A HUNDRED DAYS FROM NOW

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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1994

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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