The Men from the Boys

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Overview

Jeff O’Brien - bright, good-looking, and inching dangerously past thirty, is caught between two generations, the Baby Boomers and Generation X. He’s been with his partner, Lloyd, for seven years now, but when Lloyd announces that there’s no passion left between them, Jeff is sent into something of an existential frenzy. Desperate not to end up alone, Jeff haunts the dance floor and roadside rest stops, finding both the sordid and the sublime in anonymous encounters. But it’s love he’s after, so ultimately it’s ...

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1998-06-01 Paperback New 0452278562 Ships Within 24 Hours. Tracking Number available for all USA orders. Excellent Customer Service. Upto 15 Days 100% Money Back Gurantee. Try ... Our Fast! ! ! ! Shipping With Tracking Number. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Jeff O’Brien - bright, good-looking, and inching dangerously past thirty, is caught between two generations, the Baby Boomers and Generation X. He’s been with his partner, Lloyd, for seven years now, but when Lloyd announces that there’s no passion left between them, Jeff is sent into something of an existential frenzy. Desperate not to end up alone, Jeff haunts the dance floor and roadside rest stops, finding both the sordid and the sublime in anonymous encounters. But it’s love he’s after, so ultimately it’s his bittersweet romance in Provincetown with Eduardo, twenty-two and a vision of gorgeous, wide-eyed youth, that lingers in his mind and seems to hold the answers he seeks. This is a story of a man coming to terms with the accelerating ambiguity of his world, where men die young but old age is actively devalued. It is the story of gay life today, the life being led by thousands of men trying desperately to keep up, and to discover if anything really unites gay men other than desire. It is the story of how the truths of gay life are handed down from gay generation to gay generation. It is the story of what separates the men from the boys.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
What begins as a novel look at gay life from Stonewall to Generation X ends as a New Age guidance novel along the lines of The Alchemist or The Celestine Prophecy. This said, Massachusetts journalist Mann is no Paulo Coelho or James Redfield, and his book lacks both the straightforward pragmatism and the easy occultism that make those authors bestsellers. At 32, Jeffrey O'Brien has reached a crisis in his seven-year relationship. As he tries to reconcile the casual sexual habits of his youth with the exigencies of long-term love and searches for meaning and balance, his friends and acquaintances seem less like characters than representatives of their generations, personified answers to Jeffrey's questions: there's his lover, a 60-ish watercolorist; his AIDS-afflicted 40-something ex-lover; and his 20-year-old crush. By the end of the novel, naturalistic dialogue has given way almost entirely to characters holding forth in expositions of various life lessons. As a guide to gay life in the 1990s, it should have been more direct; as a novel, it should have been considerably more artful. (June)
Library Journal
Jeff O'Brien is at several major crossroads on life's highway. First, Lloyd, his lover of six years, announces that the passion is gone from their relationship. Second, Jeff's first lover, Javis, is slowly succumbing to AIDS. Third, at 33, Jeff is no longer part of the hip, young crowd of gay men and lesbians who party in Provincetown each summer. Finally, Jeff's father dies, his childhood pet is killed, his current pet has a stroke (but lives), and his hair is beginning to thin. All in all, Jeff is not having a good year. Though lumping all of the above into the same category of crisis makes Jeff sound shallow, he isn't. He's human and having trouble, like the rest of us, with the issues of change and aging. This remarkable book by first novelist Mann discusses the concepts of family, love, passion, and acceptance in ways few books have. If you only buy one gay novel this year, make it this one.Theodore R. Salvadori, Margaret E. Heggan Free P.L., Hurffville, N.J.
Boston Phoenix
"A heartfelt story about he meanign of gay male relationships and friendships."
Hartford Courant
"This isn't a story of interest only to gays. This is a family drama...and its life lessons enrich The Men from the Boys. An absorbing, cleverly paced story of love and friendship."
Gay & Lesbian Review Harvard
"Both intimate and sprawling in scope. Few novels have rendered so convincingly the intricacies of gay life at the close of the 20th century."
Bay Review
"Witty, erotic, philosophical, tear-jerking, occasionally tragic and ultimately uplifting...resonates with a powerful emotional honesty that is sure to strike a chord with readers. Mann has populated Jeff's world with fully realized, immediately identifiable characters who soon seem like old friends."
Kirkus Reviews
A charming, extended family of Boston gay men pursue the true meaning of passion.

