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BOYS LIKE US by Peter McGehee

BOYS LIKE US

By Peter McGehee

Pub Date: Feb. 12th, 1990
ISBN: 312-04606-5
Publisher: St. Martin's

Calling this collection of verbal skits about modern gay life a novel stretches credibility, but then McGehee's story pays credibility no mind as it wends its giddy way from Toronto to Arkansas. Zero lives in Toronto, where he's just moved in with a new lover, Clay, after eight years with David. But Zero really loves Randy, who has AIDS. The arrival of a bonny young drag-artist, Jesus Las Vegas, from Zero's home state of Arkansas, provides a predictable love triangle. But it's hard to understand Zero's sense of betrayal when Jesus L.V. sleeps with Clay, because Zero slept with Jesus, too. Perhaps author McGehee senses this, because he quickly ships Zero home to Arkansas for his mother's farcical wedding to J.B. Here the author shows his roots in musical theater, trotting out more hyper-colorful stereotypes than Tennessee Williams could ever shake a stick at: wealthy old philanderers; crotchety black retainers; white-trash slatterns; Zero's manic-depressive father; his K-Mart issue brother and aging gay uncle. Of course, though, the minute Zero hears that Randy's in the hospital, it's back to Toronto for a sad-happy wrap-up. Everybody gets somebody to live with except Zero, but he gets self-esteem and his own apartment, as well as a dream job writing a newspaper column. Written almost entirely in dialogue, a first novel that's lighter than meringue, bubblier than soda pop, and may cause mental cavities.