{Free Best} Becoming a Man: Half a Life StoryAuthor Paul Monette – Mariahilff.de

A child of the s from a small New England town, perfect Paul earns straight A s and shines in social and literary pursuits, all the while keeping a secret from himself and the rest of the world Struggling to be, or at least to imitate, a straight man, through Ivy League halls of privilege and bohemian travels abroad, loveless intimacy and unrequited passion, Paul Monette was haunted, and finally saved, by a dream of the thing I d never even seen two men in love and laughing Searingly honest, witty, and humane, Becoming a Man is the definitive coming out story in the classic coming of age genre


10 thoughts on “Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story

  1. Whitaker Whitaker says:

    I came out at 17 I came out when I fell for a man 11 years my senior I fell for a man who, in relation to me, was in a position of authority It was one of the luckiest things to have ever happened to me in my entire life There are many who will read this and self righteously pronounce it to have been damaging How very wrong they would be Damaging is what my life would have been like if I had not met this man That life is the life that Paul Monette has written about in this book A life of I came out at 17 I came out when I fell for a man 11 years my senior I fell for a man who, in relation to me, was in a position of authority It was one of the luckiest things to have ever happened to me in my entire life There are many who will read this and self righteously pronounce it to have been damaging How very wrong they would be Damaging is what my life would have been like if I had not met this man That life is the life that Paul Monette has written about in this book A life of self loathing encounters with gay men as equally filled with self hate, a constant battle to suffocate yourself, to turn yourself to ice For those who have not experienced it, it is the equivalent of cutting out your heart, gouging out your eyes, lancing your eardrums, and cutting out your tongue because that is the only way to get through the each and every day when you look at, talk to, laugh with, but not fall in love with the other young men that surround you We had a relationship that lasted for a year For the most part, we enjoyed it although he found it frustrating not to have me aroundoften than I could be Through him, I found a community of gay men educated, professional, and well adjusted The most critical lesson they taught me was that you could be gay and a man, gay and successful They taught me that I did not have to be ashamed I read this book, and I give thanks that the years he suffered were not my years And I give thanks for the laughing man by my side today, a thanks that goes as much to men like Paul Monette who, a lifetime and a continent away, made it possible for men like me to not live the life he had to live Where ever you are Paul, a big sloppy kiss thank you Pink Dot Singapore s Very Own Version of a Gay Parade image error


  2. Michael Michael says:

    Charts the author s journey out of the closet into self acceptance In urbane, witty prose Monette sketches the first twenty six years of his life, at which point he met his lifelong partner Born in a working class New England town in the 40s, the writer realized early on that he was different from other boys and struggled to make sense of his sexuality as he grew up The memoir dramatizes the struggle he faced in accepting his queerness during his youth and early adulthood, at elite instituti Charts the author s journey out of the closet into self acceptance In urbane, witty prose Monette sketches the first twenty six years of his life, at which point he met his lifelong partner Born in a working class New England town in the 40s, the writer realized early on that he was different from other boys and struggled to make sense of his sexuality as he grew up The memoir dramatizes the struggle he faced in accepting his queerness during his youth and early adulthood, at elite institutions he attended as a student on scholarship and, later, as an instructor himself The writing s intimate and digressive, even if it comes across as a bit conventional and dated today, and the work sketches a moving portrait of one boy s coming of age


  3. Dan Dan says:

    Becoming a Man Half a Life Story is a memoir written by Paul Monette in 1992 as he was fighting AIDS and it also won him the National Book Award He died three years later at the age of 49.This book was written about the first half of his life from childhood into his twenties Monette was a gay man who came of age in the 60 s and attended elite schools like Andover and Yale He knew early on that he was different sexually and unsurprisingly had major identity issues as he was in the closet an Becoming a Man Half a Life Story is a memoir written by Paul Monette in 1992 as he was fighting AIDS and it also won him the National Book Award He died three years later at the age of 49.This book was written about the first half of his life from childhood into his twenties Monette was a gay man who came of age in the 60 s and attended elite schools like Andover and Yale He knew early on that he was different sexually and unsurprisingly had major identity issues as he was in the closet and remaining invisible was so difficult for him He expressed as bi sexual.The writing in spots was really quite good Not as consistent as I would have liked but I probably wasn t the target audience While I have empathy I can t relate as viscerally to many of the situations The writing was self indulgent at times, as memoirs often are There aren t a lot of characters other than the author that this book focuses on forthan a few pages I found the sections around his prep school life far and away the best part of the book, 5 star stuff He writes poignantly about his teenage obsession with Liz Taylor and how he felt he was the opposite of Holden Caulfield, the main character in The Catcher In the Rye 4 stars The discussions around sex are pretty explicit or at the very least are consistently peppered throughout the book This was similar to my experience in reading And The Band Played On by Randy Stilts which was a remarkable read by the way


