Edited by Kris Jacen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Ebook / Print Edition
Publication: September 6th 2012 by MLR Press
Edition Language English
For M/M Romance Lovers, Haters and Everyone Else!!!
If you’ve read my reviews you know that I’ve developed a format that I use to review most of the books I read. I was a little conflicted whether or not I could use that format for this book, it is after all not fiction, or is it? In the “disclaimer” section it is called a “work of fiction” but it certainly doesn’t read that way; I suspect this is just a legal catch-all. This book reads as, and I believe is intended to be, informative and educational. Nonetheless, I’ve decided to go ahead and use my pre-arranged format. I think I can make it work well here.
I need to give a caveat for reviewing this book. I’m biased. I am addicted/obsessed with male/male romance and I’m sure that I read this book with an eye towards learning something about me. To be sure, some will pick up this book with an eye toward dismissing the genre and it’s readers. Or hopefully, there will be those who want to see if there is really a “movement” to grab on to here. I think there is.
"...I'm now allowed to use the word cock. That's the difference between a textbook and a sex book! If I were writing a textbook right now, I would have used the word penis. But let's face it, the word cock is sexier, a lot more fun, and just feels good in your mouth."
Geoffrey Knight (The Author and Guide). This is my first read from Mr. Knight but I should point out that we’ve had a couple of exchanges online. He strikes me, both online and in print, as someone who is light-hearted, genuine, humorous and motivated.
"...they are one of the strongest, and most surprising, waves of support for equal rights on the planet--and most of the world, both gay and straight, doesn't even know it. Well all that's about to change."
The Women (The Interviewees). When I say that, here, I found my friends, I mean to say that these are women I would love to meet, know and learn from. The diversity of these women is terrific. Some are like me; married with children and well over 40. Some are very young (to me), single and may never want children. Others fall in between. I was delighted to find honest, articulate, fresh, strong and passionate women who were able to express what I personally have had a hard time putting my finger on. From business women, to stay-at-home moms, to deeply religious to equality advocates, I found a group that I can identify with because of their open minds.
Oh boy, I could look at this from several angles. This could be a book about women finding a passion, and trying to find the freedom and confidence to express that passion with others. Or, this could be a book about women who love men and ALL the sexiness that they are. This might be a book about advocacy and agendas. It could also be a book about a man, a gay man, who has been taken advantage of by a movement of women. Women who are using him to advance their goal of getting more fabulous m/m or gay romance books to market. I love smart women.
What I really think this book is about will be up to you. As I said, it’s diverse but in more ways than just the women who share their thoughts. There is something here for almost everyone; for straight women who have fallen into what I have called “a rabbit hole that I don’t want to climb out of”. For the un-indoctrinated who just can’t understand why a women would want to read about sex between men. Oh, let me tell you honey, these women will tell you why. There is also something here for men. For the husband trying to understand his wife (which is funny to me because so often the women reading these books are trying to understand men).
Also, for the gay man who needs to know that there is an army of women out there that care about them and are interested in understanding their lives better. All of these people will find a terrific resource to more information on the subject of the m/m genre, including a glossary and contact information for many of the contributor’s websites and blogs.
I read this straight through, it's quick paced, humorous and at times emotional. Like I said earlier though, I’m obsessed with the subject and I’ve been waiting for answers to help me understand my addiction.
The book begins by introducing you to the women who contribute to Why Straight Women Read Gay Romance. By way of interview questions you learn a good bit about each one and easily find those you will identify with most. I found myself paying a little more attention to those women who seemed most like me, at first. I quickly realized I was interested in everyone’s opinion.
The book continues the interview process but with specific questions related to the topic. We learn how these women came to read or write, edit or artistically enhance the m/m genre. The discussion delves into what they’ve learned about themselves, men, gay men and sex. Plus, the subject was broached: Is admitting to reading m/m romance or erotica similar to coming out of the closet? I really connected with this one.
There could be a tendency to want to read this as a manual. Flipping back and forth between those women you, a) know from reading their books or blogs, or b)jumping ahead to read a specific comment by someone you earlier identified with. I would suggest you refrain from this, at least, for the first read. First, my kindle made that a little difficult to do. It’s easy to go back but harder to jump forward and keep your place. Second, I don’t think you want to miss anything said here. I found most all the viewpoints and comments valid.
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Highly Recommended - Nearly a Must Read (especially for those involved, interested or invested in the gay romance genre).
For me, this book answered many, many questions. It also allowed me to be more comfortable with my love of m/m books. I knew I wasn’t alone in my obsession but now I feel more connected than ever. Thank you Geoffrey, you made this a fun and enlightening journey.
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My thanks to ManLoveRomance Press mlrpress.com for providing me with a e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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