By Brian Andersen, Obie Espinosa & Mark Schulte
Need a welcome relief from beach
stalking this summer? Instinct's on it, boo! Our Word reviews have found a new home online; and our sassmouth literary lads are here to C Get the scoop on "Openly Straight", "Straight People: A Spotter’s Guide to the Fascinating World of Heterosexuals" and "Antonia Lively Breaks the Silence."
Bill Konigsberg (Arthur A. Levine Books)
When you’ve been out as long as I have (we’re talking pre-Facebook era here, people) you’ve probably read more than your share of High School cookie cutter ‘coming out’ novels. Praise RuPaul – our Patron Saint of Gayness – for this smartly written novel putting a clever spin on the usual classic (a.k.a. clichéd) story. Openly gay youth Rafe flees his perfectly pleasant and happy life to attend an all boys school across the country in an effort to ditch the “gay label." Escandalo! Rafe’s humorous and thought-provoking journey is a powerful reminder to all LGBT people (we’re talking to you Richard Simmons) on how important it is to live an authentic life. Get it! — BA
"Straight People: A Spotter’s Guide to the Fascinating World of Heterosexuals"
Jeffery Self (Running Press)
If anyone was going to write a book on straights and the art of heterosexual watching, I suppose the ever-witty Jeffery Self would be the proper scribe. Now just who should buy this book isn't quite as clear, but I suppose that's not nearly important as the actual content. Straight People pokes fun at the majority with just the right amount of tongue-planted-in-cheek sass and damn-honest truth. The "staggering statistics on heterosexuals" are particularly amusing (though also presumably completely made up). But is a 200-plus page book on the subject really necessary? A briefer gag-gift version would be perfectly suited for holiday parties, but this extended edition is not ideal for summer reading. Consider yourself warned. — OE
"Antonia Lively Breaks the Silence"
David Samuel Levinson (Algonquin Books)
Catherine is a bookstore employee whose husband, an up and coming author, has died mysteriously. Her former lover, also an author, moves into her guesthouse, even though his girlfriend (an author too, of course) lives down the street and suddenly befriends Catherine. The mystery surrounding the girlfriend’s new novel keeps the story moving forward, but every character’s actions are implausible to the point of being distracting. Overall, the book shows promise as a first novel, but is a bit too literary-incestuous. Levinson has written a novel perfect for writers (we love the drama), not so much for readers. — MS