Full Circle

Full Circle

by Michael Thomas Ford

Paperback(Reprint)

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Full Circle 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
GayMindCandyLover More than 1 year ago
While most Gay Authors leave something to desire in there depiction of the overall gay experience, Ford always manages to hit the nail right on the head. Once you read this book, you will want to check out other titles by Ford, Including: Changing Tides, Last Summer, and his soon to be released new title. Ford is a master of expressing the true feelings and emotions that any gay and lesbian could have. The reader is left with the feeling that he or she knows the characters intimately, and you begin to care about them as if they are you friends. You will find this to be a great read, a quick one, but Mind candy is always good! I also recommend My Big Fat Queer Life! It's like having a dialogue with Ford himself. I found it to be irreverent, hysterical, and an intimate look at queer life through the eyes of the author, Michael Thomas Ford! Happy Reading Everyone!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The main characters of Ned, Jack & Andy are very compelling. Ned and Jack are friends from birth things get complicated as they reach college at the start of the draft for the Vietnam Conflict. These interactions are all aces. We are introduced to Andy at college and get to see some Vietnam reality...also all aces. Ned returns to 70's San Francisco...more good 'of the moment.' But here is where it stalled for me...PLEASE DON'T GET ME WRONG...I was physically incapable of putting this book down. But the 80's & 90's were a boar, Ford chronicles some of the fear, does a nice job on the reality of the 80's but doesn't use the characters to their fullest...the story seemed to get drawn out at that point and I just wanted Ned and Jack back. Their story is where it started and I needed more Ned and Jack to feel satisfied. Is it a good read...oh yeah. It is insightful of gay life of 60's-90's and shows a slice of 'the moment' to be gay and on the scene. Oh, something need to mention...I loved about this is that there were some sex scenes...but only as graphic as necessary, always appropriate to the story...not gratuitous sex...I just hate to see gay fiction turned into another quick short story book of porn...leave it to the porn publishers. Thank you Michael Thomas Ford, I enjoyed this read Greg L.
Guest More than 1 year ago
FULL CIRCLE is one of those books that satisfies on many levels. First, it is a novel about the struggles facing gay men from childhood to advanced age in a manner that reads more like a non-biased fiction story than most gay novels. Second, author Michael Thomas Ford writes well, allowing his complex story to unfold in elegant prose that takes as much time embracing the beauty of living as it does in depicting the sour notes of existing. And third, it serves as a fine historical survey of life in the US from the 1960s through the end of the century - no mean feat in itself, but when woven so carefully with the intertwining lives of the three main characters it becomes a scrapbook of memories both good and bad of the times in which we have lived.The plot is well outlined but other reviewers: suffice it to say it is the story of two close friends - Ned and Jack - whose childhood needs and differences bond them in a union that accompanies them through the coming out phase in college, through the bliss of a relationship, through the introduction of a third 'straight' young college man Andy who focuses his life on living at the expense of others but eventually becomes their communal lover, and accompanies the new triad through the horrors of Vietnam, of life in San Francisco and the era of drugs and free sex, of AIDS, of loss of loved ones, of impaired relationships, of the sociopolitical climate that resulted in the Act Up phase, through the fears and problems of the 1990s. It is the resilience of this friendship that carries the book through all of its avenues of the experiences that life challenges us all to survive or succumb. If there is a flaw in this long novel it is the author's tendency for name dropping, as though mentioning Bernadette Peters and Ileana Cotrubas etc will lend credence to the story: for this reader that is unnecessary information flaunting. A minor point this, but one that stops the eye from the otherwise generously warm and fascinating flow of a story very much worth telling. Reading FULL CIRCLE does indeed drive the reader to a hunger for reading the author's other books, and that is always a solid marker for evaluating a book. Grady Harp
Guest More than 1 year ago
Rarely in today¿s mass-market paperback world does a reader have an opportunity to savor the depth and breadth of a novel like Michael Thomas Ford¿s ¿Full Circle¿. Epic in scope while intimate in story, ¿Full Circle¿ chronicles nearly six decades in the lives of two longtime friends and sometimes lovers and the enigmatic third wheel who becomes a driving force in their lives. Ned Brummel and Jack Grace are inseparable boyhood friends growing up in a 1950¿s middle-class Philadelphia suburb. As they enter adolescence, they add sexual exploration to the usual teenage pastimes of scouting, star gazing, and comic books and seal a seemingly impenetrable bond. As the boys morph into men and enter their formidable college years, they meet the free-spirited and sexually ambiguous Andy Kowalski. With the shadow of the Vietnam War looming, Andy becomes the catalyst for bittersweet lessons in loyalty, betrayal, expectations, sexual identity, and the lasting bonds of love and friendship. The book follows the