“It’s people like Mama and me, I guess, who like to make the regular happenings in our town—like what happened to Joshua and David—sound like myth. There are those who doubt the veracity of my words. But I know. I was there.”
So begins the voice of Eric Gottlund in Jim Provenzano’s latest novel, Now I’m Here, as he begins his tale of how two boys discovered, lost, and then found each other again in the small town of Serene, Ohio, in the 1970s and ’80s. It is both pointed and poignant. As the town’s history is slowly erased by fading memories and encroaching suburbia, Eric brings back to life the two friends who showed him what true courage is. Fighting religious intolerance, small-mindedness, “rehabilitation therapy,” the lure of fame, and the heartbreak of AIDS, the two boys grow into men before our eyes. And through their love of each other and rock’n’roll—and the English rock group Queen in particular—Joshua and David breathe life back into their home town, if only for a while.