13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
"I needed a man just as desperately as Juliet needed Romeo",
This review is from: Teardrops on My Drum (Gay Men's Press Collection) (Paperback)
It is surely impossible not to be swept away by this incredibly sweet and entertaining book. It is described as an autobiographical work, but don't let that deter you: this reads as smoothly as would any fictional story, and is essentially a delightful and intensely captivating tale of boyhood.
Set in 1930s Liverpool, our narrator, Jack, grows up in poverty, yet scampers around the streets and alleyways of the city, barefoot and happy. 'Teardrops on My Drum' covers his life from the age of about 5, up to the age of 14. Along the way, young Jack falls in and out of love (or lust) many times, and discloses (in his disarmingly naïve, but highly erotic way) his 'adventures' with playmates, his best friend, older teenagers on a camping trip, and a young policeman - with whom he has moved in by the time he is 13. Jack is adorable; wide-eyed yet sensual, looking for sex, fun, and a man to love him - and has an uncanny ability to discover all three with impressive frequency. The squalor and grime of pre-WW2 Liverpool, with its horses and carts, docks, filthy streets, slums and unemployment, are beautifully captured by the author as the backdrop to the tale.
What strikes the reader most about the narrative is Jack's constant tone of optimism and joie de vivre. He comes from poverty, is frequently betrayed by disinterested parents (his mother pawns a treasured book that he won as a school prize) and, materially, has nothing to call his own. Yet, he remains full of sunshine, manages to find pleasure in his daily life, and pursues his desires determinedly. If you were to be harshly critical, you might question whether it is plausible for a character to be so loveable and flawless. But in this case, I am more than willing to drop my cynicism. Absolutely enchanting, and unmissable - a must for your collection.