Ugh, Alan. I am so conflicted about this book. Our Young Man is another book I came across while looking for Blind Date with a Book titles, specifically LGBT adult fiction. It’s about some gorgeous French guy named Guy from a working class town who becomes a model and rises to the top of the fashion world in New York City. The real story begins in the early days of the AIDS epidemic (early like still called GRID early) and Guy is like hanging out on Fire Island and jet setting around but the bulk of the story has to do with two long-term relationships. There is also a Dorian Grey-ness because Guy apparently doesn’t age, at nearly forty he still looks like he’s in his early twenties.
Okay, on the positive side the writing is fantastic, really readable and graceful prose. Know what I mean? Like your eyes just glide right along. It’s very explicit, which I don’t have a problem with, but it was a surprise. I guess I wasn’t expecting that from an older gentleman but he also co-wrote The Joy of Gay Sex so what do I know?
A few pages in, the very first mention of Black people at all was something about obese Negro women sloppily rolling from side to side down the sidewalk. So that had me triggered, obviously. There were more references to “talking ghetto” than I was comfortable with. Also something about how wide noses are unattractive. And I think the only Black character is a sexual predator prison guard called Lester… I can’t. The book is fine but I just can’t. Even though I did I guess.