  4. LenaRibka LenaRibka says:

    To say that I love this book would be a pathetic understatement I do not rank myself among lovers of memoirs, and here I am, having finished my next non fiction book by Paul Monette, and desperately trying to find the right words that could do justice to Monette s life and his amazing personality.In Becoming a man Paul Monette told a life story of growing up, coming out, finding himself It s a long painful process, full of fears, angst, shame, suffering from low self esteem, self hatred,doubts To say that I love this book would be a pathetic understatement I do not rank myself among lovers of memoirs, and here I am, having finished my next non fiction book by Paul Monette, and desperately trying to find the right words that could do justice to Monette s life and his amazing personality.In Becoming a man Paul Monette told a life story of growing up, coming out, finding himself It s a long painful process, full of fears, angst, shame, suffering from low self esteem, self hatred,doubts and giving up hope of ever being happy It s about his closet I A period of time from his birth to the day when he met Roger Horwitz, his soul mate, who become his lover for twelve years, and whom he lost to AIDS.A very intimate and poetic prose, beautiful, emotional and absolutely non put down able Paul Monette can convey emotions like nobody else It s one of his greatest talent.I know whom I have to BLAME THANK for my infatuation for this author even if Ije says that she is just a bit nerdy, I consider her as an expert of Paul Monette Since my first book by Monette, Borrowed Time An AIDS Memoir, we haven t stopped talking about him, and if you have a look at his profile page and see how many informations, links, videos, Ije posted there, you won t doubt her passion for Paul Monette And I m so glad that we read this book together thank you, Ije , and shared our opinions about this amazing MAN It is the most fascinating thing about GR you can find the most interesting books that you can discuss with the same reading nerds like you, books that you d probably never come across if you be on your own.It s why I d recommend you to read Ije s review.Just a little advice from me If you have never read anything by Paul Monette, don t start with this book YOU HAVE TO READ Borrowed Time An AIDS Memoir BEFORE Of course you can read his fiction novels or his poems first, and then Borrowed Time and ONLY after it you can read this one.And then VERY IMPORTANT watch the documentary Paul Monette On the Brink of Summer s End Our BR with Ije here


