Gay Body: A Journey Through Shadow to Self

Mark Thompson, Author St. Martin's Press $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-312-16853-7
Thompson (Gay Spirit), the Los Angeles-based former editor at The Advocate, ranges freely in this therapeutic memoir from New Age-isms to explicit, sometimes even bloody sexual anecdotes. His combination of New Age spiritualism with a longtime devotion to sadomasochism has produced a surprising collection of wisdom on what Thompson identifies as the major problems facing gay men in America today: shame and a deficient masculine self-image that he attributes to early rejection by fathers. Beginning his sex life as a teenager when his younger brother climbed into his bed, Thompson progressed through membership in the Radical Fairies to the extreme S/M world of San Francisco's Folsom Street in the 1970s and '80s. There is some interesting material here, but only if readers can get past his occasionally self-conscious prose, his frequent reliance on New Age terminology and his intermittent sloppy thinking. Thompson draws Jungian psychology, ancient mythologies and world literature together to light a path of individual recovery from what he posits are very grave gay male ills. This book offers enough New Age spiritualism and self-help measures to attract a broad audience. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-312-19886-2
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