Posts tagged Modern Historical
“Well, today, . . .” Taylor felt himself trembling, his mind spinning. I shouldn’t tell them—It’s too late—I can’t not tell them now. So he continued, “this very day, I signed papers that gave me a . . .” He paused momentarily for dramatic effect. “Da, da, da, da . . . a full scholarship to Carolina!”
It was clear from the blurb that Finding Pluck would be unlike any book I’ve previously picked up, and the premise intrigued me. I’ve read many stories, and will doubtless read many more, where a young man feels forced to hide his homosexuality. This is the first novel I’ve come across, however, which turns this concept on its head, featuring a straight hero who becomes embroiled in the pretence of being gay. The author combines this with witchcraft, a restless ghost and the interweaving of past and present to create something wholly unique.
It is 1995 in North Carolina and Taylor Hanes is struggling to escape his small-minded dying textile town. He finds his ticket out by being awarded a full-ride gay and lesbian equality scholarship to a state university. Problem is, he isn’t gay. He lied on the application. Abruptly, he is shocked to be faced with hometown intolerance, but worse yet, he awakens the wrath of the long dead scholarship’s benefactor.
I’ve finally made it to fifth period after surviving a typically boring morning and whatever it was they served for lunch today — they called it spaghetti, but I swear it was wiggling.
Growing up is never easy, but growing up gay in a small-minded town towards the end of the 1970s is a potential minefield of missteps and unwanted attention. Huston Piner does a great job cataloguing the ups and downs of high school as experienced by Randy Clark, a tenth grader with a tendency to overdramatize and the knack for becoming entangled in complex situations. The narrative takes the reader on a journey of friendship, misunderstandings and falling in love, all told with authenticity and a healthy dose of humor.
Sixteen-year-old Randy Clark just looked in the mirror and discovered he’s gay. Now all he needs is a boyfriend. That should be easy enough, right? Unfortunately, Randy has a knack for being attracted to the wrong guys, like the one who hasn’t spoken to him since he told him he had pretty eyes. Then there’s that locker room jock that puts him down every day. And new student Kerry Sawyer would be perfect – except for that girlfriend he left behind back home.
On my seventh birthday, my parents gave me a Dr. Seuss book, The Cat in the Hat.
I still have the book; it rests on the shelf above my desk, along with other Seuss works I’ve collected. Inside The Cat in the Hat’s cover, my mother wrote an inscription, using her precise penmanship.
This was my first foray into the work of Jere’ M. Fishback, but I’m sure it won’t be my last. What a compelling read this turned out to be, part coming-of-age tale, part romance. I also completely fell in love with the protagonist. Despite his flaws, his tendency to sleep around and give his heart away too easily, Andy won me over from the outset. He stands up for his ideals with a strength even he didn’t realize he possessed, and this, coupled with a genuine kindness, had me rooting for him to find the happiness he deserved.
It’s 1975, and Anita Bryant’s homophobic “Save Our Children” crusade rages through Florida. When Andy Hunsinger, a closeted gay college student, joins in a demonstration protesting Bryant’s appearance in Tallahassee, his straight boy image is shattered when he’s “outed” by a TV news reporter. In the months following, Andy discovers just what it means to be an openly gay in a society that condemns love between two men. Can Andy’s friendship with Travis, a devout Christian who’s fighting his own sexual urges, develop into something deeper?