Never underestimate the power of the lowest common denominator to keep what should be forgotten in print...Warren, Patricia Nell. The Front Runner. 1974. Beverly Hills: Wildcat Press, 1996.Summary
: Disgraced track coach Harlan Brown agrees to take on three Olympic hopefuls who happen to also be gay, including the front runner Billy. The two are instantly attracted to each other and eventually become committed both to each other and to making it in Montréal. Then Billy, now an "out" athlete is assassinated on the track, leaving Harlan to pick up the pieces of his life.Comments
: Melodramatic, passably written (in forgettable prose) tripe that seems expressly calculated to win the sympathies of red-blooded America. We've got sports, we've got a truckload of "I hate girly men" gay characters, and we've got a broad sweep of misogyny that both surprised and disappointed me, coming as it did from a female writer. (Thanks oh so much for informing me that the US is sending a "girl swimmer" to the Olympics.) In any case, this tactic disgusts me. Like all of Asia obsessing over the whitest skin, the gay man who glorifies masculinity at the expense of all things female and feminine is ultimately reinforcing the system of oppression that got us all here in the first place...and no matter how hard he tries, the majority will never accept him as a "true man." Nevermind divide and conquer. So, yeah. Color me irked. We've got some seriously unsound politics here, and I could keep going...but I'll spare the world. Other than that, we've got a standard star-crossed, tragic romance story, complete with "He loves me, he loves me not" angst, "Till death do us part--LITERALLY" monogamous marriage, and the biological imperative to reproduce. *rolls eyes* Trying to win red-blooded sympathies yet again, I see. Can't the reader see that he's being manipulated? Anyway, this was not the first American gay pulp fiction novel, but it was the first to garner mainstream attention and acclaim. I'm guessing by now you can see why. Any worthwhile themes found here receive much better treatment elsewhere. Notes
: trade paperback, 8th printingRating
- One of those unimpressive popular fiction titles that you should only read because everyone else already has.