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"Hello," I Lied

3.5 4
by M. E. Kerr
 

An Unforgettable Summer

When sixteen-year-old Lang has the chance to spend the summer at the ritzy East Hampton estate of retired rock star Ben Nevada, he's pretty sure that it will be the summer of a lifetime. But what Lang doesn't expect is that in addition to hobnobbing with the rich and famous of the rock world, he'll find himself coming out about his

Overview

An Unforgettable Summer

When sixteen-year-old Lang has the chance to spend the summer at the ritzy East Hampton estate of retired rock star Ben Nevada, he's pretty sure that it will be the summer of a lifetime. But what Lang doesn't expect is that in addition to hobnobbing with the rich and famous of the rock world, he'll find himself coming out about his homosexuality to his childhood friends, reevaluating his relationship with his boyfriend, Alex, and-most surprising of all-falling in love with a girl.

From the award-winning author of DELIVER US FROM EVIE, this is a powefully moving novel of a young man's struggle to come to terms with his sexuality, his emotions, and ultimately himself.

When sixteen-year-old Lang has the chance to spend the summer at the ritzy East Hampton estate of retired rock star Ben Nevada, he's pretty sure that it will be the summer of a lifetime. But what Lang doesn't expect is that in addition to hobnobbing with the rich and famous of the rock world, he'll find himself coming out about his homosexuality to his childhood friends, reevaluating his relationship with his boyfriend, Alex, and—most surprising of all—falling in love with a girl.

From the award-winning author of Deliver is From Evie, this is a powerfully moving novel of a young man's struggle to come to terms with his sexuality, his emotions and ultimately himself.

Author Biography:

M.E. Kerr is a winner of the American Library Association's Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the 2000 ALAN award from the National Council of Teachers of English. She lives in East Hampton, New York, and remembers clearly the hometown boy who chosenot to fight when all the other young men, including her brother, were marching off to war.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A gay teenager contemplates coming out and finds himself attracted to a French girl. "With its addictive combination of absorbing themes and glamorous setting, Kerr's newest stands up to the best of her oeuvre," said PW in a starred review. Ages 12-up. (May)
Children's Literature - Donna Freedman
The subject of this book-homosexuality-may turn off young male readers, which would be a shame because its young male protagonist is so realistic and likable. Lang Penner is summering in the Hamptons because his mom has a job housekeeping for a reclusive former rock star. Lang is involved in a secret relationship and tired of pretending to be just like his straight friends. He misses his boyfriend fiercely and can't wait for summer to be over. When the rock star wants him to entertain his visiting goddaughter, Lang is at first resentful and later glad, as the girl turns out to be a quirky, notable friend. As their relationship subtly changes, Lang begins to question his true nature. Yet this is NOT a book in which a gay character is "reformed" by the love of a beautiful girl. Instead, it's an examination of all kinds of love, betrayal, values and renewed hope.
The ALAN Review - Kay Parks Bushman
In a groundbreaking novel, M. E. Kerr once again tackles the issue of homosexuality-but this time from the point of view of a male. Spending the summer in the Hamptons, seventeen-year-old Lang Penner and his mother have moved into the caretakers' cottage owned by rock star Ben Nevada. Although Lang's mother has resigned herself to the fact that her son is gay, Lang struggles with how to break this fact to his long-time friends who have come to visit. Then the struggle increases when Nevada's teenage houseguest Huguette arrives, and Lang becomes surprisingly infatuated with her. How will he explain these feelings to his friend Alex? Portraying difficult issues, realistic dialogue, and a rock music world, this book should become widely read and profoundly discussed by mature teens. HarperCollins,
School Library Journal
Gr 10 UpLang Penner, 17, spends the summer on Long Island, where his mother is working for Ben Nevada, a wealthy retired rock star. Lang's lover, Alex, is pressing him to live openly as a homosexual and quit dissembling. The title pretty well sums up Lang's actual strategy. He slowly grows more open about his sexuality but becomes deeply attached to Huguette, a young woman from France whose parents have sent her to spend the summer with their friend Nevada. Lang is so smitten that he'd "always think of it as the summer that I loved a girl," after their one and only night of love-making. This is M. E. Kerr, so Hello, I Lied is sharp, funny, and vivid. The trouble with it is that Kerr's previous book covering the same territory, Deliver Us from Evie (HarperCollins, 1994), has a narrative drive so powerful that Lang's inconclusive summer pales in comparison. Evie's story, told from her brother's point of view, leaves readers room to breathe. Lang's first-person narrative is awkward and overt. In the earlier title, Patsy Duff, Evie's lover, barely appears and has only a few lines, yet is completely believable. Huguette drives Hello's plot, yet she never lifts off the page. Not much happens in the story, and the plot meanders.Kathy Fritts, Jesuit High School, Portland, OR
Kirkus Reviews
Trust M.E. Kerr (Deliver Us From Evie, 1994, etc.) to put a new twist on an old story: "I know that I'd always think of it as the summer that I loved a girl," Lang, the narrator, concludes ruefully. But Lang is solidly and happily gay, although, unlike his lover, Alex, he can't quite bring himself to be public about it. He moves with his mother to the caretaker's cottage on a retired rock star's Long Island estate, to "help out, hide out, cool out, come out." He finds himself saddled with an unwelcome duty when his employer enlists him as a "safe" chaperone for Huguette, a long-dead band member's daughter who has been hastily flown over from France to break up a teenage infatuation. Hanging out with Huguette, an Audrey Hepburn look-alike with cute, accented English, Lang not only gets a taste of life in a rarefied social stratum, but begins to develop strange—for him—feelings; meanwhile, as he nerves himself to come out to his school friends, he pines for Alex, and on their infrequent dates, not only gets a taste of gay society, but experiences the gamut of public reactions. When Lang and Huguette do end up in bed together, both recognize it as an end rather than a beginning.

