Getting Over Homer

Mark O'Donnell, Author
Mark O'Donnell, Author Alfred A. Knopf $21 (0p) ISBN 978-0-679-44590-6
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
Playwright and humorist O'Donnell's first novel is a wit-saturated tale of coming out, coming-of-age, come-downs and coming around about love. ""Blue"" Monahan's search for his true mate in gay Manhattan sparks two successive flames, both of which burn out. His first, Homer, an ambitious celebrity party planner, takes him among the high rollers and Fire Island sophisticates before the pair abruptly break up. On the rebound with the younger, naive Teddy, Blue again discovers the unpredictable behavior of the human heart. O'Donnell (Vertigo Park) saddles Blue with an identical twin who is a famous sitcom actor and with the misfortune of having written a cheesy hit ballad as a kid. Homer is a less than credible figure of obsession, but O'Donnell captures his mercurially untrustworthy charm. Similarly, his style works best when rendering repartee or when relating the antics of Blue's family and friends, such as the sardonically upright Lloyd, who calls Homer ""either Cute Man Made or time-released trouble."" Blue's a wistful fool for love, and the narrative is awash in one-liners and self-conscious sentimentality. In the end, Blue's punning, pop-cult wiseacreage somewhat flattens the story line, as his amorous highs don't sound all that different from his heartbroken lows. (Apr.)