THE TRICKY PART by Martin Moran


One Boy’s Fall from Trespass into Grace
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A remarkable memoir provides an absorbing depiction of abuse and its aftermath.

Marty Moran, a good boy from a Catholic family in Colorado, was 12 when he spent the weekend with a camp counselor named Bob. By day, they did manual labor, working on the summer camp Bob was building. By night, Bob slipped into bed next to Marty and molested him. The friendship, and the sex, continued for three years. Sometimes Marty joined Bob in bed with Bob’s girlfriend for a molestation ménage a trois. Other times, Bob would invite over several boys and have sex with each of them, one after another (“we were part of some secret club; a blonde, blue-eyed bordello”). At 15, Marty told Bob he was ashamed of their relationship and he never wanted to see him again. And now, in middle age, Marty tracks down his molester and confronts him. Bob is pathetic. He makes excuses. Marty is both forgiving and firm. Throughout, Moran approaches his topic with subtlety and nuance. He admits that at times he enjoyed the sex, and he doesn’t shy away from saying that it emboldened him, in fact aroused him. The author also deserves kudos for his deft treatment of the consequences of the molestation. He makes clear that the abuse formed him, shaped him, scarred him—but he never sounds whiny or victimized or predictable. As an adult, Moran wrestles with sex “addiction.” Though he’s in a long-term, stable and loving homosexual relationship with Henry, he occasionally prowls the streets and gay bars for the thrill of an anonymous coupling. Moran loves Henry, and his stable life, but he feels some compulsion for secret, hidden sex—a compulsion he knows he can trace back to Bob. Eventually, he confesses to Henry and goes into therapy. Henry stands by his man, hurt, but committed to Moran.

A must-read for anyone touched by sexual abuse.

Pub Date: June 15th, 2005
ISBN: 0-8070-7262-1
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Beacon
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2005