Written in Kerr's blithe style, this is an urbane story with a bit of an edge, a likably confused protagonist, and some deftly inserted information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780064471930
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/31/1998
Edition description:
REPRINT
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
(w) x 6.75(h) x (d)
Lexile:
650L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Some people said I'd never see him. Very few had seen him in ten years. That was when he quit playing, writing, performing-quit everything. Retired at thirty two. Not burned out like some rockers. just finished.

Ben Nevada was a star like Elvis, John Lennon, Dylan, or Mick Jagger. Even if he wasn't around anymore, the name would be, the fame would be. He said it himself in "Flame."

Let the fame go,
Let the game go,
But the flame glows,
And the fire grows,
I'm a fire!

We moved to Roundelay on Memorial Day weekend. You couldn't even see his house from ours, although we were at the same address.

We had the caretaker's cottage. It was down by the road near the gate, where the rottweilers lunged against the fence with their teeth bared, five of them, wearing red collars with silver spikes.

He'd never named them. He had a theory that if you named something, you grew fond of it. If you got fond of dogs, next thing you brought them into your house. He didn't want them in there. He already had three house dogs, all of them chows.

The rottweilers weren't pets. They were guards. He called them A, B, C, D, and E. He fed them himself. He drove down in his black Range Rover and tossed chunks of beef into their bowls. "Eat up!" he'd snarl at them. That was so they knew he was their master. He didn't scratch their ears, pet them, or let them walk with him. He just watched them eat.

He knew A was the fat one, and C was the one who waited for the others to eat before he would. He knew their ways. But he saved his affection for the chows.

I'd been told all that by Franklin, thehouseman.

"If you see him feeding the dogs, just take off. You probably won't be up that early, anyway, but %if you ever are, get lost!"

Of course, I saw him all the time on tape.

I'll never forget the first time.

Remember "Night in the Sun"? Remember his entrance?

He came out wearing black leather thigh-high boots, red silk jockey shorts, and a long black leather trenchcoat. He wore a big gold star on a gold chain around his neck. Backing him up was his killer band: Bobby Dale on guitar, the Matero twins on keyboards. I can't remember who was on bass, but Twist was on drums.

The song lasted five minutes and ended with him down on his knees, leaning backward all the way to the floor on this darkened stage with the overhead spotlight focused on him.

I never saw anything like it.

Even if I hadn't been a rock fan, I would have remembered that performance. You don't have to know anything about rock to be moved by it. All you need is eyes and ears and some connection with the human race. If you never had a heart, you grew one, listening to that husky voice wrenching out the words.

You wondered how he could put all that out there, come up with those moves, tap into everything you never knew was buried deep inside you. You wondered if he knew what he was causing you to feel, if he cared or didn't care, if he was aiming at you or just letting go some wild stuff he couldn't hold back if he wanted to.

The audience went crazy.

Even on tape you could feel yourself part of it. I almost cried. I did laugh. Hard. It was the first time I ever understood the pull of a Jesus or a Hitler. First time I ever knew what made people scream when a Magic ran out on the basketball court, or a Martina whacked a tennis ball across the net.... It made me appreciate what got into groupies, fans, worshippers, and followers.

So it was Ben Nevada who gave me my first real taste of charisma.

You can imagine how I felt when Mom told me who she was going to work for that summer.

I was seventeen going on eighteen.

After school was over in New York, I'd be living there full-time, too.

I was going to help out, do odd jobs, and five nights a week I'd be a waiter at Sob Story on the Montauk Highway.

Help out, hide out, cool out, come out-all four things at once.

That was the trouble that summer.

About all I was sure of was my name: Lang Penner.

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"Hello," I Lied 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Some years you can look back and easily identify it by something that happened that year. Lang Penner was different than most, but on the outside he appeared to be a normal guy who just didn't seem to find a great interest in girls. only there was no 'seem' about it, Lang was homosexual but couldn't seem to get the whole 'gay pride' thing down as his boyfriend, Alex, did. He had come out to his mom but it took that summer before he could come out to even his closest friends. The only problem was...he wasn't feeling as completely gay as he had before. Mostly because his mom's employer had asked him to hang out with his friends daughter, he hadn't meant to, but how can you refuse a famous rock-star who is now retired, and his charming daughter? The more involved he becomes with them the more he questions his own homosexuality and his belief that there is no true bisexual person. Could he really be falling in love with a girl? And more importantly is it lying to just not mention the fact that your gay? This summer will be one he will never forget.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was pretty cool. I read it for a book report because i had to choose a book, but it turned out to be a lot better then i thought. i would recommend it to anyone who needs to learn about love.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a very good book. It examines homosexuality without resentment or commendation. I've always preferred first-person narratives because they get more deeply into the persons feelings and thoughts. I spent the entire book mad at Huguette because she was so manipulative without meaning to be. They didn't have as much of Alex as I'd've liked. But the plot was intricate and intelligent. Personally, I did not come to love that French brat, but I bet a lot of people would react differently to her place. I know the intention was not make it seem as though Lang was being 'reformed', but that's how it felt. I would give it a higher score, the book itself was good, but I despise her. I absolutely do. Also, I just finished reading it, so I haven't analyzed everything yet.