Jeff O'Brien, 32, is caught between "the boom and the X generations, pre- and post-Stonewall, positive and negative, young and old." He's been with his lover, Lloyd, for seven years, and each has embarked on a premature midlife crisis. The two have a sexually open relationship, but when Lloyd declares his need for even more space, Jeff is thrown into an emotional tailspin. (In one of several fine ironies, Lloyd flees to pursue a dream of spiritual transcendence, but it's Jeff who ends up experiencing it.) Jeff seeks solace from Javitz, a 47-year-old former lover, now dying of AIDS, who acts as a sort of wise elder, and from Eduardo, 22, the Provincetown native with whom Jeff thinks he's in love. After much anguished introspection, everybody finds a unique definition of passion, rooted in love and commitment, to replace idealized notions of endless sexual hunger. Meanwhile, Mann offers all one might ask for in gay fiction: solid, believable characters who reflect the ethnic, class, and generational diversity of the community; witty, ribald conversation that sounds the way people actually speak; laugh lines that are funny and sex scenes that are hot. The contemporary preoccupations of gay men are probed with rare insight: Can new families be created without renouncing the old ones? Do youth and looks have to be fetishized? What is safe sex? Can friends be lovers? Is the waning of sexual passion inevitable? The complicated flashback structure, alternating between Boston and Provincetown over a two-year period, is also deftly handled.

A nice blend of romance and comedy, and a thoughtful contribution to the search for an ethics of gay relationships. An impressive debut.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780452278561
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 6/28/1998
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.58 (w) x 8.12 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

William J. Mann is the critically acclaimed author of Wisecracker: The Life and Times of William Haines, Hollywood’s First Openly Gay Star, as well as The Biograph Girl and the novel The Men from the Boys. He is a contributor to Architectural Digest, The Boston Phoenix, and The Advocate.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

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(5)

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Best Book I've Ever Read!

    I rated a 4 for gift giving because it all depends on who you're giving the book to. But, in general, this book is all about what it takes to make a relationship, losing your friends, the transition from 80s to the 90s, and being scared of being alone. It's about a changing character who anyone could relate to. I probably bought it most of all because of the sex scenes I spotted in it, but actually, what I got was a hell of a lot more than just rutting on a couple of pages. It taught me what AIDS does to people and their friends and families, that using a condom really is a life saver, and friends really are your family.

    William J. Mann has this amazing author's voice that made me want to experience my own Boston romance, that made me want to be beside the characters and laugh along with them, that made me want to go to P-town for at least a vacation. It shows that being comfortable isn't always a good thing and change isn't always bad, that being in a relationship takes communication, commitment, and empathy. It has some of the most beautiful moments that will either have you crying or jumping out of your seat with a happy squeal.

    I never wanted it to end.

    I seriously recommend this book- for gays or anyone. It's insightful, it's heartbreaking, and it's truly a masterpiece. Enough said.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2005

    A GREAT NOVEL FROM A GREAT AUTHOR

    Although I liked the sequel ''where the boys are'' more than I liked this book,I still thought this was another one of William's masterpiece's.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2003

    Best Book I read this Year.

    Mr, Mann, the author of this book understands at least one thing. There is more than one kind of gay man in the universe. This book covers most of them and their entangled lives. The vain, the young, the fat, the loud & proud, the preppy, the insecure and the cocky. This book gave me a new out look.It was an enjoyable read. Be forewarned: the character(s) the author may want you to feel the most for may be the one's you recognize as the one's you despise in your own life.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2000

    The people are real in this book

    Mr, Mann, the author of this book understands at least one thing. There is more than one kind of gay man in the universe. This book covers most of them and their entangled lives. The vain, the young, the fat, the loud & proud, the preppy, the insecure and the cocky. This book didn't take me to a 'higher place' but all the same it was an enjoyable read. Be forewarned: the character(s) the author may want you to feel the most for may be the one's you recognize as the one's you despise in your own life.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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