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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Beyond the Wind by Rob N. Hood 
25th-Feb-2006 05:30 pm
What IS it with these gay novels for teens? First Boy Meets Boy and now this sorry excuse for printed matter. Why are they so damn bad? If it were up to me, teens would never even TOUCH these books, let alone read them.

Hood, Rob N. Beyond the Wind. Binghamton: Southern Tier Editions, 2004.
Summary: Chris's friend and lover Kyle is outed in school, and, after pressured by peers and family, Kyle runs away to Omaha. There, he whores himself out for a few weeks and, even worse, ends up embroiled in the blackmail of a conservative senator that turns unexpectedly into an assassination. Chris and his friends now the murderer on tape--and evidence of the senator's dastardly deal with the porn industry--and everyone wants that video. They eventually do the right thing and give the tape up to the proper authorities. Chris ends up coming out to his family, and Kyle is diagnosed with HIV.
Comments: How do people get this sort of shit published, anyway? Never mind that the thriller aspects of this novel could use some serious help...the characters are on their own little pulpits half the time--we've got a genuine example of activist Christian propaganda on our hands. I'm oh SO glad that God loves homosexuals but still hates those who commit suicide and it's wrong to call someone a "fag" but "fat fart" is a-oh-kay, but let's face it: Your religious interpretation is just as (in)valid as theirs, and if you look to God or the Bible for proof that you're right, then all you're proving is that you're both morons equally. This sort of logic doesn't win. He also glosses over the multi-factor origins of complex human behaviors with the platitude that homosexuality is genetic destiny when there is NO compelling evidence of that. Someone tries to debate "nature vs. nurture" with me one more time, and I scream. No such dichotomy exists. Hood cheerfully denounces the faithless and the promiscuous equally, all while saying that HIV doesn't discriminate. (So nice of you to fail to mention that A) AIDS actually not as contagious a virus as, say, hepatitis, or B) That a sexually-active lifestyle puts gay men more than heterosexuals or lesbians (in that order) at risk for infection.) Anyway, if you wanted to drive home the point that AIDS doesn't discriminate, you would've given your beloved, God-fearing protagonist HIV. Apparently, God rewards the faithful--and un-slutty--with small blessings. What bullshit. Books like this make me fiddle with my match collection contemplatively.
Notes: hardcover, exclusive BCE; trade paperback edition available
Rating: 2/10 - Give this young adult book to a teen, and you'll just screw him up worse.
26th-Feb-2006 12:08 am (UTC)
Do all these things end with someone getting HIV??
26th-Feb-2006 12:14 am (UTC)
Define "things." ^^;;;
26th-Feb-2006 12:39 am (UTC)

The gay novels you read.. There always seems to be HIV or some other tragedy ^_^;;
26th-Feb-2006 12:46 am (UTC)
*snarky moment* Because AIDS gave contemporary gay male writers something to write about, naturally. I know it sounds mean, but there's something to it...

The virus and all the accompanying baggage is also an important aspect of gay culture/community/"history" as well.
26th-Feb-2006 12:58 am (UTC)
Does anyone do novels with gay characters, rather than gay novels? ^^
26th-Feb-2006 03:26 am (UTC)
straight authors?
26th-Feb-2006 04:05 am (UTC)
Define "anyone." A night for vague, rhetorical questions, eh? :P
26th-Feb-2006 11:30 am (UTC)
Writers? Gay writers? ^^;; I was thinking of some of the short stories in the horror collection....
26th-Feb-2006 01:01 pm (UTC)
I was thinking of some of the short stories in the horror collection....

Hmm. What do you mean?

I guess it depends upon how you define "gay novels." Some people define it by the sexual orientation of the author, though I prefer to define it by theme and subject matter. For example, Michael Cunningham's The Hours has gay and lesbian characters, and the author himself is gay, but it is not a prototypical "gay novel" thematically.
26th-Feb-2006 01:16 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I was thinking I might be splitting hairs.. Stories not specifically about the trials and tribulations of being gay, but the trials and tribulations of life and the characters happen to be gay.. Like with some I read, especially by female authors it seems, you could almost swap out the gay/lesbian couple with a straight couple and the issues involved in the relationship wouldn't really change...
26th-Feb-2006 01:24 pm (UTC)
Like with some I read, especially by female authors it seems, you could almost swap out the gay/lesbian couple with a straight couple and the issues involved in the relationship wouldn't really change...

I've seen a few novels with gay protagonists written by women, and some of them I would call gay fiction, and some I would not. The ones that fall into the latter category often do because the author fails to achieve a convincing realism. Poppy Z. Brite's two New Orleans chefs behave like stereotypical lesbians, not stereotypical young gay men--starting with total monogamy, complete inexperience with other men, and going without sex for weeks on end. I think the average gay man has, like, a dozen sexual partners in his lifetime, with a large proportion citing more than a hundred or even a thousand. Men. *shakes head in amusement*
26th-Feb-2006 03:10 am (UTC)
I've gone cross-eyed.
26th-Feb-2006 03:26 am (UTC)
rob n. hood? holy FUCK. and his not-so-merry men...*facepaws*
26th-Feb-2006 04:04 am (UTC)
Have you had a close encounter with him or something? ^^;
26th-Feb-2006 04:23 am (UTC)
no, it's just an awful pun. of all the noms de plume anyone ever came up with...
26th-Feb-2006 04:30 am (UTC)
Ah, okay, I was gonna say...!

Yeah, just one more thing to deride about this book. I guess being a crisis counselor in Nebraska is a dangerous occupation; why bother with the pen name, otherwise? You tell me to find the Lord Jesus Christ, and there's gonna be a crisis, alright, but it's not going to be mine! Yeah, I can see the danger element...hmm...
28th-Feb-2006 02:06 pm (UTC)
Review archived.
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