Feb 25, 2014
Gay Tales from Junior High English Class
Miss Dunn, at least, assigned some Westerns, boring but with muscular, shirtless boys on the cover:
The Pearl (John Steinbeck, 1947). Pearl fisherman finds a pearl.
The Mallory Burn (Pete Pomeroy, 1971). I didn't get past the front cover, so I still don't know what a "mallory burn" is.
The Legend of Billy Bluesage (Johnreid Laurentzen, 1961): Boy befriends Billy and warns the villagers about an Indian attack.
Stolen by the Indians (Dorothy Heiderstadt, 1968). 12 stories of kids stolen by Indians. Most like Indian society better. I guess -- I only got through a few.
Miss Sunstrom and Mrs. Wood condemned Westerns, too. You should be reading about real kids with the same problems you have. Sort of.
A Hero Ain't Nothing But a Sandwich: a boy in the ghetto becomes a drug addict.
Go Ask Alice: a girl in a sanitarium struggles to become sane.
To Kill a Mockingbird: a girl in the rural South learns about prejudice.
Or...I could read about a space cadet exploring Venus, or a quest to find a magic sword and defeat the Dark Lord!
Even worse: those "real kids" invariably "discovered" the opposite sex, agonized over dates, went steady, fell in love.
West Side Story/Romeo and Juliet: packaged together so we could see the parallels between the heterosexual loves from rival gangs.
But occasionally, in spite of the teachers' concerted effort, a Realistic Novel had some gay subtexts.
Golden Gloves Challenger. A boy joins the Golden Gloves boxing club, and clobbers his former bully. They become friends. He starts winning competitions, with his friend to cheer him on. Lots of buddy-bonding and descriptions of sleek hard muscles.
And one that I can't remember the title or the author:
A boy is blinded in an accident. He goes to a School for the Blind, where he meets a boy who has been blind since birth. He starts swimming and begins winning competitions, with his friend to cheer him on. Lots of buddy-bonding and descriptions of sleek hard muscles.
I've looked everywhere, on Google Books, Amazon, and WorldCat. But the book that was the biggest evocation of same-sex desire in my childhood remains a mystery.