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book beat

Volume 15/Issue 16

Book Beat
by Brad Benedict, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Mary Ann Cantwell, mother of ten children and a teacher of emotionally disturbed six and seven year olds, has written a loving memoir called Homosexuality: The Secret A Child Dare Not Tell. The book documents her shattering realization that she had failed to understand the emotions of her own son. Her search for answers led to this work.

The message shown here is really a call to all parents everywhere to act with greater sensitivity and understanding if their child is somehow different. It also offers a message of inspiration for members of the gay and lesbian community who may have suffered greatly within their family of origin as they were growing up.

It is interesting to note here that U.S. Press, which bills itself as "America's Color Printer" refused to print a brochure promoting this book saying that it "doesn't believe in homosexuality." According to a representative at the Valdosta, Georgia-based printing concern, printing was denied because it was against company policy since they were Christians. This is a wonderful little book. How a printer could possibly refuse to even print a brochure is absolutely unthinkable. Shame on U.S. Press of Valdosta, Georgia. You are pathetic excuses for humanity.

For readers everywhere, go out and buy this book. It's $12.00, and it comes from Rafael Press, based in San Rafael, California. Cantwell did a wonderful job writing this book, and it will stand the test of time. She DOES know what she's talking about!

The second book that I enjoyed tremendously probably won't be a favorite of everyone, but each reader has his or her own enjoyment factors involved.

Dale Peck is best known for his national bestseller Martin and John. Now comes his new one, The Law of Enclosures from Washington Square Press. The characters in this one are disturbing yet memorable. He moves on to tell the story of John's parents, Beatrice and Henry. He offers a shocking view of love and marriage with all the raw emotion and intensity that envelopes the participants. Peck manages to hold your interest in a convincing way, moving from the beginning, to their adolescence together and the end with their failed marriage.

I feel this is a brilliant novel that will be overlooked by many readers. It provides a unique perspective on loss and forgiveness for sustaining love over time. It's a $12.00 book and well worth the price.

One of my favorite books of late is called The Queerist Places. It is Paula Martinac's national source guide for gay and lesbian historic sites. It's a different kind of travel guide, and if you're interested in gay history, she offers some wonderful suggestions on planning rewarding vacations.

Martinac includes vivid overviews of gay and lesbian history, covering noteworthy queer community meeting places-bars, restaurants, churches, public halls, etc., and she divides her book into five major regions. It features more than just the wheres and hows to get there. The reader learns more about the apartment and setting for Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie. She takes you into the private world of President James Buchanan and the man he lived with for twenty years, and the lives of notables such as James Baldwin, Carson McCullers, and Emily Dickinson. This is a delightful addition to your travel books, and it doesn't even get outdated. How wonderful!

I received an advance reading copy from Henry Holt and Company, and no price was shown or other information given. However, you can check with your local gay and lesbian booksellers who advertise in Ambush to learn of the availability and price, or just go by and get a copy. I'm sure the price will be within your reach. The quality and usefulness is absolutely great. I anxiously await my "real" copy.

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