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Dream Boy: A Novel de Jim Grimsley
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Dream Boy: A Novel (original: 1995; edição: 1995)

de Jim Grimsley (Autor)

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
6851525,179 (3.99)10
In a small Southern town, Nathan, an unloved boy abused by his father forms a friendship with Roy, a boy next door. While studying algebra on Roy's bed, they engage in sexual acts, run off together, and drama follows. By the author of Winter Birds.
Membro:UIUC_LGBT_RC
Título:Dream Boy: A Novel
Autores:Jim Grimsley (Autor)
Informação:Algonquin Books (1995), Edition: 1st, 204 pages
Coleções:Gay Fiction, Sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:unfinished, fiction

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Dream Boy de Jim Grimsley (1995)

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» Veja também 10 menções

Mostrando 1-5 de 15 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
The first half of this boom was quite remarkable. It’s a simple and stunning portrait of a young man trying to escape abuse at home.

The second half left me feeling confused and disappointed. There is a violent assault in the second half ... it’s unclear whether it’s real or dreamed or even who the perpetrator is. I felt as though the author was trying to hard to make the final pages of the book obscure.

Challenging subject matter to be sure.

I just wish the ending had been a little more revealing. ( )
1 vote KinzieThings | Jun 16, 2020 |
TRIGGER WARNING FOR SEXUAL ABUSE

This is a story about Nathan, a boy who’s home life is quite less than ideal, and who’s in love with his next door neighbor. This story is also about Roy, who’s struggling with his desires and what others think of him. Those are the basics but there’s so much more to it than that.

Jim Grimsley writes as though you are standing next to the Nathan the entire time, not hovering far above as with some third person writing. You’re not Nathan, but you’re right by his side the whole time, hearing his thoughts and wondering his wonders without being him.

This book was quite short, could be read in one sitting which maybe I should have done because toward the middle/end of the book it seemed to take on a sort of different feel than the beginning of the book. There is a point when the boys explore a “haunted house” and this part of the book almost seemed out of place to me for some reason, maybe it was the pacing but this is pretty much my only dislike of this book.

The characters were all written as though you were there with them, so even though you don’t learn a lot about every character throughout hundreds of pages of exposure, you feel as though you know them as though you’ve been with them for hours in person. You know how they walk, how they talk, their tendencies when it comes to talking to their family or peers. This is one thing that I think Jim Grimsley did so well, even though the book is under 200 pages you somehow just know the characters.

———SPOILERS BELOW———

The main character of the story is Nathan, followed very closely by Roy. We get to see these two get to know each other and fall for each other in a very small, religious town. We get the impression early on that Nathan’s father is a shady individual, but it isn’t until a bit later that he’s abusing Nathan in some way. This effects Nathan even when away from his father when it comes to this budding relationship with Roy. This abuse paired with his being a young boy causes him to not really know how to be in a relationship. His father is shown to be a churchgoer who on every day but Sunday is drunk to the point of mental absence. Nathan’s mother is floating in space, a husk of what she most likely once was, due to her husband’s actions toward her son, and his ongoing drinking issues and how it affects their lives. They’ve also been said to move around a lot, so his father’s actions clearly have an effect on the communities they’re involved with as well.

Roy’s family is a good one on the decline due to illness, his family also attends church regularly and he has a girlfriend there. He catches feelings for Nathan quickly but is sometimes erratic due to his fear of being gay. Most likely in this time and place it is completely shunned upon, which shows because Roy is always asking Nathan to not mention their times together, and gets afraid when Nathan shows more knowledge and affection than himself.

We also meet a couple of Roy’s friends and Roy introduces Nathan to their school group. Burke is the more notable character of these two friends because he clearly has some issues of his own. Nathan nor Randy (Roy’s other friend) seem to get along with Burke at all, and for good reason. At one point Burke bullies Nathan, who canning swim, but dangling him
up high above a lake where the boys are swimming, and threatens to drop him. This like this are not uncommon, and as time goes on Burke becomes more and more watchful of Nathan and of his interactions, as subtle as they may be, with Roy.

Through this Nathan and Roy are having sexual interactions, but Roy is the only one that’s really given pleasure. Nathan doesn’t seem to care, though at one point he does wonders if he does mind that Roy doesn’t do the same for him.

Throughout the book the situation with Nathan and his father escalates, to the point where Nathan has to leave home and hide in other areas on the property for days at a time. This goes on for awhile, he goes to school, stays in the woods, goes to school, and Roy eventually allows him to stay in his family’s barn. Throughout this time Nathan and Roy become closer and eventually the two and Roy’s friends decide to go camping.

On this trip, Nathan and Roy begin to be less careful about their interactions and it slowly becomes apparent to Burke that something might be going on between the two of them, and there is a sort of dominance factor into play as well. This is shown by it being mentioned time and time again where Burke will stare at Nathan almost constantly, and the fact that Burke keeps trying to lead the group when Roy appears to be the more knowledgeable of the two.

