His real path forward is to learn to love himself despite the viciousness of society. Readers will be put through the ringer as Jamie strives to find and be himself in an era where even discussions of homosexuality were often still taboo. Jamie’s anxiety is infectious as he faces rejection of his confessions of love, plus psychology articles on “the homosexual panic,” tales of a gay cousin who embarrassed his family only to commit suicide, and vicious campus gossip regarding his sexuality. Only by recognizing and examining suppressed childhood trauma does Jamie come to understand his persistent need for acceptance … and begin to provide that same love for himself without outside support.
With rare power and disarming frankness, Taylor hones in on Jamie’s pain and struggle for acceptance, challenging readers to experience vicariously the ordeals he endures in a time not too far removed from our own. A sobering examination of recent LGBTQ history, Jamie’s wrenching trials and tribulations—and some revelations that will leave readers reeling—offer much to learn from. ’While this is the second book in the series, The Redemption of the Damned stands alone, though new readers on its wavelength will likely seek out its predecessor. Taylor has penned an unstinting portrait of doubt, fear, and self-hatred—and of finding a way out.
Takeaway: A wrenching, potent novel of coming-of-age gay in Detroit in the Reagan era, and one young man’s discovery that he’s worthy of love.
Great for fans of: Tom Spanbauer’s In the City of Shy Hunters, Edmund White’s A Boy's Own Story.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B