cover image Tramps Like Us

Tramps Like Us

Joe Westmoreland. Painted Leaf Press, $17.95 (341pp) ISBN 978-1-891305-58-0

Taking its title from a Bruce Springsteen song, Joe Westmoreland's Tramps Like Us is a bittersweet portrayal of a gay man's coming of age in the '70s and early '80s. After escaping his abusive father in Kansas City, protagonist Joe drifts from city to city in search of love and an identity he can live with. Hustling, drugs and music abound, as do myriad odd friends, lovers and tricks. Blurbed enthusiastically by Hilton Als and Sarah Schulman, it's endearing enough, but too ungainly to be the queer version of On the Road it aims to be.