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Harris goes where few men have gone before in this graphic, candid tell-all.

Journalist Harris (The Rise and Fall of Gay Culture, 1997) dons the drag, turning the hermetic Daniel—bookish, reserved, aging—into the cyber-whore Denial.

Talk about taking your midlife crisis seriously. Harris is not a transvestite or a cross-dresser, just “a shameless opportunist indulging in a fantasy rampant among gay men”: that straight men are sexier than gay men—more robust, more macho—and that they make ideal mates. “When one is taught from birth that gay men are morally reprehensible, diseased pariahs, child molesters, one may not want to select one’s Prince Charming from abominations of the same ilk,” he explains. Vanity is another motive. Harris realizes that he has lost his physical allure; he’s in his 40s, balding. As Denial, he has a stab at a sexual renaissance. With the help of the Internet, his method for meeting men, he’ll get all the sex he wants (and then some); along the way he’ll meet misguided nice guys, psychopaths and losers. The sexual act itself, incidentally, is “as unimportant to [him] as taking a shower.” The best material comes when this “high Solomonic priestess of the pillow” listens closely and dispenses advice to the lonely souls who have made it to his bed. He recalls one john who feels so good after their encounter that the man promises to propose to his girlfriend as soon as he gets home that night. (Harris is happy to have helped.) Throughout, he gains insights regarding sex and class (the poor are more likely to tell him gallant lies, for instance); feels the sting of being in the closet (all of cyberspace feels like a closet); and learns a lot about himself (being a woman brought out the man in him).

Harris goes where few men have gone before in this graphic, candid tell-all.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-7867-1516-2

Page Count: 280

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2005

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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