  5. Ije the Devourer of Books Ije the Devourer of Books says:

    There are not enough stars for this book.I don t even know if I can ever review this meaningfully and fully capture my reading experience This book won the National Book Award for 1992 and I am not surprised because it is simply amazing but also deeply haunting and painful This is one story, a true story that will stay with me for the rest of my life.This isthan a coming out story, it is indeed a life story or half a life story as the author describes it and I am grateful that the author There are not enough stars for this book.I don t even know if I can ever review this meaningfully and fully capture my reading experience This book won the National Book Award for 1992 and I am not surprised because it is simply amazing but also deeply haunting and painful This is one story, a true story that will stay with me for the rest of my life.This isthan a coming out story, it is indeed a life story or half a life story as the author describes it and I am grateful that the author managed to share this story before he died in 1995.We are taken along the journey of Paul Monette s childhood, adolescence and early adulthood as he grapples with everything that life throws at us as we grow, but also struggles with his own closeted existence.What an amazing man to be able to fully understand what was happening in his life and then years later explain this to the world.His writing is phenomenal as he takes us to his simple but loving upbringing, his childhood in Andover, his parents, the struggles and resillience of his disabled brother, his uncles, school and the way in which he tried to cope with his sexuality by hiding his feelings and over compensating for this hiddeness in the way he interacted with others By this I mean he had a straight facade which he thought would fool others but didn t fool everyone and sustaining this facade consumed much of his teenage years and early twenties Living in the closet cast a shadow over his high school experience and his University days and early career because it denied him the opportunity to be who he truly was and also led him to make some dangerous and unhealthy choices in all sorts of ways.His writing shows us a young American white male, who isn t from a privileged family but who manages to ride on the cusp of upper class white privilege because of his intellectual ability He gained access to prep school and Yale because of his intellect and managed to negotiate these stages of his life because of his intellect.And that intellect flows through this powerful writing as Paul Monette shows us how his years in the closet both shaped and mis shaped him as a person and individual The way in which the fear of being seen as homosexual influenced his choice of friends and his behaviour, not just in high school but in University, is heartbreaking but also fascinating Of course people do often present themselves in the best light and hide all kinds of things about themselves, but this need to hide and present a false fascade had a deep impact on Paul s early life, his teen years and early adulthood The closet for him was a place that cast a shadow on his daily activities, on the way he saw himself and the way he interacted with people around him Although he was extraordinarily clever he couldn t enjoy life fully and truly because he couldn t be himself For me as I read his story I felt the loss of freedom and the lack of self love and it has left me feeling quite heartbroken that anyone should have to experience life in this way Of course people can experience this in all kinds of way because the world is a difficult place Societal pressure, family expectations, lack of opportunity, low self esteem can cast shadows into any life and cause people to neglect their desires and hopes Freedom is such a gift but for so many people it has to be fought for and it is not just the freedom to do things but also the freedom to be.The writing just drew me in and gripped me and I was so happy that I read this together with my friend Lena so that we could share our experiences Sometimes I was horrified by the emotions and the strain that being in the closet must have placed on Paul at such a young age and it made me think about the need to support all young people to be fully who they really are.As a priest I appreciate Paul s anger against the way the bible was used to beat gay people and rob them of their humanity, an utterly disgraceful way of using the bible which persists today Although he was not Catholic and was brought up Episcopalian like myself, his anger against the Roman Catholic church flows off the page in a way I could only describe as scorching It is a well deserved anger because the religious condemnation at the time had little to do with Jesus and much to do with religious politics and the need for the religious institutions to retain power over the masses, something that religious institutions and political institutions and so many other societal organisations, have been doing since the dawn of time the creation of the other who is then vilified and outcast as a way for the power holder to retain that power I am glad for the religious leaders and communities all over the world who seek to welcome and include all people and to value and love them which is what the bible requires of us real love, real welcome, not the hatred and exclusion that Paul and so many others have experienced.There is a lot of pain in this book It is a kind of invisible pain and Paul Monette speaks about it very early on It is the deep relentless pain of being disconnected from who you really are and having to pretend so you can fit in In some ways this was his choice because he met other gay men who chose to live openly, so if he had wanted to he could have done the same, but for him the desperate need for conformity and acceptance was overriding and consuming In the end it was a deep love for his partner Roger, who he met in his late twenties, that enabled him to break free and live and love openly as a gay man and that is what love should do Love should enable us to flourish This made me realise the importance of community because Paul didn t have the gay role models or communities and the kinds of social groups that we have today Having to live up to the expectations of others is a kind of pain that I rebelled against even as I read this book My life has not been easy as a 20th 21st century black African woman but I have always been free, free to be me and I have revelled in it even when people have disliked me and excluded me Being myself is my version of resistance because I come alive most when I am truly me So to read this story of a young man having to deny who he truly is, is just painful and i am glad that Paul Monette found love with Roger and then Steven and Winston, even if Roger and Stephen were lost to AIDS.It struck me that there was a noticeable lack of political awareness in Paul s youth His life seemed to be focused on studying, working to earn money and trying to fit in with others and to hide his sexuality All of this seems to happen in a vacuum or through a lens of closeted sexuality Paul does experience the assassination of Kennedy but only because it provided him with an opportunity to cope with a date that he had arranged with a young woman Paul mentions in his writing that being in the closet and trying to pass as a straight person very much consumed him and I suppose together with studies and work he wouldn t have had the time or the inclination to engage or absorb political and social change His life was very much focused on what was immediate to himself which in many ways makes sense Why explore the world outside when you are trying to stabilise the world inside Paul avoids the draft to the Vietnam war by declaring his sexuality on the forms he is asked to fill in He was rejected for being gay The one time in his early twenties where he comes out and ironically it benefits him He is aware of the civil rights movement and the Stonewall riots but only through a glass darkly, but he eventually gets to see things face to face when he meets Roger Horwitz and his political engagement eventually rose to the fore in the most powerful way as an AIDS activist.I think Paul s writing has a way of comforting those who struggle with life, not just people who are LGBT, but anyone who struggles with where life has placed them This is not just a story about an individual, it is also a story about family and the difficulties of raising a disabled child Indeed his brother s childhood and all the operations his brother endured show us what it was like to be disabled in the fifties and sixties and the ways in which disabled people were excluded, separated in institutions and hidden away So here Paul shows us another kind of closet which is one that is created for people who have physical health or mental health conditions Paul s work is also a commentary on the cost of privilege and power He shows us how he was touched by this life of privilege even though he was at the margins, and how this privileged class retains their power and privilege by the process of exclusion but not all of those privileged people were happy especially some of the women whom he taught poetry to They were in gilded cages and closets of their own.This is indeed a beautiful story which portrays an underlying pain and struggle to fit in but which also shows a journey towards truth, the truth of being who you really are and the need for self love And when love arrives the writing evokes hope even though that hope is tested years later in the grip of the AIDS crisis Thankfully Paul Monette was able to travel this journey and experience love and friendship and despite his untimely death, his life shows us how we should embrace who we are and allow others to do the same, allow others in our society, churches and other institutions to be different and to be who they fully are But his writing and his life are also a beautiful testimony about the power of love, not just love from another person but love of self and the life that flows from within us if we allow it to.And at the end it is also a testimony of life I think about my gay brothers They are my only brothers and they love me as their sister And I think about Paul Monette and all those lost to Aids and I am grateful for my brothers who visit me and bring me Baileys indulging my sweet tooth, and they listen to my difficulties and I listen to their s and we plan trips to Stonehenge and who knows where else beyond And they too have stories of pain but thankfully they found their way with courage and are living life to its fullest I think of Paul and Roger and Stephen and I delight in the lives of my brothers.And I am grateful to have taken this time to read and reflect on the early life of Paul Monette, grateful that we have the knowledge, the strength and the vision to protest and not allow homophobia and hate to ruin our society, our governments, our Churches and our lives And I am grateful that Paul s words and his testimony give us the fire and the courage to continue the struggle


