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Official Review: Gay Gringo: A Memoir by Roy Langridge3

Please use this sub-forum to discuss any non-fiction books such as autobiographies or political commentary books.

Official Review: Gay Gringo: A Memoir by Roy Langridge3

Post Number:#1 by CataclysmicKnight
» 09 Jun 2017, 23:10

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Gay Gringo: A Memoir" by Roy Langridge3.]

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2 out of 4 stars
Review by CataclysmicKnight
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June is LGBT Pride Month, a month honoring the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan that "were a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States" (according to the Library of Congress website). This made for a perfect time to read Roy Langridge's Gay Gringo: A Memoir. The book is a memoir about a man named Ron who learns to accept and embrace his homosexuality in the 1980s. Not only does he change his way of life, he changes careers, retiring from an overly-stressful corporate job.

Ron is upset and unhappy with his life at the beginning of the book. Upon the recommendation of numerous friends he ends up going to EST (Erhard Seminar Training) in an attempt to turn his life around and it works! He realizes the stress his corporate job is causing in his life and he accepts, for the first time, that he's gay. As part of turning his life around he quits his job, liquidates his properties and invests so he can go a few years without the pressure of finding a new career. On a vacation with his friend Malcolm he meets a man named Yves who has been travelling the last 11 years, paying for it by writing articles for French newspapers and taking photographs. The two of them end up in a hot tub with two of Ron's female friends, all naked, validating that Ron is absolutely a gay man. It also inspires Ron to go to Paris before realizing it would be far easier and more exciting to make a life for himself somewhere new than to come out to everyone he's already known.

The rest of the book follows Ron as he learns about gay relationships, moving around a bit to find his place in the world before settling in Guadalajara in Jalisco, Mexico. It's a wild ride through one night stands (sometimes far less than a night!) and short-term relationships, looking for something serious and finding his own purpose.

Unfortunately, the book never really found the sweet spot between relationships, life and travelogue. Instead it felt segmented - at first the book felt like a travelogue with some sex scenes and as time went on it shifted back and forth between lewd sex and events in Ron's life. The bits about Ron's life were often very interesting, but I really wished that the parts about gay relationships and sex didn't feel so fragmented. The book also had far less of Ron learning to accept himself and acclimate to his buried tendencies than I would have liked. Part of the plot involved Ron moving away from home in part so that he would never have to come out of the closet with most of his family and friends. While this makes sense - escaping dealing with it is far easier than all of those uncomfortable, potentially painful conversations - it means there's essentially no discussion or representation of how difficult it is to come out to those friends and loved ones.

I also had no idea going into Gay Gringo: A Memoir that there would be so much graphic sex. While I didn't count, it felt like easily a dozen or so scenes altogether, and each was very graphic. It was definitely enough to make me feel like the book should be categorized as erotica, which was a huge surprise. These scenes also include underage sex, and while my google search of the current age of consent in Mexico makes sex with 17 year old boys legal it was mentioned a few times in the book that Ron had to be careful because one of the boys he had sex with was underage. It eludes to more, with Ron saying repeatedly that he preferred younger men (occasionally calling them "boys" instead), but there was only one boy who was specifically said to be underage.

Finally, I was a bit confused about whether the book is fictional or not. The author's name is Roy but the main character's name is Ron. If it's nonfiction some of the scenes don't entirely add up and some of the book didn't quite seem real. On the other hand, if it is fictional then it's clearly based on the author's experiences to some extent - Roy includes some photos throughout the book, especially at the end, and they're fitting with Ron's life. Originally I assumed this was a nonfiction book based on it being called a memoir, but then wondered why the author would so slightly change his name in the book. I checked the Amazon description, I checked the Google Books page and I even googled for both the book and the author himself but found nothing stating whether it was fiction or nonfiction.

I'm very torn on Gay Gringo: A Memoir. I enjoyed some of the travelogue bits, although I never really felt so drawn into a scene that I felt like I was there. I enjoyed some of Roy's insights into the homosexual lifestyle, the differences in relationships and his issues with finding a good long-term partner, but I also wish there was less sex and more of a focus on the relationships. The bits that discussed homosexuality in Mexico in the 80s were especially great, but they were few and far between. I'd rate the book 2.5 stars if I could, but I feel it deserves 2 out of 4 stars more than 3. If you're interested in a man embracing his homosexuality or homosexual erotica you may love the book, but if you don't like erotica or want more personal, introspective insight into coming out, you're likely to be disappointed.

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Re: Official Review: Gay Gringo: A Memoir by Roy Langridge3

Post Number:#2 by Mollymae
» 10 Jun 2017, 19:46

Thanks for such an honest review. I read most of the book but found it very hard to find a message of any sort.
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Re: Official Review: Gay Gringo: A Memoir by Roy Langridge3

Post Number:#3 by Pennybutterfly8
» 10 Jun 2017, 20:37

Thanks for your review I felt like Ron should never quit his job to find happiness it's too much sex going on, he should just stick with friends or try dating first. Where was this book going? I am confused.
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Re: Official Review: Gay Gringo: A Memoir by Roy Langridge3

Post Number:#4 by Chrys Brobbey
» 11 Jun 2017, 20:53

Looking at the title I also thought it was a true life memoir, but now we really don't know. Anyway, while in high school I liked using the word 'gay' in my essays to represent 'happy'. Now the word has been hijacked to mean something else, and I now have to restrain myself from using it to avoid misunderstanding. Congrats for a very thorough review.
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Re: Official Review: Gay Gringo: A Memoir by Roy Langridge3

Post Number:#5 by MarisaRose
» 12 Jun 2017, 13:28

It's a shame the author couldn't balance this book a little better. Seems like this is an interesting perspective to read about, and there appears to be a lot of good content, just needs some better organization/content editing. Interesting review!
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Re: Official Review: Gay Gringo: A Memoir by Roy Langridge3

Post Number:#6 by Rosemary Okoko
» 17 Jun 2017, 07:48

This will be a difficult book to understand for me. Doesn't seem to have any message or theme. Thanks for the review.
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