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Corbin (No Easy Place to Be, 1989) offers a fierce exploration of love, race, and sexuality as a black screenwriter loses the man of his dreams in a terrifying maze of homophobia, self-hatred, abuse, and AIDS. Dexter, a hot new African-American writer, meets Sergio, a rich Mexican-American bilingual book publisher, on a lonely Thanksgiving when he wants nothing more than a ``quick drink, an even quicker fuck.'' But Sergio doesn't let him go so easily, and Dexter enjoys being ``wined and dined'' all over Los Angeles. Sergio further impresses Dexter when he has the guts to reveal he's HIV-positive and symptomatic. Even though Dexter casually replies, ``Oh, that?... Who isn't?'' he doesn't reveal his own positive, although asymptomatic, status yet. But soon after, Mr. Perfect begins to show flaws. He coerces Dexter into a mÇnage Ö trois, he remains closeted to everyone in his family except his heterosexual twin brother, he has no gay friends, and then his health deteriorates when he gets AIDS-induced Kaposi's sarcoma. Dexter resolves to stand by him, and hope comes when Sergio gets accepted into an experimental bone-marrow transplant procedure for twins- -they'll know in a 100 days if the transplant will give him another seven or eight years or even cure him completely. But Sergio's insistence on telling his close family he contracted AIDS from an old girlfriend, telling everyone else he has leukemia, and most reprehensibly, claiming he's paying Dexter to take care of him and ordering him around like a servant as Corbin unflinchingly describes the grueling daily care, makes Dexter a martyr if he stays and guilty if he doesn't, since even the doctor believes that Sergio can't make it without him. Easy to read, sometimes to the point of being simple—although this can't diminish the importance of this raw, honest, and brave work.

Pub Date: June 1, 1994

ISBN: 1-55583-232-6

Page Count: 220

Publisher: Alyson

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1994

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Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Sisters work together to solve a child-abandonment case.

Ellie and Julia Cates have never been close. Julia is shy and brainy; Ellie gets by on charm and looks. Their differences must be tossed aside when a traumatized young girl wanders in from the forest into their hometown in Washington. The sisters’ professional skills are put to the test. Julia is a world-renowned child psychologist who has lost her edge. She is reeling from a case that went publicly sour. Though she was cleared of all wrongdoing, Julia’s name was tarnished, forcing her to shutter her Beverly Hills practice. Ellie Barton is the local police chief in Rain Valley, who’s never faced a tougher case. This is her chance to prove she is more than just a fading homecoming queen, but a scarcity of clues and a reluctant victim make locating the girl’s parents nearly impossible. Ellie places an SOS call to her sister; she needs an expert to rehabilitate this wild-child who has been living outside of civilization for years. Confronted with her professional demons, Julia once again has the opportunity to display her talents and salvage her reputation. Hannah (The Things We Do for Love, 2004, etc.) is at her best when writing from the girl’s perspective. The feral wolf-child keeps the reader interested long after the other, transparent characters have grown tiresome. Hannah’s torturously over-written romance passages are stale, but there are surprises in store as the sisters set about unearthing Alice’s past and creating a home for her.

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-345-46752-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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