In his technicolor childhood, Arnie dreamed of Rhett Butler carrying him away from blazing Atlanta or Heathcliff sobbing on his grave. His mother, a cross between Emma Bovary and Mrs. Portnoy, spotted these predilections early and countered with hormone shots and boxing lessons--to no avail. He grew up gay, although not until nearly 30, after two suicide attempts and countless rendezvous in men's rooms, could he admit his preference and act openly. This autobiography, full of Oz images and explicit sex, takes hold once Arnie joins the Gay Activist Alliance and, gradually, establishes an adult identity. One can appreciate the anguish of coming out and Arnie, an English professor and old-movie veteran, is attentive to the dramatic nuances of every scene. The homosexual subculture--Christopher Street, the Continental Baths, class distinctions and sadomasochistic variations--is seen in the rosy glow of first release and occasional drugs; then comes a dreary affair with Phil, a hopeless psychotic, when Arnie's new-found pride temporarily takes a back seat to obsession. Now nearly 40, he has moved uptown, given up jewelry and returned to tweeds, and considers himself more stable: ""Even Dorothy landed with her feet on the ground."" Another flamboyant revelation along that crowded yellow brick road: no special wizardry but custommade for its constituency.