Young Man From The Provinces: A Gay Life Before Stonewall

Young Man From The Provinces A Gay Life Before Stonewall Young intelligent and handsome Alan Helms left a brutal midwestern childhood for New York City in Denied a Rhodes scholarship because of his sexual orientation he soon became an object of des

  • Title: Young Man From The Provinces: A Gay Life Before Stonewall
  • Author: Alan Helms
  • ISBN: 9780816642687
  • Page: 453
  • Format: Paperback
  • Young, intelligent, and handsome, Alan Helms left a brutal midwestern childhood for New York City in 1955 Denied a Rhodes scholarship because of his sexual orientation, he soon became an object of desire in a gay underground scene frequented by, among many others, Noel Coward, Leonard Bernstein, and Marlene Dietrich In this unusually vivid and sensitive account, Helms deYoung, intelligent, and handsome, Alan Helms left a brutal midwestern childhood for New York City in 1955 Denied a Rhodes scholarship because of his sexual orientation, he soon became an object of desire in a gay underground scene frequented by, among many others, Noel Coward, Leonard Bernstein, and Marlene Dietrich In this unusually vivid and sensitive account, Helms describes the business of being a sex object and its psychological and physical toll Riveting New York Times Book Review Extraordinary and elegantly written A record of a gay world that has virtually disappeared over the past twenty five years of liberation and fifteen years of AIDS Boston Globe A beautifully written memoir Helms sped through the celebrity packed fast lanes, but he has learned how to stand back and get some perspective Los Angeles Times Sublimely funny, engaging, pathetic, highly literary, and painful to read Helms seems like a gay Everyman whose quest for self knowledge, respect, and contentment in this contemptuous world mirrors that of many other marginalized people Bloomsbury Review Alan Helms is professor of literature at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

    866 Comment

    • Michael Andersen-Andrade says:

      I read this book in hopes of gaining a glimpse into a certain stage of my father's life, who, like the author, was a very handsome man from the provinces (in my father's case, Ogden, Utah), who moved to Manhattan in the late 40's and lived the life of a closeted homosexual until he decamped to Hollywood in the late 50's. Unlike the author, my father married and had children, but was temperamentally, psychologically and morally unsuited for either marriage or fatherhood, and my mother left him af [...]

    • Stephen says:

      Just finished this book and am still processing my thoughts about it. Like the main character I am also from a small midwestern town and came to the big apple as a young man. But unlike my arrival in the mid eigthies, this protagonist arrived in the mid 50's when gay's were still closeted and celebs still mixed with hoi polloi in secret little bars, clubs and parties. Also this protagonist was uncommonly handsome and winning. This led him to meeting the likes of Noel Coward, Tab Hunter, Elain St [...]

    • Chris says:

      Glad to have read this book, though it was a frustrating task - mostly because the author is a very unhappy man. It's tough to sympathize with someone who seems to have a lot going for him, yet continues to self-destruct at every opportunity. Helms is best when he is documenting gay life in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Unfortunately, the book focuses on his own narcisstic needs and they are many. At times, you want to throw the book into another room because the author is ranting about his looks, [...]

    • Lee Rene says:

      Alan Helms crafted an elegant, moving memoir of a handsome, brilliant young man from a provential town. Helms details his own story, a hick who becomes the golden boy of an ivy league university and the darling of New York's gay scene prior to the Stonewall Riots and gay liberation. It is a unique glimpse into a life that no longer exists,a beautiful youth seduced by celebrity, drugs and wealth. Stunning book!

    • Matthew Steiger says:

      You end up feeling bad for the author because he is so wrapped up in his own narcissism that he can't live in the moment. If he was such a great beauty and model why aren't there any photos? He makes it really hard to like him or even sympathize with him. You want to like the book but I just ended up feeling bad for him.

    • Bobby says:

      This was a good read throughout but it really got powerful near the end as the author begins to age and and his view of the charmed life he's lead matures. It's a lesson hard learned, we can run as far as we want in life but once we slow down and finally take a seat the same skin we left in has arrived with us still intact.

    • Emansil says:

      I find reading about gay life in the 50's and early 60's to be absolutely fascinating. What I wanted more than anything though were pictures. I want to see pics of this golden boytoy!!

    • Jillian says:

      Haunting, beautiful-just a snapshot of a time when being gay wasn't acceptable and extremely honest. One of my best friends suggested I read it and it's one of my favorite books of all time.

    • Mike says:

      Love this book, very powerful, especially towards the end.

    • Thomas Keane says:

      A kind of real-life Dancer From the Dance

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