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The Blue Lawn Paperback – 24 May 1999


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Paperback, 24 May 1999
£19.94 £0.01

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Product details

  • Paperback: 122 pages
  • Publisher: Alyson Publications Inc; New edition edition (24 May 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555834930
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555834937
  • Product Dimensions: 20.4 x 13.3 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 825,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

William Taylor has written many children's books and has been published worldwide. He won the New Zealand Library Association's Esther Glen Medal for Agnes the Sheep. His titles have been honoured by both the New York Public Library and the American Library Association. William Taylor used to be a teacher, and he lives in Raurimu near Mt Ruapehu in the central North Island. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Eric Anderson on 27 Nov 2002
Format: Paperback
David is the star of his school's rugby team and he is famous throughout his New Zealand community for being so. But gradually he's discovered that rugby isn't something he's really interested and as is natural he needs to painfully pull himself out of that role in the community. At the same time he is doing this he meets Theo, a mysterious newcomer to the community. There is an unspoken bond between the boys from when they meet and a gradual friendship is created. Theo is extroverted, rebellious against adults and blunt in trying to bring issues to the forefront whilst concealing aspects of his identity and feelings he finds hard to vocalize. Green-thumbed David is the opposite, a good boy who always does as he should and gets along with adults, but who is able to insist on what he needs to make him happy. It's interesting the ways these boys are shown to come together from different parts of society to form a romantic relationship that neither of them fully understand. It is a relationship which proves through various tests to be a lasting one.
This novel is delicately written. It never fully tells what the boys relationship is because it is in a slow process of formation. It isn't a representation of a typical coming out story or gay discovery, but a unique discovery of new sexual feelings for two sharply drawn individuals. It seems strange at times that for hormonal boys of their age there is no realisation throughout the narrative of their sexual feelings, but this is explained to be because they literally don't know what to do yet. The presence of Theo's grandmother sometimes distracts from the main story of the boy's budding relationship, though she is an interesting enough character that seems to be crying for a story in her own right. This is a very lovingly told, nice tale that explores how "normal" boys adjust to new aspects of their identity.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 Dec 1999
Format: Paperback
Two young men, David and Theo, meet in a small town (think Erinsburgh in the soap 'Neighbours') and find themselves unexpectedly attracted to each other. Their feelings complicate and even spur several changes occuring in the way they view and treat the world. David has to deal with the hopes that have been placed on him by so many, and begins to define himself outside of their vision of him. Theo on the other hand focuses on their relationship and the impact it will have on their future. These issues are explored in a way that brings out the boys' great understanding, sensitivity and humour despite their being at an age when the hormones of adolescent frustrations zing through their system with almost too much urgency for forethought. Although the supporting cast of the novel falls into stereotypes often seen in any teen sitcom/soap , it is a forgivable sacrifice which I think intensifies your response to the leads. Theo's grandmother is the exception to this, and her personality and history adds another level to the story. My only regret with this novel is that it didn't atleast double its 122 page length and tell us more about the proceeding months of their lives.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Jan 2002
Format: Paperback
The book is ok and I did read it in one sitting. However, I don't feel enough outside information was included. It needed a more developed beginning and end. The story concentrates too much on the main characters without much consideration to what's happening around them.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 17 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful 11 April 2001
By Toby Sanders - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
David and Theo are best friends. In fact, they care about each other so much that Theo's grandmother begins to wonder if their friendship may be something more.
First love can be sweet, but it can also be confusing and a bit painful. This is especially true when the adults around start trying to help to make things better. As much as this story is about a teenage romance, it is also about how adults do not only choose the best thing to do even when they are trying to be supportive. It is also about how the emotions of our children are as powerful, as real, and as true as are our own.
It is refreshing to find a teenage romance in which romance actually takes the front seat. There should be more books like this.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Excellently written covering a sensitive subject 28 Sep 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I found the bok to be well researched and beautifully written. It allowed the characters to explore their feelings and understanding of their sexual awareness without it being overtly obvious to the reader. I feel the author has portrayed the boys human relationship in a positive and touching manner and one that many a young adolescent young man could easily relate to. I say well done to the author for having the "guts" to write on such a sensitive and often tabu subject that effects societies worldwide. A GREAT READ and congratulations to William Taylor
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
An accurate portrayal of small town New Zealand life 26 May 2000
