The Men from the Boys

The Men from the Boys

4.8 6
by William J. Mann
     
 

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The Men from the Boys is William J. Mann's savvy and sizzling novel about gay life in the nineties. It is also a story about sex -- safe sex, casual sex, real sex -- and love -- young lovers, old lovers, ex-lovers, falling in love, and staying in love.

Thirty-pluse freelance writer Jeff O'Brien panics when Lloyd, his partner of seven years, announces that

Overview

The Men from the Boys is William J. Mann's savvy and sizzling novel about gay life in the nineties. It is also a story about sex -- safe sex, casual sex, real sex -- and love -- young lovers, old lovers, ex-lovers, falling in love, and staying in love.

Thirty-pluse freelance writer Jeff O'Brien panics when Lloyd, his partner of seven years, announces that there's no passion left in their relationship. But something even more invidious is about to rock Jeff's world: the imminent death of his 47-year-old ex-lover, Javitz, the activist who taught him the difference between Blanche Hudson and Blanche DuBois. Now Javitz has asked for one last summer in Provincetown, where Jeff once tricked with ravishing 22-year-old Eduardo in an unforgettable one-night stand. Suddenly, Jeff's life is a dizzying place filled with illicit desires, betrayals, broken promises, and everything that redefines such things as family, friends, and love -- both for himself and for gay generations to come. Witty and insightful, edgy and erotic, this is the story of what separates the men from the boys.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780525943358
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
06/01/1997
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
6.42(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.16(d)

What People are saying about this

David Bergman
"A bittersweet, carefully observed romance... This is the warmest-hearted account I have yet to read of both how we live now and how we might live in the future." -- Editor of Men on Men series
Douglas Sadownick
"An erotic, riverting page-turner. As sexy as it's relevant. Offers a profound statement about the state of evolving gay relationships at the end of the millennium. You must read this delightful book of our time." -- Author of Sacred Lips of the Bronx
Paul Russell
"Man charts with a steady compass one young man's journey through the bewildering landscape of desire and dread that is contemporary gay life. There's much passion here, and pain and anger and morality, and yes, sex too, and finally a wisdom so generous it makes the heart ache. The reach of gay relationships across generations -- the complex legacies we both receive from and bestow on one another -- has seldom been so richly explored. A magnificent debut." -- Author of Sea of Tranquillity and Boys of Life

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Men from the Boys 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.