three friends through the ensuing thirty years, as they encounter an eclectic and thoroughly believable cast of secondary characters who crisscross the various intersections of their lives. Ford, the author of the immeasurably pleasurable ¿Last Summer¿ and ¿Looking For It¿, has hit a creative stride with ¿Full Circle¿ and reaches a career highpoint in what those earlier novels promised to be an enduring literary career. ¿Full Circle¿ is a marvelous interweaving of page-turning fiction and gay history, where a memorable cast of characters weave in and out of a sweeping tapestry of imagined personal events set against an epic historical canvas. Indeed, history is at the core of ¿Full Circle¿, both in narrative and theme. Readers are treated to fascinating backdrops of war-torn Vietnam, San Francisco¿s golden-age of sexual liberation, and AIDS-ravaged New York while celebrating the lives of the characters who live, love, and die amidst the history unfolding all around them. Ford has an uncanny talent for creating moments of candid intimacy, as in the heartbreakingly poignant scene where Ned¿s homosexuality is finally acknowledged by his mother. The poignancy of the novel is balanced with tongue-in-cheek nods to pop culture that harken back to Ford¿s earlier writings, and it is a pure joy to watch the characters marvel at the shoulder-padded delight of ¿Dynasty¿ or discover a serialized newspaper column about an unconventional group of San Franciscans written by a guy named Maupin. But at the heart of Ford¿s skillful blend of sentimentality, history, and humor is the idea of community and how gay men, in particular, come to rely on the steadfastness of that kinship with others that stretches beyond biological families. With ¿Full Circle¿, Ford graduates from the ubiquitous ¿beach read¿ literary category to the more meritorious ¿rainy weekend read¿. And, at the end of this accomplished novel, readers will undoubtedly pray for more rain.
fingerpost on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My take on "Full Circle" may be different from most others as it is a novel clearly intended for a gay male audience. As a hetero male, I would naturally read it differently. I have a brother who is gay, and several close friends who are gay, which I suppose influenced my decision to read the book in the first place."Full Circle" is written in a memoir-like style. It is very easy to feel close to the narrator, Ned. He is likeable, somewhat reserved most of the time, and usually looking out for the welfare of his friends and lovers over his own. The story opens in the present - 2007 I suppose, since that was it's publication date - with Ned nearing 60 years old, living a quiet peaceful life in Maine with his partner Thayer. He has shut out his past for many years, but a phone call from his childhood best friend, and first lover, Jack, sends him into emotional turmoil, and he tells Thayer his life story. The story can be broken into several segments: childhood, adolescence and discovery of his homosexuality (late 50s early 60s), college, service in Vietnam, living the gay lifestyle of San Francisco in the 70's, coping with the AIDS crisis in New York in the 80's, and then we skip the 90s and return to the present as Ned finishes telling the story to his partner, and goes off to Chicago to face his demons and conclude the book.I was born in 1965, so the character of Ned was a little ahead of me. In addition to the great story, I learned a little about gay culture history in the US from the book. I read one negative critique that complained that Ned met everyone in gay history, was at every gay historical event, and lived every gay man's fantasies. I didn't know much about the San Francisco scene of the 70s, and during the 80s I recall the AIDS crisis as a tragic news event. But amazingly, to this day I don't know anyone who died from it or whose close loved ones died from it. Those chapters touched me the most. Ned volunteers for an organization that delivers lunches to home-bound AIDS patients in New York, and for several years he makes regular visits to John, a queen who lived for opera. Though a minor character, John's death was the saddest moment in the book for me, and left me in tears.We never get to know Thayer, which disappointed me. I immediately liked him in the opening chapter, but since Ned is telling his history to Thayer - there is no reason for him to relate the years that they had been together. I doubt there would be much appeal in "Full Circle" for most female or heterosexuals, but that's kind of sad. I feel like I have a slightly better understanding of what my brother and my gay friends have experienced emotionally in their lives, and since finishing the book a few days ago, I have frequently found myself thinking about its events and characters, which is surely a sign of good fiction.
silversurfer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A full scale epic journey of the friendship of two gay men, spanning 50 years, from early childhood, through their teens, adulthood and beyond. This is a grand, sweeping novel of friendship,love, laughter, tears and heartbrake in the tradition of FELICE PICANO's "LIKE PEOPLE IN HISTORY". Mr Ford writes with such honesty and truthful emotion that I found myself re-reading passages just for the beauty of his prose. This is a great book.
ElTomaso on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fictional memoir of a gay mans life. What a relief to find good gay literature that is not one more coming of age/teen angst love story!!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
a very heartwarming realistic story. I am glad that I did not grow up in the 50's or 60's