  6. Julie Ehlers Julie Ehlers says:

    Becoming a Man Half a Life Story was Paul Monette s response to readers of his first memoir, Borrowed Time, who wanted to know how he and his partner Roger got together and fell in love in the first place Here, Monette examines his childhood, his realization that he was gay, and his first furtive attempts to do something about it, eventually leading to his finding true love at the age of 26 Monette seems to feel that 26 is a really long time to wait for true love some of us would beg to diff Becoming a Man Half a Life Story was Paul Monette s response to readers of his first memoir, Borrowed Time, who wanted to know how he and his partner Roger got together and fell in love in the first place Here, Monette examines his childhood, his realization that he was gay, and his first furtive attempts to do something about it, eventually leading to his finding true love at the age of 26 Monette seems to feel that 26 is a really long time to wait for true love some of us would beg to differ , but this feeling was no doubt exacerbated by the many years he had to spend hiding this aspect of himself, and the shame that accompanied that hiding Some of this is dark stuff, but given both Monette s copious writing talents and his biting sense of humor, Becoming a Man is always a pleasure to read.Both Borrowed Time and Becoming a Man were groundbreaking at the time of their publication In some parts of the world, we ve thankfully moved beyond the idea that being gay is something that needs a lot of explaining in order to be accepted although obviously that s far from being true everywhere, even today The value of Becoming a Man now is twofold It serves its original purpose for those who still resist full acceptance of LGBTQ people, and for the rest of us it offers a moving, beautifully written reminder of how far we ve come and how vigilant we must be in protecting that progress


