Matthew Rettenmund, Blind Items: a (Love) Story

2014-01-17 001Title: Blind Items: a (Love) Story

Author: Matthew Rettenmund

Publication Information: New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2000, c1998

ISBN: 0-312-26295-7 (978-0312-2629-52)

Library of Congress Classification: PS3568.E774

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Gay men—New York (State)—New York—Fiction
Authors—New York (State)—New York—Fiction
Gay authors—New York (State)—New York—Fiction
Motion picture actors and actresses—United States—Fiction
Gay motion picture actors and actresses—United States—Fiction

This book was hard to put down. I really liked it.

The protagonist is David Greer, a 32-year-old gay man living in Manhattan and working at a pornography publisher as an editor and writer. He doesn’t like his job, and wants to do “real” writing, but finds his confidence lagging. He is friends with Warren Junior, a gay gossip columnist who writes stories about the stars in the closet, but always using code. His other best friend is Carol Terry, a straight woman who he once made out with when drunk.

David meets the up-and-coming Alan Dillinger, the hot star of the moment who is on the TV-ratings topper Lifesavers (think Baywatch). They meet at a Lifesavers promotion party; the only reason David and Carol can go is because Warren gives David his invitation. David discovers Alan is a closet queen, but none-the-less embarks on a relationship with him. David, out and proud, finds dealing with Alan’s secretive sexual orientation troubling, but Alan assures him that he intends to come out—someday. When that day is, and if Alan comes out or is outed, becomes a theme running throughout the rest of the book.

It’s amazing how much has changed since 1998, when this book was written—15 years ago. There are more out stars, but there are still so many in the closet. Same-sex marriage is now recognized in double-digit state numbers, something that was only beginning in 1998.

Chapters vary perspective and, it turns out, time. David’s chapters are told in the first-person; the rest are told from third person. Anyone who reads about John Dewey, a socially-backward and withdrawn teenager, will probably figure out who he turns out to be, but I didn’t and was surprised by the end of the book.

Maybe the reason I liked this book so much is because the characters were real.

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