The group makes their way to a house that Roy knows of that is haunted. They first see a burial ground for slaves, the boys are all too afraid to step onto it except for Nathan, who steps forward seemingly unafraid, I assume this is because he knows what real fear really is. The others stand gaping at him. They move on and explore the actual house. They end up meeting a ghost of sorts, whether this is a legitimate ghost, fear and reaction from being in an old and broken down house, or a ghost of Nathan’s own (his father? Everyone’s disapproval?). This ghost causes everyone to be on edge and finally brings Burke and Roy to fight, they’ve (Burke mostly) has been playing this dominance card for pages upon pages at this point and finally they go at it. They see the ghost again and the boys scatter, Burke and Randy running off one direction, and Roy and Nathan to another. After a moment of being alone, Nathan sees the ghost again. This “thing” that reminds him of his father, standing in the doorway. He’s frightened and uncomfortable and Roy wishes him to turn away from whatever it is, he wants to be with Nathan. Nathan is far too unsettled by the thing watching them from the doorway however, and declines Roy’s advances when Roy surprises him by giving him oral sex. During this scene Burke and Randy walk in on them. Burke is seemingly disgusted and Roy immediately stops and they have an altercation. Burke and Randy run off, and shortly after Roy does as well (Due to extreme fear and embarrassment. Not that he wasn’t happy about being with Nathan.) Leaving Nathan alone.

It’s at this point things escalate even more. Some time passes before a “thing” creeps back into the room with Nathan, except this thing is real as it attack’s him, blindfolds him, and taunts him. It’s revealed that it’s Burke, and what follows is a graphic scene where he proceeds to rape him and beat him to the point of death. Burke leaves him bleeding on the floor and it appears as though Nathan is dead. Roy and Randy find him later, and we are left with Nathan who seems to be dead, we see a scene of what seems to be him being examined by his father, and Roy. We hear his contemplations about each of them. Then we see him backtracking, we relive what happened between him and Burke, and follow Nathan as he walks through the house, through the woods where the boys were camping. We follow him back to the house and eventually find Roy. Nathan and Roy talk and decide to run off together.

———CONCLUSION——-

All in all this book left me shattered. It’s a beautiful representation of how abuse and oppression can effect people, particularly young adults/children. The characters were all extremely realistic in their actions and thoughts and reactions. You felt like you knew them all and you felt for them all and you wanted the best for them. And halfway through the book, you think they’ve got it! And then it drops to such a low that you think it’s all over for them all. One boy dead, one boy a violent rapist and murderer, and one boy finding himself who may never continue due to what happened. The broken family of Nathan even more broken with his death. And just when you think it’s over, you see Nathan’s scene of being in the middle of life and death. Comparing abuse to love, and then making his way back to Nathan, or even just to reality and life itself.

I might be making more of this than it deserves, but it’s just such a good representation of the LGBTQ+ community, and how abuse effects people that I can’t help it. ( )
  ambernreads | Apr 15, 2020 |
The first half of this boom was quite remarkable. It’s a simple and stunning portrait of a young man trying to escape abuse at home.

The second half left me feeling confused and disappointed. There is a violent assault in the second half ... it’s unclear whether it’s real or dreamed or even who the perpetrator is. I felt as though the author was trying to hard to make the final pages of the book obscure.

Challenging subject matter to be sure.

I just wish the ending had been a little more revealing. ( )
  Charlotte_Kinzie | Jun 20, 2019 |
heartbreaking coming of age love story about two farm boys--painful and beautiful. Could have been the inspiration for Brokeback Mountain.
1 vote mochap | Sep 12, 2011 |
Wow, I don't know what to make of this. I heard about it on NPR; the commentator, a gay man, said he wished he had had this book when he was a teenager, because it would have told him he was not alone. That seemed a good reason to read it.

Dream Boy follows Nathan, a bright, delicate 15-year-old-boy, as he falls into a dreamlike courtship with Roy, an older, popular boy at Nathan's new school. Though the sex never feels prurient, the novel is unrelentingly sexual. I started to wonder if there was a single moment of Nathan's life when he wasn't obsessing about sex - and then I realized that Nathan is a fifteen-year-old boy, so the answer might well be NO.

What makes the novel so powerful (and it is powerful) is the haunting sense of doom that hangs over every moment: sex is dangerous to Nathan in ways that I can hardly imagine, and his situation made me want to hurry up and finish the book before everything came crashing down. The relationship between the two boys is poignant, confused, touchingly inarticulate, and haunted by the emotional and physical peril implicit in their bond. The final denouement, which takes place in a haunted house, is both eerie and disturbingly concrete; my conscious mind was going "Wait, what happened there?" while some inner part of me was saying, "I think I get it." But I'm still not sure I do.

This is a very short novel, almost a novella; but it's complex, lyrical, disturbing. Worth reading. ( )
  2chances | Sep 1, 2011 |
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In a small Southern town, Nathan, an unloved boy abused by his father forms a friendship with Roy, a boy next door. While studying algebra on Roy's bed, they engage in sexual acts, run off together, and drama follows. By the author of Winter Birds.

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