  7. Kylan Kylan says:

    First published in 1992 and yet, here in 2015, in a small town at the bottom of the world, I read the words of Paul Monette and am in shocked awe of how much I see my own life in his I think if I read this at an earlier age I would have thrown the book aside or dismissed it completely obviously still in doubt about my own guilt But now, at 33, I m glad to have come across it and read it The impact of his words are so real it actually hurt to read them But then, I guess, that is the reality First published in 1992 and yet, here in 2015, in a small town at the bottom of the world, I read the words of Paul Monette and am in shocked awe of how much I see my own life in his I think if I read this at an earlier age I would have thrown the book aside or dismissed it completely obviously still in doubt about my own guilt But now, at 33, I m glad to have come across it and read it The impact of his words are so real it actually hurt to read them But then, I guess, that is the reality of it That when shit is real, it hurts The writing is beautiful and tragic and revealing and vulnerable I ve highlighted so many passages in this book that most pages are pink I can t believe it myself sometimes, how fresh the wounds of the deep past sting, how sharp the dry eyed tears are even at this distance.For an hour or a a day the pain wins It throws a veil of amnesia over my real life Paul s story just tells it as it happened It s tortured and hopeful It s a life One that I can surely identify with


  8. Sara Sara says:

    This is one of those books that I went in wanting to like Resurrecting texts from former classes, hellbent on actually reading the books that I was introduced to during my 4 years at college, I picked this one off the shelf, remembering some of the discussions we had about it in my Gay and Lesbian Lit Class Monette s story started out a bit dry, but I figured that he had to set the stage before he could really get into it his feelings, his experiences Unfortunately that passionate jolt n This is one of those books that I went in wanting to like Resurrecting texts from former classes, hellbent on actually reading the books that I was introduced to during my 4 years at college, I picked this one off the shelf, remembering some of the discussions we had about it in my Gay and Lesbian Lit Class Monette s story started out a bit dry, but I figured that he had to set the stage before he could really get into it his feelings, his experiences Unfortunately that passionate jolt never came and instead it just seemed like drawn out half recollections from a man still not at ease with the way his life played out Although I understand the difficulty of his struggle to be a gay man in a time when being such was strictly forbidden, Monette s constant self analysis and critical analysis of everyone around him, along with the drawn out expositions and overused phrases metaphors the suffocating agonizing claustrophobic closet the laughing man he desired to find for himself became redundant.Also, it was difficult at times to connect with his horrible suffering and struggles as an outsider because he wasn t as rich as his peers at Andover Prep School and later, Yale It felt like even though he wrote this memoir from the stance of understanding, a time where he had grown beyond his insecurities, that he was still very much insecure His constant dissection of what he and everyone around him really meant, what they were really trying to prove by their actions, instead of just telling the story, was distracting.More so, I thought that book would lead us to the great climax of when Monette would finally let himself love and be loved as a gay man Although he did share that, it only came in the final pages And sadly, the introduction of Roger, his lover of 17 years, was the only part that really seemed heartfelt


