Friday, February 8, 2008

Review: Grief by Andrew Holleran

I liked this book. Andrew Holleran's writing is very good, and I always seem to like these "memoir-type" books -- this is very similar in style to Gilead, Rules for Old Men Waiting, those types of books.

The story is narrated by an aging gay man whose mother has just died. He comes to Washington D.C. to teach a semester as a way of getting a change of scenery and dealing with his grief.

My problem with the book is the gay-centered themes. I have no problem with a gay character, but it's kind of like violence or sex: As long as it's not gratuitous, no problem. But if I feel like it's just thrown in because it's the authors pet issue, then it's a bit overdone. Such is the case here, at least for me. Yes, I know all about the struggles of being gay (I am a therapist, after all!); Yes, I know about the AIDS epidemic and the losses sustained; I'm not unsympathetic. But it's almost like instead of it being weaved surreptitiously throughout the story, it's too much of the plotline or something. It's hard to explain, but I just felt like it was overdone, and I would have had more tolerance for it if it had been more subtle.

I'd read it again, though, and I'd recommend it in certain circumstances. Surely, if you have a particular interest in the subject, it's a good read.


Margo. said...

Thanks for the review, not sure I would go for this one after your review.

Btw I tagged you on my blog to do a meme. :)

Scott said...

OMG - your review is a joke. I'm glad you're not my therapist.

So you have problems with the gay centered themes.... huh? The story is about gay men you idiot. You clearly have no idea just how true this story rings for myself and countless of thousands of men like us. It is an insult in the extreme that you consider the themes as the author's pet issue.

Does one opine that heterosexual themes are gratuitous in stories about straight people?

DUH... I say it again - you are an idiot.