Wednesday, December 28, 2011
A. B. Gayle's Review of GAY PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
This is one of those times I'm thrilled with a review, and it's all because the reviewer "got" what I was trying to do and I never had to explain myself once. For a writer, this is the ultimate experience. I honestly don't care about how many stars I get or what kind of ratings readers leave. I've been around too long not to know and understand how subjective the reading experience can be and how people will react in many different ways. If you don't believe me, just go over to goodreads and check out a few of the reviews left for The Great Gatsby.
But when a reviewer actually sees what an author was trying to do, without doing anything other than reading the book, it's a wonderful feeling to know that you at least touched one person. And I never did get into any long explanations about what motivated me to write GAY PRIDE AND PREJUDICE the way I did because I was on the fence about the title and how closely related the title was to the classic Pride and Prejudice. As you can see in the review below, the book isn't much like the original classic. I figured I just keep my big mouth shut and see if readers knew what I intended with this book.
Here's a link to the review. And below is the actual review copied and pasted verbatim. There are no spoilers, but I should warn that there are a few words and phrases with adult content and this is an PG rated blog, so if this sort of thing offends you, please feel free not to read it.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
So far, of all the remakes I enjoyed this one the most. Mainly, because Ryan does such a good job of translating the pride and prejudices to the gay community.
Don't expect a scene by scene remake. This takes the aspects that are at the core of Jane Austen's book: the cutting observations about people and society and what people of that ilk are proud and prejudiced about but putting them into a modern gay context. So, we're not getting dry 1800 social observations of character but 2010 characterisations from a gay POV. They're none the less apt.
This means that the characters will be different. Tristan is no Eliza Bennett, but he shares some of her qualities, her honesty and her embarrassment at the behavior of her relatives, and most of all in being opinionated. Likewise Miller is no Mr Darcy, but he also is bound by the strictures of his parents and background.
In this case the prejudices and pride are linked up with new vs old money, gays vs straights, old queens vs new age gay.
I want you to stick with our own kind, and I don't want you screwing around with all these straights.
There's also the more normal kind of pride:
Ellen's face gleamed with pride; she gazed at her big strong straight son with love and affection.
I love that the alternate love interest is a stud ex-serviceman just back from Iraq.
The parallel works really well in this case, as the whole topic of marriage is at the core of the original. Who should marry who and why and again in this case, all Tristan wants to do is get married.
“As I got older and legalized same-sex marriage became an issue within the lgbt community, I started to realize I deserved to fall in love and get married just as much as heterosexual couples deserved it. I made a decision a long time ago I wouldn't settle for less. Call it pride, call it being stubborn. But I won't settle for less.”
In this case "Mr Darcy" is still not exactly pro marriage. He just wants to fuck.
There are some priceless bits eg when one main character comes up with this:
“Do you want to suck my xxxx?” Miller asked. He adjusted his position and spread his legs wider.
Tristan smiled. He had a feeling Miller was trying to shock him on purpose. “That's not very romantic,” Tristan said.
“You haven't sucked my xxxx yet, so you don't really know that for sure. It might be the most romantic thing that's ever happened to you.”
And later, the other MC says this:
Though Tristan would have laughed at clichéd expressions like dripping xxxx or weeping xxxx in public, and he would have frowned if anyone had used these awful, trite, clichés in ordinary conversation, when he had one right in front of him it was a different story.
you have to smile!
Ryan has the equivalent faux pas down pat. The comments about the price of things, never done by someone who really is "old money". And I loved this bit:
And Clint had been giving him fashion tips. Eldridge hadn't worn a bow tie, a crew neck sweater draped over his shoulders, or a pair of pink plaid slacks in weeks.
But Ryan doesn't neglect sharing real facts to educate people about factors affecting the LGBT community. In this case:
“There are many older gay couples who have been together for years. Just like straight married couples, they own property together. When one of them passes away, the surviving partner is forced to pay inheritance taxes on their own property. It runs into thousands and it wipes them out.”
He also doesn't pull his punches on a couple of occasions about hypocrisy.
Ryan Field's "Covers of Classics" can be a bit hit or miss, but to me, "Gay Pride and Prejudice", does exactly what he has set out to do.