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Students, teachers, and anyone interested in gay studies and experiences will find that The Mentor: A Memoir of Friendship and Gay Identity (a 2001 Lambda Literary Foundation Gay Male Biography/Autobiography Award finalist) delivers a captivating and honest look into the challenges of growing up gay through the context of firsthand experiences, revelations, and realizations. This unique book is an intelligent and personal narrative that considers the social, religious, and emotional aspects of what it is like to grow up as a gay male in the south and examines the enormous social changes regarding homosexuality that have taken place in America during the last half of the century.
Written to reveal the importance of the author's mentor in helping him form his self-identity and educating him about being gay, this book challenges the stereotypical idea that, unlike heterosexuals, gay men are not able to form nurturing, fulfilling bonds between themselves. The Mentor delivers an inspiring story about accepting and understanding your sexuality with the help and guidance of other men who have traveled the road to a successful gay identity.
This unique book offers the courage, strength, and support of a mentor to help guide you through the trials that many young gay men experience, such as:
Posted May 19, 2000
The process of acknowledging and accepting one¿s gay identity has never been easy¿at any time, in any place¿but it is frequently more difficult in the South, with its entrenched conservative familial, religious, and social strictures. THE MENTOR traces the path of one man, part-time surfer, part-time construction worker, full-time Southerner, as he recognizes, embraces, and ultimately balances the imperatives of his burgeoning gay identity with the values and demands of his Baptist upbringing on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It¿s a difficult journey, marked by false starts, dead ends, and disappointments, but ultimately illuminated by the joy of self-discovery and self-acceptance.The word mentor originates in the story of Odysseus, whose son, Telemachus, was counseled by an old family friend, Mentor, during his father¿s absence. Throughout his personal emotional/sexual odyssey, author Jay Quinn finds wisdom and comfort in his relationship with an older gay man, Joe Riddick. He also takes solace from an extended gay family, a common occurrence in gay life, when gay friends replace the blood kin who have rejected gay offspring or siblings.These concepts¿an established gay man helping a younger one adjust to a sometimes troublesome sexual identity, a family of choice replacing a family of birth¿are not unusual in the gay world. What makes Quinn¿s narrative remarkable is his willingness to reveal himself completely¿to strip away the comfortable patina of political correctness to reveal his raw emotions, ravenous needs, and sometimes disquieting choices¿while detailing his pursuit of the things most ¿straight¿ people take for granted: love, acceptance, affirmation. For me, the pivotal scene in the book takes place in the chapter ¿Hunters and Gatherers,¿ when Quinn, now somewhat older and wiser, rejects the advances of a man in the parking lot of an all-night grocery store. He is obviously attracted to the man who sees him purely as sexual quarry¿that much is clear by his description¿but he has been down that road many times before and sees and understands it for what it frequently is: an erotic bonanza but an emotional dead end. And in that moment, he (and the reader) understands, viscerally and well as cerebrally, what it means to be a man, not a gay man, but a MAN, a human, a person of depth, character, complexity, and responsibility. That is Jay Quinn¿s personal homecoming, and it is one that many gay men will identify with and many more will yearn for. Quinn¿s writing is smart and sexy, earthy and erudite. He offers a window into his soul and, if we are smart enough to use it, a mirror into our own.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 11, 2000
Jay Quinn's 'The Mentor' is an overwhelmingly intimate and revealing portrait of a gay man's path to a reasoned and mature adulthood. While southern in its setting, it is revelant to growing up gay anywhere in the US. BRAVO!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.