger, K. M. Soehnlein and Alexander Chee, the book will hopefuly reach beyond the trite.” — Katherine Volin, The Washington Blade
Gee, thanks! She wrote something snarky about the book and didn’t even bother to read it, let alone give us the benefit of the doubt. With friends like these…
But the book seems to doing well: It’s sold out all over the place!