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An account of a pivotal century for the gay community from a man who LIVED it!
on 10 July 2014
Well, I picked up this book at the airport yesterday: a bit of lighthearted reading in between my flights, I thought. I was hooked from the word go, but this is far from light-hearted. It's an amazing account of a gay man's life through nearly a century that has seen some of the most awful and wonderful things happen to the gay community. He has witnessed at first hand human beings at their most intolerant and most accepting, and he still fights for what he believes in, even in his 10th decade on this planet: "To be able to love and be loved in return by whomever he chooses".
Even though 54 years separate us in age, as a gay man, I could really relate to a lot of the thoughts and feelings George has had throughout his life. We as a society tend to look at our elderly population as a bit of a burden: needing help with everything, unable to get around very well, absent-minded. We forget that they have the vast knowledge that life brings and they have had all the same wants, needs, desires and insecurities we have now.
The book is written in a charmingly friendly style. I felt like I was sitting with George in the pub as he told me his life story. His way of writing really makes you feel enamoured to the man, rooting for some good to come out of what, at times, must have been an extremely stressful life of internal conflict. As you can see from the front cover and from the wonderful pictures inside, the hard journey was worth it. I do hope it is not just the gay community that picks up this book to have a read; as society changes rapidly there are still the intolerant people out there who would benefit from seeing how their narrow-mindedness can affect people so deeply. I also hope the young gay community picks this book up too, to see how a lifestyle that they take for granted was so different only a very short time ago.
I thank George for having the courage to put his (in places) very open and frank story into the world. I laughed, blushed, got angry and had a tear rolling down my face as I was let into what is usually someone's private life. I hope this book does really well.