  9. Jordan Jordan says:

    Thus in my own crippled way I had no choice but to keep on looking in the wrong places for the thing I d never even seen two men in love and laughing For that was the image in my head, though I d never read it in any book or seen it in any movie I d fashioned it out of bits of dreams and the hurt that went with pining after straight men Everything told me it couldn t exist, especially the media code of invisibility, where queers were spoken of only in the context of molesting Boy Scouts Yet Thus in my own crippled way I had no choice but to keep on looking in the wrong places for the thing I d never even seen two men in love and laughing For that was the image in my head, though I d never read it in any book or seen it in any movie I d fashioned it out of bits of dreams and the hurt that went with pining after straight men Everything told me it couldn t exist, especially the media code of invisibility, where queers were spoken of only in the context of molesting Boy Scouts Yet the vision of the laughing men dogged me and wouldn t be shaken,insistent with every lonely month, every encounter that didn t quite happen The searching became as compulsive as any insatiable need, till I sometimes thought I d lost my mind but I also think it kept me alive 178 This is among the most beautiful and important books I have ever read, and well worth my recent re read Concerned about the reductive responses to his earlier memoir, Borrowed Time An AIDS Memoir, Monette decided to write this book, his coming out story, to show that his life was not an idyllic gay dream until AIDS happened While, yes, Roger was is the best thing to have happened to him, Monette did spend the first 25 years of his life in the closet, and the acidity of his self loathing brought him close to death by his own hand I first read this book as a closeted college student myself, and I found it so relatable, so true to life, and so indicative of the journey I hoped to take toward happiness and my own Laughing Man Monette realizes early on that he s different In elementary school, he has a pseudo sexual relationship with his friend Kite, meeting up behind barns and in tree houses to rub each other s dicks He doesn t understand what he s doing, but knows it s wrong when his mother catches him For decades after the initial discovery, Monette torments himself with his mother s words What were you doing with Kite What was he doing Is he one of the faggots, the mythical creatures always discussed in derogatory terms among his father s friends Is this just a phase There were no gay people in Monette s midcentury childhood, only deviants and outlaws As Monette grows up, he experiences depression, unrequited crushes, and anonymous sexual encounters, all of which I could relate to in my own journey out of the closet I was especially fond of his mythic terms for homosexuality As he grows and meets other gay men, he sees the various caricatures that the closet threatens to turn him into the desexualized eunuch, the nonthreatening friend among women the professorial bachelor, working among boys, soaking in their admiration, but never their affection the Dan Savage esque bisexual, intending to have relationships with women and downplaying subjugating justifying his true homosexual desires and the predator, pursuing homosex at the expense of friendships, trust, and above all, love These are all guises Monette adopts, but ultimately grows from Pain is not insurmountable the Laughing Man is waiting I also appreciate Monette s willingness to get ugly, a quality he is largely lacking in Borrowed Time There are explicit sex scenes, describing view spoiler his first haphazard attempt at anal sex as shattering his body and soul, and the desperate older men who gave him blow jobs in his youth as seeming to suck some essential part of his innocence out of his body hide spoiler Pedophilia also arises view spoiler Monette has a sexual relationship with one of his English students, which almost gets him fired, eventually leads to his resignation, and still threatens to ruin his life months and even years later hide spoiler These are unpleasant, cringe worthy moments in Monette s coming out story, but they are essential parts of his story, and that s why they re here However ugly the journey, Paul Monette became a man And this feeling that I m the last one left, in a world where only the ghosts still laugh But at least they re the ghosts of full grown men, proof that all of us got that far, free of the traps and the lies And from that moment on the brink of summer s end, no one would ever tell me again that men like me couldn t love 278 Buy this title from Powell s Books


  10. Dominic Dominic says:

    Like the best of us, I ve spent a little time in therapy, aimlessly talking about my childhood, my personal interactions with family and loved ones and colleagues, and my ever evolving identity It was a process I found incredibly fascinating and even freeing coming to see myself as a character in my own unfolding story.Reading Becoming a Man Half a Life Story was a little like watching a person in therapy, as Monette retells and extrapolates and muses It s a painful journey to watch unfold, a Like the best of us, I ve spent a little time in therapy, aimlessly talking about my childhood, my personal interactions with family and loved ones and colleagues, and my ever evolving identity It was a process I found incredibly fascinating and even freeing coming to see myself as a character in my own unfolding story.Reading Becoming a Man Half a Life Story was a little like watching a person in therapy, as Monette retells and extrapolates and muses It s a painful journey to watch unfold, as Monette struggles with the suffocation of a life as a closeted gay man, but his confession is a tremendous gift to anyone who has held a secret close to their heart because of shame or fear or self hatred To top it all off, Monette is a lovely writer, and I would love to find some of his poetry and see how it holds up, considering he admits this verse was just as much a hiding place as it was an art.Monette is a generous soul, and this is one of the most effective and affecting memoir I ve ever read, even while it is clearly the most aching