As much as I read fiction, I also make sure to look through for non-fiction and memoirs to extract insights, awareness and personal views. Becoming a Man, is about the (half) life story of the author in the 50’s from a small New England town. A boy who earns scholarship, straight A’s and shines in social and literary pursuits, who all the while keep a secret from himself and for the rest of the world. Paul struggles to live a life of a normal guy or at least imitate a straight man through his scholar life and finally saved, by a longtime dream, “the thing I’d never even seen: two men in love and laughing.” The memoir starts with rage and rants for the misunderstanding the world offers the struggle to come out and ends with being hopeful.
What I loved about the author’s memoir is his ideas and how he writes his sentences so well which makes me just nods in anything he says and wants to share my personal views. It evokes in me a feeling to explain for myself, to ask, and to hope for the better. Like why one has to come-out in time and not just after birth? Okay, I just got carried away.
The author’s memoir is an eloquent and heartbreaking work of art that speaks not of the author himself but for an entire generation of gay men. Reading the memoir (regardless of your sexual orientation) makes the reader understand ones journey and the courage required to negotiate it. Becoming a Man, won the 1992 National Book Award for Nonfiction. I recommend the book to everyone.
Opening Sentence: Everybody else had a childhood, for one thing-where they were coaxed and coached and taught all the shorthand.
Ending Sentence: And from that moment on the brink of summer’s end, no one would ever tell me again that men like me couldn’t love.