Customer Reviews for

Back Where He Started: A Novel

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2008

    A great book

    I have read many books by gay authors and gay themed. I loved this book of starting over. Finally someone has credited the fact that long before gay marriage there was gay divorce or longterm relationships. THe drama that unfolds and the self learning and realization of Chris and the others in the book is wonderful. I laughed and cried with the characters in the book. I was left wanting to be privliged to the rest of there lives and how the second half unfolds.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2006

    a work of monumental egotism

    Quinn seems at first similar to Joanna Trollope in his focus on family life and in the study of lives disrupted by the death of relationships and restored in the discovery of deeper truths. Yet as you enter into Quinn's story you are confronted with a domestic diva and a quiet if persistant egomaniac, a Scarlet O'Hara writ small, very small. Not that Quinn or his hero(ine) Chris ever notice. As a novel of wish-fulfillment it is remarkable only for the gentiliy of its shallowness. No character in this novel is developed more carefully or described more lovingly than the interiors of the houses Chris inhabits.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2006

    A Wonderful Book!

    Jay Quinn is an extraordinary storyteller, one who understands the masculine/feminine balance of both male and female. My own kids called me Mom for years, especially when they wanted a 'Mom' thing. It took them several years to break themselves of the habit because I never disabused them of what they called me--either Mom or Dad would be just fine. This book is one of the finest stories of a gay man who understands himself, his world, the limitations that it would put upon him, and how he must become his 'own man' in order to truly find fulfillment and happiness. Woven throughout the story are his religion, his concept of family, and certainly his place in a complicated world. As the author of an autobiography that carries much of the angst that this story embodies (See: Worth the Room: An Autobiography of Survival and Service, iUniverse 2004) I can promise the reader a book that will not be put down easily. Read it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2005

    Self Congratulatory

    Jay Quinn tells us on every page, through the character of Chris, what a great mom he is, how pretty he is, how good his butt is, how he did the best he could, sacrifice, martyrdom and constant constant self congratulatory rhetoric. I found the concept of the story fascinating, but the writing sophomoric and its purpose to make everyone else in the book secondary to the greatness and grace of Jay Quinn. I had to keep reading just to laugh out loud every time he had another character tell him how fabulous he was. It gets ridiculous. It is a surface novel which screams 'love me' at the top of its lungs. I kept imagining one of Charles Busch's characters saying his lines. It's that corny. Too bad. If he weren't so wrapped up in himself and his need for approval, Jay Quinn might allow himself to go deeper and actually turn out to be a good writer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2005

    Back Where He Started

    Chris Thayer has been with his partner Zack for over 20 years. He has shared a home and helped raise widowed Zack¿s 3 kids. Suddenly he is thrown into a mid-life change. Zack¿s secretary is pregnant and he is going to leave his life with Chris and marry her, starting a new family. Chris is now middle aged, divorced and looking at starting his life over. He gets the family home and promptly sells it. He buys a beach house, fulfilling a dream of his. With the support of Zack¿s children, he is settling in and creating a new world for himself. Within that new world are new friends and loves. Jay Quinn guides us through, pain, fear, love and joy in Back Where He Started, Alyson Publications, April 2005. Quinn¿s piece is very timely and up to date, incorporating gay marriage in Massachusetts and other events from the headlines. This is a beautiful story about love, bonds and life in a nontraditional family. Having witnessed life in a nontraditional family, and aware of the rhetoric about family values, I enjoyed reading this book that highlights the strength of family no matter how it is constructed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2005

    Starting Over

    Starting Over, June 12, 2005Reviewer: Grady Harp (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews Jay Quinn has a gift for creating three-dimensional characters who become so visual on the written page that they seem like people out of a scrapbook from our own past. He tells a story that keeps our interest in a page-turning mode until the conclusion and along the way he manages to render some very fine prose and metaphors and always encourages us to become involved not only in his story but in some self-introspection.BACK WHERE HE STARTED is a tale of a poor kid Chris who happens to be attractive and whose life changes when he meets the Man of his Dreams Zack, a man whose is recently widowed and is left to raise three children - Trey, Andrea and Schooner. For 22 years Chris and Zack have a near perfect 'marriage' and while Zack continues his successful profession, Chris becomes the mom to the kids. When Zack abruptly ends his relationship with Chris in favor of marrying his pregnant associate Alicia, Chris' life turns upside down and he is faced with losing everything - despite the fact that Zack has provided for Chris' life monetarily under the guardian ship of Trey, the oldest son.Chris mourns then rages at his new single status, but with the complete support of his well-raised children he takes a big breath and begins a life alone. In time he meets Steve, a hero with a big heart and a passion for the sea and the land around where Chris has relocated - the beach of Emerald Isle off North Carolina. Steve and Chris eventually bond and are accepted by Steve's extended family and Chris' children and begin a second life together. Along the way we meet Chris' friends - a psychiatrist and his wife who provide work for Chris, the Catholic priest of the parish, Chris' children¿s mates including a touching 'coming out' of Chris' youngest son Schooner for whom Chris provides a loving atmosphere for the pairing, Chris' decorator friend, the local vet, etc. Chris and Steve weather a hurricane that not only secures their bond but also leads to open windows on each other's lives.It is refreshing to read Jay Quinn. He avoids most of the melodrama that can seep into a tale of this sort and he manages to provide a manual about family and parenting that is as sound as to be found in any book. Some quirks can become wearing - for some reason Quinn's constant emphasis on smoking borders on a commercial for cigarettes and in a time when smoking is a proven medical problem it is not only not additive to the story (must everyone smoke?) but also mildly annoying. This reader kept expecting some revelatory sidebar of having one of the characters die of lung cancer!But small issues aside, BACK WHERE HE STARTED continues Quinn's reputation as a fine writer of well molded and deeply felt fictional novels and just makes us eager for the next one! Highly recommended. Grady Harp

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2013

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