4 out of 4 stars
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Let No Stranger Wait Outside Your Door is an entertaining, informative and poignant memoir by Lou Kief.
More than the story of the author’s life, the book ‘shares what it was like to be gay at a time when society chose to deny the existence of and ignored and ridiculed’ gay people. Moreover, the book tells about a small group of people who took a stand and used their imagination and creativity on a small community that takes care of its own.
The book is divided into three parts. Part I is about the author’s life as a young man working in an ambulance service while trying to hide his gayness from his family. Part II tells of the author’s life in California and Part III features the author’s life at sea.
The author, in a conversational and casual tone, describes what it feels like to hide what you truly are and how you really feel. Moreover, he relates the prejudice and discrimination suffered by gay people at a time when homosexuality was considered a mental illness. Furthermore, he shares the pain of a broken heart which sends him away from his birthplace.
On the lighter note, the author regales the readers with a glimpse of the interesting, colorful and inspiring life of the gay people. He tells of the kind and wonderful individuals he met, the things he was able to do with his hands as a carpenter, and the adventures he participated in. He relates how the gay people look out for each other.
The author shares not only the story of his life but also the history of the places he had been in and the people he had met. Apparently, the author spent a great time to research the historical background of places like Guerneville as well as historical events like riots, fires and earthquakes in California. He also mentions some historical gay figures including Harvey Milk and Jose Sarria.
The book is very interesting, entertaining, amusing and touching, especially the last part. The author tells his stories very vividly that reading feels like I was talking with the author over a cup of coffee while he entertains me with his tales complete with facial expressions and hand gestures. The book is more like traveling to a place and a time long gone than a life story of one man. It is a tribute to the brave people who dared to challenge the norm and fought for the basic right to live.
However, there were too many names mentioned in the book that I had a difficult time remembering who was who. Moreover, I noticed some typo errors (like one a Monday and getting close him) and misspelled words (distain instead of disdain and threates instead of threats) which are, thankfully, too few to detract from the enjoyment of reading the book.
I, therefore, rate this book 4 out of 4 stars and I recommend it to readers who enjoy stories about LGBTQ. It is interesting, entertaining, informative and inspiring.
Let No Stranger Wait Outside Your Door
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