I've read the entire series nearly three times (I got to book sixteen the third time before I could stand it no more). As a gay man, I cannot overlook the fact that O'Brian's references to gays is always negative or a fake neutral minus (e.g., Jack saying that he doesn't like gays in the navy but doesn't believe gays should be necessarily hung). Because I loved the series, I continually made excuses for O'Brian's treatment of gay characters. It was easy to say he was only being contextual to the times he was portraying. Yet, I no longer believe that tells the whole story. Gay characters come up in very many of the books, and the worst traitors in the series were a homosexual couple (what better to make people hate the characters even more). I sometimes wondered if O'Brian weren't a self-loathing closeted gay man, for he often describes the beauty of male characters. It had been about eight years since I had read the series, so I was happy to see it on Audible, but as I began listening to Master and Commander, I was struck by how quickly O'Brian went to work on slamming gays, making the Sailing Master a suspected gay character, per an officer Jack talked with, and using that to question his continued presence in such an important position on the ship. Lovers of the series may dismiss these words, but pay attention to what you read or listen too, for I believe you will find you can no longer defend O'Brian, either.
This is an award winning book, but the narration is so bad I cannot even tell if the book is any good. Michael Urie's narration is worse than those pretentious British narrators who think they are part of the Royal Acting Company. I am gay, so I am not being homophobic when I say the narrator's constant lisping and gay queen voice has no place in the context of this story. Unbelievably bad. I hope the book can be redone with a real actor--someone who'll understand no high school jock talks like a drama queen.
I highly recommend this book, despite its flaws. This is the story of a gay man who becomes the guardian of a runaway gay youth. In the story you get drawn into a wonderful story with lots of heart as the boy and the man are a healing presence in each other's life. The romance is the man finding another man that loves him. The book has a climatic conclusion that left tears flowing down my cheeks. So, for all that, in a very weak genre for writing standards, I wouldn't be fair if I didn't give it five stars. My criticism of the book largely revolves around the sex scenes, which are repetitive and relatively boring. Personally, the times when Grey makes a sex scene very short and leaves most of the action to the imagination are far better than the ones in which Grey tries to get his audience going. That may be what this genre demands of Grey, so I do not judge him too hard for it. Yet, it did lead to my working theory that "Andrew Grey" was just a pen name for a woman writer, for the sex scenes just seemed so phony and contrived. But, a google search did bring up the writer's website and "She" at least has a man's picture of "himself" in the personal information, so I won't push the point. IN CONCLUSION, Grey's development of the relationships is compelling reading, but the sex scenes are poorly written smut that just downgrade the other writing. Grey has the talent to write books like "Will Grayson, Will Grayson," and I hope he moves on from this genre. I never would have found this gem if Audible didn't have so few gay titles.
Report Inappropriate Content