Thursday, July 4, 2013

Secrets of the Other Side by Eric Gober

Reviewer: Bob Lind, Echo Magazine
Publisher: Regal Crest Enterprises, February 2013
Pages: 252

Living in a rundown trailer park outside of Las Vegas, Neil Ostwinkle is a gay boy who grew up with his single mother, who worked double shifts as a casino cashier. It's the relatively-enlightened 1980's, but he still faces (and survives) bullying in school, and seeks out his independent, free-spirited Aunt Louise for security and companionship. As he enters his teens, he meets a young man, Clark, whom he believes is the love of his life, but fate was not yet done with disappointing young Neil. This disappointment, along with the role model of his mother – who seemed to have a knack of choosing the wrong men to marry – make Neil believe he will be single forever. He does manage to surround himself with some uniquely eccentric friends, who encourage him to be more open to life and love, as well as opening his eyes to a possible career he never imagined possible.

This is the author's first full-length novel, and shows significant talent in his characterizations, plot development and attention to detail. "Secrets of the Other Side" is an excellent coming-of-age story with which many gays and lesbians can likely relate, but it can also be an enlightening read for heterosexual readers, putting in perspective that our dreams and fears really don't vary much from each other. Looking forward to his next novel, perhaps a sequel. A well-written, feel-good story, which I give a full five stars out of five.

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