A Question of Manhood

A Question of Manhood

by Robin Reardon

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780758262769
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 10/01/2010
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 1,116,913
File size: 390 KB

About the Author

Robin Reardon is an inveterate observer of human nature and has been writing forever—childish songs, poems, little plays. More recent efforts include short stories, creative non-fiction, and novels for and about teenagers. By day Robin works as a communications manager for an international financial institution, writing, editing the work of others, and creating strategic communications approaches specializing in intranet delivery of internal communications. Interests outside of writing include singing, photography, and the study of comparative religions. Robin writes in a butter yellow study with a view of the Boston, Massachusetts, skyline.

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A Question of Manhood 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
saffron12 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I received this Early Reviewer book and read it right away, but neglected to post a review until now!. It was an easy book get into reading, but not really an easy book to read. It is the coming of age story of a boy in the 1970s who finds out that his revered older brother, killed in Vietnam, was gay. So what does it mean to be a man? Does Paul tell his parents what he has discovered about his brother? Does he stand up to his father?
ilbooklvr on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This was truly a book I couldn't put down. In 1972, Paul's older brother is fighting in Vietnam. While home on leave, he tells Paul that he is gay. Shortly after returning his brother is killed. Reardon shows us the family's grieving process very realistically. The subplot of dog training and showing your confidence only added to the book. All the characters were well-developed and believable.
ChristianR on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I received this as an Early Reviewer book. I quickly became quite caught up in the characters and the storyline, and think it's a fantastic book. Paul's brother Chris is serving in the Army during the Vietnam War. Paul adores Chris, even though he thinks Chris has always been the golden child to their parents. On a short break home Chris reveals to Paul that he is gay and makes him promise not to tell their parents. When he returns to Vietnam, he is killed. Paul, who was floored by the news of his brother's homosexuality, struggles with his feelings about Chris while also blaming his father for pushing him into the army. Over the summer Paul works in his father's pet supply store. He's both freaked out and admiring of a new employee, JJ, who he suspects is gay but who also is amazing at training out of control dogs -- bringing Paul's assumptions about manhood into conflict. His father, who he knows is extremely homophobic, is in awe of JJ's skills with dogs, but clueless about his homosexuality.There are so many ways that an author can go wrong with a book like this, but Robin Reardon did a great job. The people were believable and I think she was true to the time period.
mesmericrevelation on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This book is amazing. There are times I loved it and other times when I wanted to toss it out the window because it was making me so angry. I have a feeling this book is going to stick with me for a really long time. I will be re-reading this one at some point. I may even re-read it a few times because it is just that good.This book is really hard for me to review. I just can't seem to express how incredible it is. This is one that everyone needs to read. So since it's coming out in a couple of days, the 21st, make sure to pick it up!
macsbrains on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I see so many book labelled or tagged with "coming of age" that it almost doesn't have any meaning anymore, so, title aside, I found myself surprised to find it so clearly evident in the book. The teen protagonist, Paul, actually learns something about himself, and about life, and he learns it realistically, through hard work and tough thought.I think the characterization was very well done. The grief was really palpable and Paul's grieving was one of the strongest aspects of the novel. I also thought the author's use of the dog training to describe relationships with people to be very interesting, but I am an animal-lover and I think that if I weren't I might have found all the exposition about dogs and dog behavior to be very tedious. (Luckily, I lapped it up.)Overall, I think it was a solid novel that would be good teen discussion material for its focus on identity and becoming who you are rather than who other people think you are or want you to be, or even how you think you are when you're deluding yourself.My one main problem with the novel is that although I sympathized with Paul's grief, and understood the frustraion of mixed signals from parents, I ultimately just didn't like him very much.
kissmeimgone on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This book was simply amazing I must say. Paul Landon is faced with internal conflict when his brother Chris dies in the Vietnam War and he's left to carry the burden of two secrets his brother told him before he went back to Vietnam during his leave. I recommend this book to everyone, espescially 12+. A definite page turner and a new favorite of mine.