By Matt Watson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I've read and reread William Taylor's book a number of times. Every time I am impressed with the way he manages to invoke the realities of life in small town New Zealand and especially the pressures faced by adolescent males in a society which holds rugby stars and good keen men tantamount to deities. This fact of New Zealand life needs to be kept in mind when reading The Blue Lawn - much of the inherent value is lost without reference to Kiwi culture. Taylor's characters are credible and authentic. I tend to agree with comments that the allusion to the Holocaust (in Theo's grandmother) is perhaps unnecessary, but I can understand Taylor's motives in using the motif in the book. I disagree with those who feel The Blue Lawn lacks more about rugby - this is not a sports book, it is about two boys who happen to play rugby (as most boys in New Zealand do at some stage) and their nascent relationship, emotional and sexual. All in all this book is a great read and I'd recommend it to anyone.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Better than most YA coming-out books....but not great. 2 Oct 2003
By M. A. Powers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is one of the better books I've read on the subject of coming out, aimed at a young adult audience. But that's not saying much. I think a kid who is struggling with his (or her) identity would be better off reading and 'adult' book like Edmund White's gorgeous "The Beautiful Room is Empty". The writing is what elevates this book to better than average. The plot is fairly typical. A young, gifted athlete (why are they always athletes?) discovers his attraction to another boy is mutual. At first they don't discuss this attractions; instead sublimating with fast driving, wrestling, and a hunting expedition. The author began to lose me when, after the boys confront each other with their feelings, they remain incredibly chaste, even during mutual showers and nights spent in the same bed, half-nude. They learn to sublimate their sexual feelings by long runs followed by the aformentioned showers. The main character, David, while seemingly less worldy then Theo, seems willing. He is physically more powerful than Theo, more imaginative, and at times more persuasive in his arguments so it isn't too big a stretch to imagine him finding away to gently force the issue. Theo, who seems to have little control over his other appetites; smoking, drinking, fast driving; has remarkable self-control when it comes to sex. Naturally, this is a young adult book and the author has to be fairly discreet but one has to suspend their disbelief a bit far to accept that with all their opportunities (they are left alone for the weekend on more than one occasion) they don't even kiss.
Also, with such a short novel, short even by young adult standards, the author should have concentrated on one storyline; that of the two boys and their developing relationship. The side story of Gretel, Theo's grandmother, was distracting and out-of-place, having little bearing on what was happening between the boys. At the end, when we learn about her tragic past, it seems rushed, a device to shed some light on Theo's behavior, as well as her own. The author got so caught up in this character that he lost sight of his readers. I picked up this book in the hopes of reading an engaging story of two teenage boys discovering the joys, the heartaches, and the thrills of first love. Instead, I found myself growing impatient when at times Theo seemed to be a third wheel in the friendship between David and Gretel. I can't imagine the average teenage reader will have more patience for this than I. Perhaps the author should have saved Gretel's story for a different kind of book.
Ultimately, Theo is just too undeveloped a character. The reader is first introduced to him as a rebel who cares little for what others think of him. Very quickly the author seems to run out of steam when it comes to delving any deeper into Theo's motivations. His rebelliousness seems to be mere bravado; a pose. He initiates contact with David by making a rather brazen proposition on the second page of the book. Later, when he confesses his terror at the prospect of being gay for the rest of his life it doesn't ring true. Up until then he has seemed to sure of himself and of his ultimate success at hooking up with David. The far less worldly David instinctively realizes that there are strength in numbers when he confides in Theo, " It doesn't seem quite so bad when we're together. When we get to see each other and be together." This isn't out of keeping with David's character. Early in the book, he quits rugby after coming to the realization he is playing for the wrong reasons. He consistantly shows himself to be a young man unwilling to be untrue to himself. He has spent a great deal of time getting used to the idea even to the point of examing himself all over and concluding that he is not different from other boys accepting who he is attracted to. He has few illusions about who he is attracted to and is ready to accept it as long as he has love. In David, the author proves he can write a believable and consistant character so it is a mystery why he didn't work a little harder to flesh out Theo. The grandmother is a more fully realized character than Theo. One never has any doubts what motivates her behavior. She too is one with very little illusions about herself. I believe the author's intentions were good in developing Gretel the way he did; her horrible past is meant to provide insight to Theo's character and at the same time provide a bit of a moral lesson about hate which is clearly meant as a plea for tolerance for the young gay protaganists. As a message device is was handled far less clumsily then most young adult authors manage. Unfortunately, the author relies to heavily on our acceptance that Theo's personality has been shaped soley by the reality of Gretel's past. While it would surely have some bearing on Theo's character, too much is left out. When David confronts Theo, demanding to know why he hasn't been told about Gretel's past, accusing him of not caring, Theo retorts, "What the hell d'you mean? It is me. That is what I am. She is what I am. That, and more besides. Stuff she hasn't told you, might never tell you." We do learn the rest of the story, but not until the penultimate page of the book. While Gretel's revelation does provide some insight into Theo's character, it merely leaves one wondering why the author chose to clue us in at the end, when it doesn't really matter any more, at least not to the reader, and after all, who is the book for if not the reader?
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
"BlueLawn" 2 Jan 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
All I want to say is this is one "helluva" a good book. I liked the style in which it was written and I believe anyone who buys it won't be disappointed. The author has treated the subject of homosexuality in a very touching and sensitive manner. It's a great story.
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