Thursday, January 11, 2007

That review I didn't think was published in We the People? It was published... just not in the electronic version of the newspaper. My wonderful, generous editor was nice enough to send me a dead tree version, and it's there, along with a review of some random dog book featuring stories by random bloggers writers.

By the way, regarding Dumbass Barry, you guys are too funny. In all seriousness, I wasn't quite as distraught as I led you to believe. A bit annoyed, yes, but half-assed criticism goes with the territory. I have survived deeper cuts inflicted by a reviewer fron Publishers Weekly, remember, as well as what seemed at times like a jihad against Trust Fund Boys (well, I liked it, and Crash liked it, so screw the rest of you), so I can survive Dumbass Barry.

Still, you rallied. Without even being asked. Barry's review has now been deemed helpful by 12.5% of the respondents. I assume that one person was Barry himself, since -- after the counter-offensive began -- someone went through the Amazon page and negatively rated all the positive reviews. Whatever. I will ultimately get the last word, because *cough* I write novels, and I'm always looking for names for characters. Names like, oh, 'Barry.' From Boston. Not that I'm thinking of getting all Crichton on his ass...

Oh, who am I kidding? Of course I'm thinking of getting all Crichton on his ass. Heh.

In other -- yet related -- news, thanks to Jess for the very nice review. Also, my buddy (and "Number One fan in West Texas") JAK from El Paso is about to post his Amazon review, but he sent me this advance copy:
Noah Abraham is a promising young author, but his attempt to write an expose about closeted Congressional aids in Washington is failing miserably. No one wants to be interviewed on the record by him, and he has nothing to give his patient, but concerned publisher. Maybe the problem is not the aids, but Noah. As the son of a high profile attorney, Noah’s coming out process was smooth by any standard, and he has a very low tolerance for gays not as open about their sexuality as he is.

In the midst of his writing frustrations, Noah receives a phone call from his father’s wife, Tricia. Max, his father, has had a heart attack, and Noah must return to New York as soon as possible. Once back in the city, and assured of his father’s imminent recovery, Noah and Tricia go out for a much needed drink. At a gay club in the Village, he notices a handsome young man at the bar, but since he no longer lives in New York, Noah decides not to pursue the stranger. However, fate keeps the two men running into each other, and soon they’re out on a date.

Bart Gustafson is also passing through New York. He is employed as a personal assistant by an older gay couple in Southampton, and is simply on vacation. While Noah is sure that there is no chance for a relationship due to the distance in their lives, he can’t stop thinking about Bart, and decides to visit him at his employer’s home. The two men Bart works for are former movie star Quinn Scott and his lover of more than 34 years, Jimmy Beloit. Quinn is as gruff as Jimmy is charming, and Noah is immediately fascinated by them. Soon he’s come up with an alternative idea to replace his failed expose, a biography of Quinn that explores his past career, his marriage to super-star Kitty Randolph, and how he gave it all up for the love of Jimmy.

With this, his third novel, Rob Byrnes has given his readers an incredibly well written book about coming out of the closet, and the consequences of so doing. The demeanor of the story is lighthearted and romantic, and yet the subject matter is both sensitive and thought provoking, something not easily achieved. Byrnes delivers a novel full of hidden depth and pathos, brimming with beautifully expressed points of view. He provides a wonderful example of how the bravery of older gay men has shaped the landscape for those who have followed, and how true love can make any situation bearable.

WHEN THE STARS COME OUT was easily the best book I read in 2006, and I can’t recommend it strongly enough. If Rob Byrnes never writes another word, heaven forbid, this fantastic novel will forever give testament to his keen understanding of the modern gay world, and how it came to be.

Five (*****) Brilliant and Dazzling STARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I can live with that review.