WHAT'S THIS ABOUT PETE? by Mary W. Sullivan


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Because this shows the same bantamweight form as Sullivan's Indestructible Old-Time String Band or Bluegrass Iggy (both 1975), one is taken by surprise when Pete's doubts about himself--he is too puny to ride Dad's Harley and prefers helping his mother with the fine needlework she does on consignment--develop into the most realistic, unsensationalized treatment of sexual identity we've seen at this level. Sullivan circles around the question of whether Pete is actually homosexual; eventually it's suggested that he is not, although the school guidance counsellor tells him that there would be nothing wrong with it if he were. Yet Peter's anxiety about being taunted by his gym teacher and over the feeling that he ""loves"" his new friend Mario cuts into an area of experience that's usually ignored in this sort of story. In contrast to Scoppetone's Trying Hard to Hear You, where homosexuality is seen from the outside as an ""issue,"" Sullivan internalizes it in Pete's confusion. And whereas the story never quite rises above the level of dramatizing a set theme, it does make the connection between Pete's personal problem and the pressure stereotypes exert on everyone around him.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1976
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Nelson