How I Learned to Snap!

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Overview

Kirk Read's youth in the Shenandoah Valley had the outward signs of a comfortable adolescence in the Reagan-era South. Dad: career military. Mom: a homemaker. Son: Little League/soccer player, Baptist youth group member, a straight-jawed boy from a long line of VMI men.

One would expect that a young gay man growing up in such a way would lead a tortured teen life. But early Read began to show the surety and openness that has marked his later life and career as a young, queer ...

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Overview

Kirk Read's youth in the Shenandoah Valley had the outward signs of a comfortable adolescence in the Reagan-era South. Dad: career military. Mom: a homemaker. Son: Little League/soccer player, Baptist youth group member, a straight-jawed boy from a long line of VMI men.

One would expect that a young gay man growing up in such a way would lead a tortured teen life. But early Read began to show the surety and openness that has marked his later life and career as a young, queer journalist. Passing through the tough terrain of Bible Belt guilt and culturally ingrained sexual hypocrisy, Read acknowledged his difference first to those closest to him—with with expected doses of fag-baiting—and with acceptance from surprising corners.

Read's skewed and skewered version of the holy trinity of American adolescence—sex, drugs, and rock and roll—is described in hisunique voice: he became sexually active at a time when we were only just learning that sex can kill, began saying yes to drugs when Nancy Reagan were just saying no; and when underground music was still buried. It is a story of bold strokes (premiering a play about coming-out in high school while still in high school) and ironic misfires (he expected to ignite a firestorm by demanding that he take his same-sex date to the senior prom; instead his request was calmly okayed).

Read's story is neither victim-based nor intended as a survival guide. It is not a radical call to action but a call to acceptance, with a Southern accent: "So much of gay Southern memoir has been so veiled in the shroud of first fiction that's its lost its sense of urgency. Or its been so literary that the queer content has been erased or relegated to the back in service to Gothic, poetically indirect costuming of hard realities," Read says.Ultimately, Read's is finally the story of every coming-of-age—heartbreaking, comic, tragic, and redemptive—and will be appreciated by everyone who, to quote Paul Goodman, grew up absurd in the 1980s.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781588180391
  • Publisher: Hill Street Press, LLC
  • Publication date: 10/1/2001
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.73 (w) x 8.76 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2006

    Wow!

    wow this is lame. i cant believe some 'christian' guy would try to write a book how its ok to be gay and sin. sin is wrong and everyone does it, but there is no need for someone to try and make it right by rubbing it in everyones faces. we have become so used to murder, sex, drugs, and everything else. we dont turn our noses up to it anymore. now is our culture going to do that to another sin such as homosexuality next?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2001

    Love Amidst the Beer Cans

    This is a gigglesome and sometimes laugh-out-loud teenage coming-out autobiography, full of heart and courage. It brings to mind Edmund White's confessional novels like A Boy's Own Story--only Read is less introspective and more of a hell-raiser. Mr. Read's refreshing frankness about his attraction to older men may provoke some readers, which is exactly what the young author loves to do.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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