cover image Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story

Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story

Paul Monette. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $19.95 (278pp) ISBN 978-0-15-111519-8

Monette responds to readers of his first memoir, Borrowed Time, by providing the flip-side expository of his life in the closet until he met his soul mate--the laughing man, Roger Horwitz. This memoir (which might more aptly have been titled Wasted Time ) is a bitter reproach of the 27 years Monette spent searching for himself. He explains that it took him years to realize that the homophobe is the deviant. Reading this beautifully written book, one feels as trapped by its dark mood as the author was by the closet. The writing is occasionally marred, however, by repetitive phrases, such as ``playing courtier,'' ``the closet'' and the endless search for ``the laughing man.'' The story also unfolds choppily due to frequent references to the future. Nevertheless, the book is a heartfelt illumination of how a gay person overcame the self-reproach that societal condemnation enacts. (June)