cover image Road Home

Road Home

Rex Ogle. Norton, $18.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-3240-1992-3

In 1998, 17-year-old Ogle plans to work at Walmart until college in the fall. But when his stepsister tells their father she suspects Ogle is gay, neither teen anticipates his intense and cruel ultimatum: Ogle must suppress his burgeoning queer identity or leave home. With a duffle bag, a backpack, an Anne Rice novel, and his pickup truck, Ogle flees Alabama for New Orleans, where he seeks out Russell, an older gay man he met while on a beach trip. At first their connection seems like a boon: Russell invites Ogle to stay, becomes his first queer relationship, and introduces him to a life outside of the closet. Their power imbalance soon becomes apparent, however, when Russell sexually assaults Ogle, claiming his body as payment for his hospitality, an event that prompts Ogle to escape and fend for himself. The author continues his memoir series with the same brutal yet hopeful perspective as Free Lunch and Punching Bag. Searingly honest text never shies away from grim details surrounding Ogle’s assault and houselessness, and an author’s note and afterword provide context and a realistic yet satisfying conclusion to this stunning addition to Ogle’s autobiographical work. Ages 14–up. Agent: Brent Taylor, Triada US. (May)