Potentially divisive for aiming so forthrightly at its audience, this is nonetheless empowering, educational, and necessary.

COMING OUT

A HANDBOOK FOR MEN

A frank and witty manual for the young man hoping to come to terms with his sexual orientation. More a guide for finding your way in the gay lifestyle than for psyching yourself up to come out, this one covers the bases: dealing with potentially devastated parents, hitting the bar scene, understanding which sex acts are safe and which are not. This thorough updating of Coming Out Right is intended mainly for teenagers and early 20-somethings, though questions late-bloomers might pose are answered, too. As such, Outland (The Principles: The Gay Man’s Guide to Getting (and Keeping) Mr. Right, not reviewed) lists some stereotypes to be exploded (“Gay people recruit unsuspecting young people into their ranks”) and offers advice for coming out to parents (if you are “still dependent on your parents for support . . . gauge just how volatile their reaction might be”). Beyond the fundamentals, the author leaps into full-blown queer life. His counsel regarding the prevalent drug culture poses some controversial observances (marijuana would be legal “in a rational society”), and his caveats having to do with being an escort (read, sex-for-hire) quickly segue into practical advice for becoming one. All this is peppered with colorful language and non-euphemistic sex talk, including a vast glossary of terms from “AC/DC” to “water sports.”

Potentially divisive for aiming so forthrightly at its audience, this is nonetheless empowering, educational, and necessary.

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 1-55583-514-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Alyson

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

If that promise of clarity is what awaits us all, then death doesn’t seem so awful, and that is a great gift from Sacks. A...

GRATITUDE

Valediction from the late neurologist and writer Sacks (On the Move: A Life, 2015, etc.).

In this set of four short essays, much-forwarded opinion pieces from the New York Times, the author ponders illness, specifically the metastatic cancer that spread from eye to liver and in doing so foreclosed any possibility of treatment. His brief reflections on that unfortunate development give way to, yes, gratitude as he examines the good things that he has experienced over what, in the end, turned out to be a rather long life after all, lasting 82 years. To be sure, Sacks has regrets about leaving the world, not least of them not being around to see “a thousand…breakthroughs in the physical and biological sciences,” as well as the night sky sprinkled with stars and the yellow legal pads on which he worked sprinkled with words. Sacks works a few familiar tropes and elaborates others. Charmingly, he reflects on his habit since childhood of associating each year of his life with the element of corresponding atomic weight on the periodic table; given polonium’s “intense, murderous radioactivity,” then perhaps 84 isn’t all that it’s cut out to be. There are some glaring repetitions here, unfortunate given the intense brevity of this book, such as his twice citing Nathaniel Hawthorne’s call to revel in “intercourse with the world”—no, not that kind. Yet his thoughts overall—while not as soul-stirringly inspirational as the similar reflections of Randy Pausch or as bent on chasing down the story as Christopher Hitchens’ last book—are shaped into an austere beauty, as when Sacks writes of being able in his final moments to “see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape, and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its parts.”

If that promise of clarity is what awaits us all, then death doesn’t seem so awful, and that is a great gift from Sacks. A fitting, lovely farewell.

Pub Date: Nov. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-451-49293-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A moving essay that should find its way into the hands of all students and teachers to provoke new conversation and...

WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS

An enchanting plea by the award-winning Nigerian novelist to channel anger about gender inequality into positive change.

Employing personal experience in her examination of “the specific and particular problem of gender,” National Book Critics Circle winner Adichie (Americanah, 2013, etc.) gently and effectively brings the argument about whether feminism is still relevant to an accessible level for all readers. An edited version of a 2012 TEDxEuston talk she delivered, this brief essay moves from the personal to the general. The author discusses how she was treated as a second-class citizen back home in Nigeria (walking into a hotel and being taken for a sex worker; shut out of even family meetings, in which only the male members participate) and suggests new ways of socialization for both girls and boys (e.g., teaching both to cook). Adichie assumes most of her readers are like her “brilliant, progressive” friend Louis, who insists that women were discriminated against in the past but that “[e]verything is fine now for women.” Yet when actively confronted by an instance of gender bias—the parking attendant thanked Louis for the tip, although Adichie had been the one to give it—Louis had to recognize that men still don’t recognize a woman’s full equality in society. The example from her childhood at school in Nigeria is perhaps the most poignant, demonstrating how insidious and entrenched gender bias is and how damaging it is to the tender psyches of young people: The primary teacher enforced an arbitrary rule (“she assumed it was obvious”) that the class monitor had to be a boy, even though the then-9-year-old author had earned the privilege by winning the highest grade in the class. Adichie makes her arguments quietly but skillfully.

A moving essay that should find its way into the hands of all students and teachers to provoke new conversation and awareness.

Pub Date: Feb. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-101-91176-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Anchor

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more