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The Leather Boys Paperback – 14 Jan 2014


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Product details

  • Paperback: 146 pages
  • Publisher: Valancourt Books (14 Jan. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1939140773
  • ISBN-13: 978-1939140777
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 0.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 203,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Erastes on 7 April 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First off let me say that the first cover of the edition I have (with the girl) couldn't be more erroneous of the title and the content of the book. I couldn't scan my cover in, and couldn't find a picture online. The blurb is pretty ghastly too making it sound like a British version of the Hell's Angel's books so popular in my girl's school in the 1970's. I object hugely to the term "strange, twisted love" because as you'll see it's nothing of the sort. The second cover is the original one, when the book was posted in 1961 it was published under a (jokey) masculine pseudonym. Nothing changes, eh?

The book is an essential read for anyone who might be interested in the late 50's and the youth of that time, it may come over as rather quaint to Americans, because I'm sure that American bikers were never quite that shy and gauche as some of the characters here. Although - sorry to disappoint you once again - this isn't exactly about biker boys either. Hell, could a book and a blurb and a cover BE more misleading?

Anyway, there's not much to the story, really. Reggie is married but dissatisfied. His wife has told him that she's pregant with another man's child so he leaves her. He meets up with Dick, another biker, who lives with his ailing grandmother in a typical two up two down terraced house with no loo but the one outside.

When the two young men do get together it's not accompanied by pages of pre-kiss angst. They are friends, and neither of them see much further than that. Reggie has moved in with Dick, and as was more common in those more innocent times they sleep in the same bed. One night it just seems right and they kiss. Any sexual conduct is off screen, but is clearly alluded to afterwards. Dick is the one who asks "is this love?
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Murray Beer on 8 Aug. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Did not think much of the story, very little on motorcycling, watched parts of the film and it looked the same.
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Amazon.com: 1 review
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Brokeback Mountain on Motorcycles! 21 Jan. 2008
By epsteinsmutha - Published on Amazon.com
A lesser known novel on Mod culture, Gillian Freeman's The Leather Boys breaks from the kitchen sink dramas of the 1960s in the then taboo homosexual relations between teenaged Dick and married too young to an unfaithful wife Reggie.

Both men are trapped in their situations, Dick with his strangers as parents and ailing grandmother, Reggie with his wife Dot who might or might not be pregnant by someone else. This leads them to lives of crime and the love that, at the time, dared not speak its name. Reggie is beaten to death when Dot tips off the ringleader Les that they were going off on their own to rob a cinema. The criminals are punished and Dick rides off at the end on Reggie's motorcycle. Freeman's work predates Brokeback Mountain by forty odd years and the leather associations of 1970s gay culture by a decade. One half expects Dick to scream, "I can't quit you!" as he rides off at the end.

Apparently, this was made into a film much like Colin MacInnes' more famous Mod work Absolute Beginners.

An ear for cockney is necessary to read it, if that makes sense, and it's a quick read if you can find it, albeit a little passe now, but you see that a lot in the books of the period. Transgressions against society MUST be punished, whether it be this work, MacInnes' work or Burgess' work. Reggie dies as much for robbing the cinema as he does for developing feelings for Dick.

And yes, the double entendre is milked in one scene within the text.

Signed,
epsteinsmutha
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