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Comment: Expedited shipping available on this book. The book has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged.
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All American Boy Hardcover – 27 May 2005

4.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing (27 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0758203284
  • ISBN-13: 978-0758203281
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.1 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,852,288 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

William J. Mann is the critically acclaimed author of Wisecracker: The Life and Times of William Haines, Hollywood's First Openly Gay Star, as well as The Biograph Girl and the novel The Men from the Boys. He is a contributor to Architectural Digest, The Boston Phoenix, and The Advocate. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is the first novel I have read by William J Mann, and it is a superb addition to my collection. As well as being intriguing on the most basic level (small town scandals, hidden family secrets) it is also highly accomplished (adeptly employing techniques such as fluid notions of time to both portray the characters' states of mind and to reveal incidents that created the people they have become).

Although Walter is ostensibly the primary focus of this novel, all the characters are well-developed and vividly portrayed - and moreover, are intensely human, with their own quirks and three-dimensional personalities. Walter's mother, for example, is a masterly creation in her own right. And that's really the point of this review - to stress that this is unquestionably not a `typical' coming of age novel; it reaches far beyond such simple categorisation. Similar in vein to the excellent works of Bart Yates and D Travers Scott, `All American Boy' is expertly crafted and multi-layered, incorporating far broader themes that apply to individuals of any sexuality: the point at which innocence is lost and it's significance; the role of family and extended families; the consequences for the future of closing one's eyes to the past.

One of the most appealing aspects of this work is that the author avoids the temptation to play god and pass moral judgment over his creations, but recognises that the subjectivity of morality mandates that the reader must be left to draw their own conclusions. This is, in part, achieved by the technique of allowing us only to view events through the eyes of the characters themselves; an admirably Nietzschian stance recognising that `reality' only exists from an individual perspective.
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Format: Hardcover
The book is absolutely gripping. I could not put it down and read it twice. William J Mann's style is so precise and so musical. The characters come alive and it seems as if the reader has known them forever. All the characters sound true to nature and all are, in their own way, very moving. I recommend the book very warmly indeed. I am sure that you will be tempted to read it again and again as I have.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What can I say?

I had high hopes for this book - the overview was exciting, setting the scene for a (potentially) great story and the other reviews gave high ratings.

In reality though, the book was confusing, poorly written, difficult to read (not due to content) and badly paced. The author states in his 'letter to fans' at the end of the book that it was 'a book he'd long wanted to write' - which explains the self-indulgence of the story, characters and content.

I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't actually finish the book - I was two-thirds of way though when I gave up. I didn't understand and couldn't be bothered trying to anymore. This also explains why I'm not talking specifics here with regard to the story (what story) - I just don't know what it was on about!!

Future readers - buy at your own peril.....
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If nothing else this book would make an ideal film with a cast of characters - good, bad and indifferent. Personally I found the book just as much about Regina,his mother, than about Wally the protagonist. We are part of her interior world, listening to her voices and seeing what really isn't there. Wally knows none of this. He only sees the apparent disintegration of his mother but we are on the inside looking out and can understand where she is coming from. Wally admits that they never knew one another nor had the least desire to do so. Regina stands out as a really 'done by' woman as they say, who suffered far more than her son. There are a lot of other characters in the book who are just as interesting - if not more so - than Wally and the latter chapters take a counter cultural stance as the 'boy now man' cannot bring himself to emotionally accept that the 'relationship' he had with a man when he was fourteen was detrimental to his emotional developement. He does realise that he was coming from such an emotionally disfunctional and cold household that any glimpse of emotional warmth would have been jumped on and seen as a lifeline - which Wally did. You must make your own mind up on that issue. It is a great read though and some of the chapters make hard reading and the focusing in and out of Regina's mind can be difficult to follow but never impossible. Totally absorbing and more than you think it will be.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is worth reading through in its entirity, but it may take some effort. The characterisation is good and I did find myself wanting to know the outcome despite some passages which I found hard going.

I have heard great things about the author and have seen very strong recommendations - on this evidence I am not sure what all the fuss is about but nevertheless a fairly good read.
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