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The World Of Normal Boys: A Novel

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Kensington

Late 1970s New Jersey is the backdrop for this gay coming-of-age novel by newcomer Soehnlein. As he starts his freshman year in high school in the fall of 1978, 13-year-old Robin MacKenzie is baffled by "normal boys" and men. Why, he wonders, do his … see full wiki

Tags: Book, Cafe Libri
Author: Kensington
Publisher: Kensington
1 review about The World Of Normal Boys: A Novel

A Major, Very Important Book!

  • Mar 3, 2001
About once every decade or so along comes an author with a voice so clear and exciting that a first novel becomes a revelation. K.M. Soehnlein has given us another universally effective tale of the coming of age of a boy in the labyrinth of puberty. Joyce, Salinger, Wolfe did it and created prototypes that became icons for countless young men fortunate enough to be encouraged to read abou the tangles life presents when the hormone balance shifts toward adulthood. "The World of Normal Boys" is a sheer wonder of writing skill, passion, and commitment. I wonder at the lack of notoriety due a book of this stature - but then perhaps this book has fallen victim of being too "specialized" in its reader audience. Yes, ONE of the struggles that the main character, Robin, encounters is his fear and coming to grips with nascent homosexuality. But Soehnlein handles this so adroitly that it should ring bells in everyone's psyche; sexual ambivalence is a normal step toward sexual identity, gene theory or no. Accompanying this odyssey of a highschool freshman is an incident which changes everything in his milieu of maturing. And with this incident we are allowed to observe the disintegration of a "normal" family unit, the inception of alcoholism, parental abuse of children as they seek escape from their own frustration about life choices, the obsessive need to feel loved/needed/to exist, the imbalance between juvenile naivete and adult "sophistication." Yet the author sweeps us along with a storytelling technique which is incredibly fine. If you wonder early in the book why he is taking such detail to describe a playground and especially an almost architecturally rendered view of a play slide, then you only realize in a few pages further why that little bit of apparent "diversion" was so important and why there is a replay of the same theme at book's end when our now beloved main character unveils the place the universe has fashioned for him in this life. If there were more than 5 stars to rate this book I would go to the maximum number. This is a brilliant book by an enormously gifted author who has not only given us a new Stephen Daedalus, Holden Caulfield, Eugene Gant...he has documented a decade (the 1970's) better than almost anyone writing today. Yes this book deals with gay issues (very well) and that can only be another reason for everyone to read it. Highly recommended!!!!!!!!!!

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