Stories for Boys

A Memoir

Martin, Gregory

Book - 2012
Average Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
Stories for Boys
In this memoir of fathers and sons, Gregory Martin struggles to reconcile the father he thought he knew with a man who has just survived a suicide attempt; a man who had been having anonymous affairs with men throughout his thirty-nine years of marriage; and who now must begin his life as a gay man. At a tipping point in our national conversation about gender and sexuality, rights and acceptance, Stories for Boys is about a father and a son finding a way to build a new relationship with one another after years of suppression and denial are given air and light. Martin's memoir is quirky and compelling with its amateur photos and grab-bag social science and literary analyses. Gregory Martin explores the impact his father's lifelong secrets have upon his life now as a husband and father of two young boys with humor and bracing candor. Stories for Boys is resonant with conflicting emotions and the complexities of family sympathy, and asks the questions: How well do we know the people that we think we know the best? And how much do we have to know in order to keep loving them?

Publisher: Portland, Or. : Hawthorne Books & Literary Arts, c2012
ISBN: 0983477582
Branch Call Number: B M3639S 2012
Characteristics: 273 p. : ill. ; 23 cm


From Library Staff

Martin's memoir delves into his childhood and present life as a parent as he struggles with the discovery that his father had been carrying on secret affairs with men for decades. Seattle Reads 2013 selection.

From the critics

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Apr 20, 2013
  • ballycootie rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Sometimes (actually a lot) if felt that the author was wallowing in self pity and being down right cruel to his father, petulant and wanting to exact what he sees as a just punishment for his father's transgressions. However, how would it feel to wake up and find out that your dad had a whole secret life as a cruising gay guy, with hundreds of anonymous partners. Exposing your mom to who knows what kind of diseases, and telling a ton of lies through the years. The mom couldn't get past it and their relationship ended after nearly 40 years. Sad, but the lies trumped the friendship they shared. The story can be a bit uneven and feels like individual bits tied together in a book, just the right length and ending on somewhat of a positive note. This author was apparently working through his feelings - it's a glimpse into a life not a novel.

Apr 18, 2013
  • KayK rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I really enjoyed this book and also the author's earlier work about his grandparents in northern Nevada. He is able to covey in a very real way both the horrible upset of finding out about his father's actions and the uncertainty he is feeling about what to tell his young sons on the subject. It made me reflect on secrets in my own family, things I never knew about my ancestors until I was much older-things I would have wanted to hear from my father.

Apr 16, 2013
  • JimLoter rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I echo what many reviewers have said: I felt the real focal point of this book was with the father, whom we only glimpse in a few letters and through the wounded eyes of his son, the author. As a father myself, I was at times challenged to think about how I would have handled talking to my son about the events that transpire in the book (or similarly difficult topics) but that alone was not compelling enough reason to stay engaged. I do feel that Martin understands and struggles with the fact that he's not handling the situation as effectively as he'd would like, and I respect the vulnerability that he puts on display. Fundamentally, however, it's not a display I cared to participate in.

Apr 15, 2013
  • enlightened rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

Firstly, let me start by telling you how entertaining it was to read the author's bio on the back flap and see that he teaches creative writing- yet only has to credits for memoirs. I think it's the general feel of the book- written like someone in a creative writing class, in a word- awful. The kind of book where a person thinking about life in death is then wandering in a cemetery and has an enlightening discovery (actually happens in the book). The best writing to be found in this collection of pages is the excerpts, the emails from the author’s father or magazine articles. I will stay the story as a whole would probably be compelling if the writing wasn’t so terrible and if our author ‘protagonist’ wasn’t such a loathsome whiner.


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