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The Tragedy of Miss Geneva Flowers Paperback – 31 Mar 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Avalon Publishing Group (31 Mar. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786715200
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786715206
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,572,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Son of Nietzsche on 18 Mar. 2006
Format: Paperback
I cannot praise Joe Babcock’s debut novel highly enough. It is unbelievable to think that it was originally self-published…it deserves as widespread an audience as possible. Yes, it is, in essence, a ‘coming out’ novel; and yes, there are a huge range of novels available in this genre. However, this one absolutely must be read.
Without going into too much detail, the novel is narrated by an initially closeted gay teen, Erick, who has been brought up by a guilt-ridden Catholic mother and a physically present, though emotionally distant father. The family is quietly tormented by the death of Erick’s younger brother in an accident several years previously. Repressed and isolated in his disinterested family home and persecuted by his peers in his rigid Catholic school, Erick meets an older drag queen, Chloe. His first meeting with the fabulous Chloe changes Erick’s world forever…
The power of this work lies primarily in the force of the narrator’s voice. The writing seems so effortless; the words just flow with such ease and fluidity, pulling the reader along with the current. One can’t help but compare it with works such as ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ due to the frank honesty of Erick’s perspective on his world. For the duration of the novel you enter into his mind, feel his self-loathing, and share his hurt, anguish, confusion, and, ultimately, his hope that the present just cannot be as good as it gets – that there must, surely, be somewhere that one can feel truly comfortable with oneself.
Without wishing to wax lyrical, it seems to me that there is a new generation of arresting authors, shaking up the establishment with vitality and a fresh, contemporary perspective.
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By R. Scrivener on 14 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
Brilliant - sexy, eloquent, frightening, sad but ultimately uplifting. A gay teen's route map crashing all manner of red lights but doing an ultimate u-turn, seeing sense and recovering the real world. A very moral tale.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 18 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A surprising breath of fresh air, a must read 9 Jun. 2005
By Daniel C. Freeman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A dazzling display of prose. Joe Babcock captures a teenaged perspective with surprising detail. In a genre fraught with glamorized sexing, drugging, and debauchery The Tragedy Of Miss Geneva Flowers sheds some much needed light on an important part of gay culture that is so often taken for granted. A surprisingly well written fast paced read that takes us on a wide array of fabulous misadventures, as we follow Erick, who is a realistic breath of fresh air, compared with many gay books with protagonists that seem unnaturally wise for their age or just a little too uninhibited for real life. Erick is a well thought out fully realized depiction of what its like to try to find a place in a world that is often more confused with what to do with young gay people than even they themselves are. This book is worth your time.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A Pleasure to Discover 18 Sept. 2003
By "whitecranejournal" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Probably the most exciting thing a reader (or a book reviewer) can discover is a new literary voice. Over the years, for me, these have included such now familiar gay writers as Ethan Mordden, George Whitemore and Felice Picano. I'm thrilled to add Joe Babcock to this list. Babcock's The Tragedy of Miss Geneva Flowers is a remarkable achievement for a first novel.
A native of Minneapolis, Babcock relates the saga of Erick Taylor, a sixteen-year-old Catholic School student who, like all other teenagers, has parents (his overcoming a personal tragedy) who don't understand him. Struggling with coming out, Erick quits school and gets a job at the Uptown Mall, working at a sunglasses franchise. His boss is Chloe, a self-described "grandiloquist' drag queen." With a new wardrobe, platform shoes and a new hair color, Chloe helps Erick toward the path to find himself. Like many impressionable people of his generation, Erick's journey includes experimentation in drugs, sex and drag, including addiction to crystal meth. A huge jolt of reality in Erick's relationship with Chloe leads him toward his responsibilities to himself and those he loves.
The angst-filled teen and young adult novel have been with us for a half-century, with J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye the best known. Still, the world Babcock's
Erick Taylor leads us into is far removed from Holden Caulfield's. So vividly painted are Babcock's portraits of "breaking a window," and the world of the young middle-class crack addict, that he not only voices his experiences, but, for many readers he educates us as well. The realism Babcock presents goes beyond the usual movie-of-the-week style of other, similarly-themed novels. The Tragedy of Miss Geneva Flowers is also told from the point of view of a young gay man, which strengthens its purpose.
As stated previously, it's a pleasure to discover a compelling first novel, and Joe Babcock's self-published first novel, The Tragedy of Miss Geneva Flowers is the most exciting thing I've read since Stephen McCauley's The Object of My Affection in 1987. I should relate that while McCauley's follow-up works are disappointing, Joe Babcock's exceptional talent leads me to believe that his next book will be as vivid an eye-opener as his excellent first effort.
Reviewed by Steven LaVigne in White Crane Journal
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Beg, borrow or steal...but read this book 18 Mar. 2006
By Emotion Through Media - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I cannot praise Joe Babcock's debut novel highly enough. It is unbelievable to think that it was originally self-published...it deserves as widespread an audience as possible. Yes, it is, in essence, a `coming out' novel; and yes, there are a huge range of novels available in this genre. However, this one absolutely must be read.

Since the storyline has already been covered (in fact, over-divulged) by the primary reviewer, little more needs to be said on that subject. The power of this work lies primarily in the force of the narrator's voice. The writing seems so effortless; the words just flow with such ease and fluidity, pulling the reader along with the current. One can't help but compare it with works such as `The Catcher in the Rye' due to the frank honesty of Erick's perspective on his world. For the duration of the novel you enter into his mind, feel his self-loathing, and share his hurt, anguish, confusion, and, ultimately, his hope that the present just cannot be as good as it gets - that there must, surely, be somewhere that one can feel truly comfortable with oneself.

Without wishing to wax lyrical, it seems to me that there is a new generation of arresting authors, shaking up the establishment with vitality and a fresh, contemporary perspective. Joe Babcock undoubtedly is among this swathe, along with others such as J T LeRoy, Kief Hillsbery and Blair Mastbaum. It is an electrifying time for gay literature. Once you've devoured `The Tragedy of Miss Geneva Flowers', check out Joe Babcock's second novel, `The Boys and the Bees'. And then eagerly await his next...
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
the most unusual coming of age novel I've ever read 26 April 2005
By Andrew - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I can see why it won a lambda literary award, because this novel defies catagorization and is so wonderfully unpredictable and disturbing and unique. As someone who is from Minneapolis I thought it accurately reflected life in that city in the halcyon days of 1990. I thouroughly enjoyed it.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A powerful novel of struggle, risk, and steep prices 19 July 2003
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Writer's Digest International Self-Published Book grand prize award winner, Tragedy Of Miss Geneva Flowers by Joe Babcock and published by Closet Case Books, is a thoughtful and reflective novel arising from the theme of what it is like to grow up as a young homosexual man in America. Sixteen-year-old Erick Taylor dreams of being star, has problems with his Catholic school and its bullies, and is uncertain about his personal identity and future. When Erick meets a drag queen, he is drawn into the world of gay nightlife in Minnesota -- yet threatening consequences await his inexperienced exploration. A powerful novel of struggle, risk, and steep prices paid by those who are different from most others, The Tragedy Of Miss Geneva Flowers is almost impossible to put down.
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