HALF LAUGHING, HALF CRYING: Songs for Myself by Malcolm Boyd


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Boyd has been baring his soul in public utterances now for several decades, so Half Laughing, Half Crying comes neither as a surprise nor as any addition to his public persona. His career, as it were, in making of every book a one-man encounter group has followed from his varied life. In the 1940's, Boyd was in the forefront of the fledgling field of television production. Abruptly, in the 1950's, he escaped the power and the glory of Hollywood to become an Episcopal priest. In the 1960's, he took his priesthood to the trenches of the civil-rights movement, then later to the peace movement. Then, in 1976, Boyd came out as having been, all along, a homosexual, and has spent much of the intervening years supporting the gay rights movement and helping AIDS victims. The first two-thirds of Half Laughing, Half Crying consists mostly of unpublished selections representing each of these four phases, intermingled with occasional snippets from some of Boyd's other books, such as the best-selling Are You Running With Me, Jesus? One tires easily of these selections, rife as they seem to be with a current that suggests that every personal frustration or disappointment of Boyd's is a pivotal moment in human development. So the final third of the book, which presents several brief fictional efforts (fables and parables, as he calls them), comes as some relief. In this latter section, ""A Parable: The Alleluia After"" (in which, first, Jesuses all over the world descend from crucifixes to roam the earth, then representative characters begin to appeal on all of the vacant crosses) is, indubitably, the book's class act. Of value only to Boyd fans who haven't already plodded through his past work.

Pub Date: Feb. 3rd, 1985
Publisher: St. Martin's