All-American Boy: A Memoir

M. Scott Peck, Author, Scott Peck, Author Scribner Book Company $22 (235p) ISBN 978-0-02-595362-8
In this searing, fragmentary memoir of a young gay man coming to terms with his sexuality, the author writes movingly of his relationship with his largely absent father, Marine and Vietnam veteran Colonel Fred Peck, whose views on homosexuality made national headlines in 1993. Appearing at a Senate hearing on Clinton's proposal to rescind the military's ban on homosexuality, the colonel testified he had just learned that his son was gay and that he loved and respected him, but added emphatically, ``There is no place in the military for him.'' The author, raised by his deeply religious mother and by a violently abusive, alcoholic, gay-hating stepfather, was filled with self-loathing and guilt as a closeted youth. He blamed his homosexuality on his father, who divorced his mother upon his return from Vietnam and remarried, and whom his son worshipped from afar. Peck's intense narrative describes his mother's struggle with terminal cancer, his desertion of a Florida Bible academy where he studied to become a fundamentalist minister, his furtive affairs, his coming out and his reconciliation with his father despite their diametrically opposite views on gay service in the military. Photos. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/1995
Release date: 03/01/1995
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