Surprising Myself: A Novel

Open Road Media
5
Free sample

Seventeen-year-old Joel can’t be gay if he’s straight
After four years of living with relatives in Switzerland, seventeen-year-old Joel Scherzenlieb finds himself in the United States for the summer, working at a Boy Scout camp. There, he meets nineteen-year-old Corey Cobbett, a fellow counselor who's the only person Joel wants to be friends with. Soon, Joel’s sarcastic, distant CIA father shows up and whisks him away to live with his mother, grandmother, and older sister on a farm in Virginia—he’s not going back to Switzerland after all. As his father pleads poverty and his dreams of going to college vanish, Joel faces his longest year yet. But everything changes when Corey returns to his life, bringing with him the discovery and excitement of reciprocal love.
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About the author

Christopher Bram is the author of nine novels, including Father of Frankenstein, which was made into the Academy Award–winning movie Gods and Monsters, starring Ian McKellen. Bram grew up outside of Norfolk, Virginia, where he was a paperboy and an Eagle Scout. He graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1974 and moved to New York City in 1978. In addition to Father of Frankenstein, he has written numerous articles and essays. His most recent book, Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America, is a literary history. Bram was a Guggenheim Fellow in 2001, and in 2003, he received Publishing Triangle’s Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement. He lives in Greenwich Village and teaches at New York University.     
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3.2
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road Media
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Published on
May 28, 2013
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Pages
424
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ISBN
9781480424517
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Coming of Age
Fiction / LGBT / Gay
Fiction / Romance / LGBT / Gay
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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This award-winning novel of growing up in 1970s New Jersey “reads like a cross between the film American Beauty and Edmund White’s A Boy’s Own Story” (The Advocate).
 
A San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller and Winner of the Lambda Literary Award
 
The time is the late 1970s—an age of gas shortages, head shops, and Saturday Night Fever. The place, suburban New Jersey. At a time when the teenagers around him are coming of age, Robin MacKenzie is coming undone. While “normal boys” are into cars, sports, and bullying their classmates, Robin enjoys day trips to New York City with his elegant mother, spinning fantastic tales for her amusement in an intimate ritual he has come to love. He dutifully plays the role of the good son for his meat-and-potatoes father, even as his own mind is a jumble of sexual confusion and painful self-doubt. But everything changes in one horrifying instant when a tragic accident wakes his family from their middle-American dream and plunges them into a spiral of slow destruction.
 
As his family falls apart, Robin finds himself pulling away from the unquestioned, unexamined life that has been carefully laid out for him, engaging in small acts of rebellion and asking big questions. The result is a “rich and unflinching” story of an outcast figuring out his own complex future beyond the world of normal boys (The New York Times Book Review).
 
“This first novel is so eloquent because it is hellbent on collaring the reader and telling him or her the whole passionate story.” —Edmund White
 
“An amusingly detailed and largely accurate picture of life in the Jersey ’burbs.” —Publishers Weekly
 
“Full of tension and suspense, Soehnlein’s well-paced debut novel is a fresh look at one boy’s sexual awakening in the 1970s and his journey to find a place where he can fit in.” —Booklist
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