GOOD BOYS by Paul Reidinger


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 Reidinger's third bedraggled novel (The Best Man, 1986; Intimate Evil, 1989) is about three men, one of them gay, who keep in touch, more or less, for ten years while working their way through girlfriends, careers, and oodles of twenty-and-thirty- something ennui. It's all tediously episodic, with occasional comic touches that aren't enough to save it. Our heroes are Michael, Chris, and Drew. Chris, the gay one, loves Drew, he thinks, but Drew, who can never make up his mind what he wants (aside from lots of straight sex), is a jerk, whereas Michael, who's been unfaithful once with Drew's wife, goes through a vast identity crisis, especially when his wife gives birth to a ``huge emotional mass.'' All of this material, of course, is the stuff of real-life drama, but Reidinger is earnest where a light touch is called for, and sarcastic or facetious where we want sobriety. Worse, the story inches along--from the sophomoric banter of college (Chris is confused about his sexuality) to early career moves (Michael is a doctor, Drew a lawyer) to love affairs (Chris, who begins to come out with ``Forty-five-minute voyages into San Francisco,'' meets Carl; Drew and girlfriend Dana have long dreary arguments about love, the nature of) to climaxes and resolutions (Michael, husband and father, begins to see a shrink because he keeps thinking of Dana; Carl gets AIDS, and Chris has intimations of mortality; Drew, his job and girl gone, goes to the park and picks up a guy who happens to be working toward a Ph.D. in comparative literature but who really wants to be in Hollywood). ``Thinking of your peers as adults isn't easy.'' Especially, it seems, after a book like this--a tossed salad of half-digested instances that rarely rises above soap opera or sitcom.

Pub Date: June 8th, 1993
ISBN: 0-525-93616-5
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1993