First published in 1974, The Front Runner raced to international acclaim - the first novel about gay love to become popular in the mainstream.
In 1975, coach Harlan Brown is hiding from his past at an obscure New York college, after he was fired from Penn State University on suspicion of being gay. A tough, lonely ex-Marine of 39, Harlan has never allowed himself to love another man. Then Billy Sive, a brilliant young runner, shows up on his doorstep. He and his two comrades, Vince Matti and Jacques LaFont, were just thrown off a major team for admitting they are gay. Harlan knows that, with proper training, Billy could go to the '76 Olympics in Montreal. He agrees to coach the three boys under strict conditions that thwart Billy's growing attraction for his mature but compelling mentor.
The lean, graceful front runner with gold-rim glasses sees directly into Harlan's heart. Billy's gentle and open acceptance of his sexuality makes Harlan afraid to confront either the pain of his past, or the challenges which lay in wait if their intimacy is exposed. But when Coach Brown finds himself falling in love with his most gifted athlete, he must combat his true feelings for Billy or risk the outrage of the entire sports world - and their only chance at Olympic gold.
©1974 Patricia Nell Warren (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
This is a great love story and the reason I say surprisingly is because of the time frame in which the book was written. Patricia Nell Warren's tale of Harlan and Billy is sweet and tantalizing and most certainly relatable. I will admit that some of the terminology used, such as 'The Gay' made me laugh a bit, but keeping in mind that this book was originally written in 1974, it is fairly accurate to the times, although I do not believe I have ever called myself 'A Gay'. :-) The narration by Christian Rummel is fantastic and certainly adds to the intensity of the story. The book allows the reader to embrace the best, suffer in the tragedy, and long for a better tomorrow. A must read!
This was a great listen which I could not put down;
even cried along the way.
Narrator did a good job
well worth a credit
I first read The Front Runner in the early 80s, and I was very moved by the story then. It was the first novel by Patricia Nell Warren that I had read, and I was surprised at how sensitively she could portray a love story between two men. OK, it's not Anna Karenina or Madame Bovary, but it is a warm and touching story. I remember being totally engaged by the emotion in the book, and not wanting to put it down. Listening to this beautiful narration by Christian Rummel, I felt the same. Even though I could remember the story, I was still totally engaged, and I didn't want to stop listening. I listen to audiobooks while I go for my morning run, and knowing that the next installment of this book was waiting for me when I hit the road was great motivation. Now I wish that the sequels, Harlan's Race and Billy's Boy, were available as audiobooks.
I seldom listen to a book more than once, and The Front Runner is no exception. The writing style is straightforward narrative. It tells a good story without much in the way of writerly flourishes that demand or reward listening again.
I admired the character Billy Sive, though we know him only through Harlan Brown, whose story this is. Billy is as self-actualizing a character as I have ever read about, and his internal clarity and his courage to march to the sound of his own drummer are exhilarating.
Restrained but listenable.
I think the book is aptly titled, both as it describes Billy Sive's style as a competitive runner and as a metaphor for his personality.
There is a quality about The Front Runner that reminds me of The Harrad Experiment, a heterosexual story of the same era that includes, like TFR, a big measure of 70s utopian wish fulfillment. Both stories are artful enough, and tempered with enough loss and pain to make the willing suspension of disbelief a worthwhile exercise.In this kinder, gentler era, Patricia Nell Warren's portrayal of gay life in the 60s and seventies makes me glad for how far we've come, and resigned to how far we still have to go.
Because it is a very well written book and the performance was excellent. I hope that they do more of her books. I read this book as I walked and I always ended up walking longer than planned because I did not want to stop listening. This book was written a while ago but a lot of the issues of bullying and obtaining equal rights are as valid today as when the book was first written.
The narrator did a awesome job and look forward to hearing more from Christian.
Conduct Unbecoming because it also discusses the struggle for equal rights.
To many to choose from but love the part where they finally admit they love each other.
I believe "The Front Runner" is a perfect title and I would not change it.
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