An aspiring creative struggles with his identity.
In his second memoir, Poole (Where’s My Wand?: One Boy’s Magical Triumph over Alienation and Shag Carpeting, 2010) describes the hardships he faced as a Christian teenager living in suburban St. Louis. Both self-conscious and feeling like an outsider, the author did not fit into the standard idea of a straight male high school experience. A talented trumpet player, Poole begins his memoir by recounting his disastrous first sexual encounter with a girl, a memorably recounted event that occurred at an illicit, alcohol-drenched party he had to bribe his way into. In this Donna Summer–infused world, the author and his adolescent cohorts were being tested by the changing sociocultural environment. Confident that he was destined to become a star, Poole made it through high school and college with a few hiccups and countless girlfriends. But nothing really seemed to stick—until he met Kurt, a gay man with whom he formed a meaningful connection. Kurt was convinced Poole was gay and openly shared his opinions as often as possible. The author traces his journey through his confusing adolescence and professional forays in travel and advertising agencies, maps out the gay scene in 1980s St. Louis, and provides crucial insight on the difficulties of coming out within an intolerant societal infrastructure as well as a religious family. Refreshingly, this is not a traditional coming-out story. While many such memoirs capitalize on the author’s sexuality, Poole instead focuses on the creation of his entire identity. Sex is merely a component, not a defining factor. Punctuated with highly effective humor, this book could easily serve as a resource for any closeted individuals looking to read another success story.
A magnetic collection of real stories that sheds a new light on life in the Midwest.