willowcove on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I absolutely loved Robin Reardon¿s newest book, ¿A Question of Manhood.¿ Not only was it a different type of ¿coming out¿ story, but it was also thought provoking in an unusual way. Instead of living through Chris, the young man dealing with his sexuality, the reader lives through the gay man¿s brother. This brother, Paul, has always revered his older brother, until now. Now he is repulsed by his brother¿s admission. After this sad and poignant coming-out scene, Chris returns to Vietnam and is sadly killed in action. The remainder of the book deals with Paul¿s thoughts and feelings. Should he have been more sympathetic? Should he have told his parents? Why can¿t he still feel the love and admiration he once felt for his big brother? The turning point in Paul¿s dilemma is when he is forced to work with J.J., a gay employee at his father¿s pet supply store. The discomfort between the two boys is frustrating, disturbing, and completely realistic. Slowly but surely however, Paul finally begins to understand and accept JJ, and thereby finally comes to terms with his feeling for his brother as well. An insightful, easy read; highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a really good book. It would've been a great book but for one aspect. It contained what should have been a subplot about dog training. I understand the metaphoric purpose of this subplot. The problem is that the "subplot" really took over probably half the book. It became the main plot for most of the second half of the book, except for the very, very end when it went back to the father-son(s) dynamic. I understand the point of this sub-plot and its role in advancing the greater story. It was just far too much of the book. Nevertheless, the human part of the story was very powerful, well-crafted and, like any well-crafted story, with a few surprises. The voice of the main character was very good.
MichaelTravisJasper More than 1 year ago
This is an unusual young adult novel focusing on gay subject matter. It is different from the norm, in that the story is told from the point of view of a straight teenage boy. The plot focuses on him coming to terms with having a gay brother, and learning to be friends with a gay boy working in his dad’s pet supply store. The book is set in the era of the Vietnam War, so American society is much less tolerant and informed about homosexuality. Much is explored about why people feel about gay men as they do, and what it means to “be a man.” The story seemed a bit simple when it began, but as it progressed, I really like the way feelings and perceptions were considered and analyzed. This novel has some important things to say. It might be helpful to any boy learning to accept gay family or friends. Michael Travis Jasper, Author of the Novel “To Be Chosen”
clayson4908 More than 1 year ago
An amazing story ... this story touch my heart on so many levels ... THANK YOU!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Joanna_Terrero More than 1 year ago
A fact worth noting is this book is not about being a gay teenager. The main character, Paul, is straight and his own sexuality, it's never questioned. This is his journey toward tolerance of others' homosexuality.Paul faces a difficult relationship with his parents, increased by the guilty loving hating one with his dead brother, Christ. And the secret he took to his grave. A secret he confessed to Paul shortly before dying. Paul struggles with his memories, and the fact that being gay, makes Christ, not so perfect after all. Sadly, he cannot tell his parents, who worship Christ's memory. Ignoring how Paul languishes in the shadow of a brother who he will be never able to surpass. Paul's brief encounter with a prostitute gets him in trouble with the law, his father confines him at home, only allowing him to work at his pet supply store during the summer. Paul's duties include training JJ, the new employee, who seems nearly perfect and who is also gay. Paul is overjealous of JJ's qualities, and the admiration his own father has for him. Eventually, an unexpected friendship joins Paul and JJ, who will teach Paul, among other things, that manhood and sexual preferences are two completely different issues. The story intimate narrative reads as a biography, and there are moments when Paul comes across as selfish and biased. Other times, he is vulnerable and grief-stricken, inspiring sympathy. The author brilliantly uses the training of aggressive dogs as a vehicle for JJ to show his wisdom and sensibility, while Paul learns about confidence, patient, respect and friendship. The moment of truth in the book, when Paul has to stand up and protect JJ, is heartbreaking. Paul finally understands Chris' life choices. Being written in first person, we never get a chance to know how JJ, the gay character in the book really feels. Yes, there are a couple of glances, but only through Paul's perspective. I would have liked to have JJ's inner thoughts too. Maybe we will, I have the feeling he might get a book by the way this one ends.
bigbearphx More than 1 year ago
Before returning Viet Nam after a brief leave in November 1972, Chris Landon came out as gay to his 16 year old brother, Paul, and made him promise not to tell anyone else. While Paul loved his brother, he was also somewhat jealous of his father's constant boasting of him as the "perfect" son, which implied Paul was significantly less so. He was tempted to tell his father about Chris' revelation, though he kept the promise he had made. While Paul was still working through his feelings about Chris' sexuality, the word came that Chris was killed in action, while trying to rescue several other soldiers in his unit who were injured by enemy fire. The entire family was stunned, with Paul especially upset in that he blamed his father's constant "be a man" talks for Chris having enlisted in the first place, which resulted in his death. The emotional riff between father and son increased, as Paul was forced to work in the family pet supply store, and was not allowed to have the money or time to have much of a social life. Meanwhile, JJ, a college student who was hired at the store, seemed to replace Chris as Paul's father's ideal young man, as he showed an unique ability in training aggressive dogs belonging to customers. When Paul discovered JJ was gay, he began to further resent the newcomer. Ms. Reardon is the author of two previous novels about gay teen's coming-of-age, but outdid herself here with a realistic and relatable story that demonstrates multiple perspectives on homosexuality. I was especially impressed by her brilliantly simplistic analogy of dog "pack mentality" to explain why some straight men react to openly-gay individuals as if they were a threat to them. Much recommended reading, and a great gift for a family going through such revelations. Five stars out of five. - Bob Lind, Echo Magazine