Monthly Archives: August 2010
Buy it now from our Amazon.com store – XOXO Hayden
I had it set in my mind before I even opened the cover that I wasn’t going to like this book. All I could think about was here we go again, another coming-of-age story about some young boy trying to fit in, blah, blah, blah. We’ve all been there and done that a dozen or more times. Chris Corkum however, changed my mind within a few pages of his novel. I couldn’t put the book down, and now weeks later the characters are still vivid in my mind.
Steven Carlisle is a suburban teenager growing up in Orange County in the 80’s, struggling to understand his identity and sexuality. Hayden Whitfield is a British pop star trying to find himself and acceptance through his music. When Steven wins backstage passes to meet Hayden, both of their lives will change forever.
The novel follows both of these men’s lives over a period of eighteen years, and the growing connection that the two of them have for one another, but don’t quite understand. XOXO Hayden is a touching, well-written story of desire, love and passion. As each chapter ends, the story of these two men become richer and more complex. The characters are so vivid and so real, you feel as if you are a part of their eighteen-year story.
One of the aspects of this book that I found so refreshing is that it’s not your ordinary, coming-of-age story. Without giving away any secrets to the plot or ending, there are many touching, intimate moments between Steven and Hayden but as in real life, not everything goes smoothly and not everything ends the way you expect it or want it to.The process the characters go through are real, the emotions of love, fear and pain are also real.That’s what stands this book out from the others. I felt for the characters and also found pieces of me within their story.
Pick up a copy of XOXO Hayden. It’s a great weekend read.
Reviewed by William Holden
I always enjoy first person books. They’re immediate and personal, and you really get to know the POV character in ways other points of view don’t allow you to experience. That character also has to be strong enough to support the book, and Lisa Gitlin has a winner in Joanna Kane, the main character in I Came Out for This?
Joanna is newly-out at the age of 45 and if that wasn’t tough enough, she fell in hard in love and was dumped. But she hasn’t figured that out. In fact, she moves from her Cleveland home all the way to Washington DC in order to be with her ex, Terri, a woman who barely knows she’s alive. But that’s not really true. Joanna is alive enough for Terri to tease and taunt with possibilities, none of which will ever come to pass. Can Joanna move along and find true happiness in her seedy DC apartment populated by sketchy, transient boarders? Can she and Terri peacefully coexist in the DC lesbian dating scene? Will she survive psychotherapy? Will she get out of jail?
I’d rather let Joanna tell you in her own hilarious words. Lisa Gitlin has a wonderfully realized character in Joanna Kane; one with wit and wonder but more importantly, one with whom it’s easy to identify. We’ve all been out on the fringes at one time or another, living lives our families and friends couldn’t understand. Kane’s journey out there and back is one we know well, and she deals with the roadblocks she encounters with sass and verve.
The voice? Well, it’s soft and hard, soothing and haranguing, full of hope and despair—sometimes in the same sentence—but Joanna is never, ever boring. She is occasionally frustrating in her worship of a woman who clearly cares nothing for her, but in time that becomes part of her charm. Just like a good friend, you want to cheer for her when she does something brilliant and slap her when she’s stupid. And Joanna’s insights into the somewhat incestuous lesbian dating world are hysterical and, I believe, totally accurate.
I Came Out For This? is a great summer read. Its intriguing voice draws you back for more like a cool, refreshing dip in the pool, and its warm sense of wonder and discovery will keep you comfortable even after the sun goes down.
Reviewed by Jerry Wheeler