Monday, 3 October 2011

Sparkle: The Queerest Book You'll Ever Love by Rob Rosen

A madcap coming-out story with a wicked bent, Sparkle: The Queerest Book You'll Ever Love has it all: sex, drugs, and 80’s rock 'n' roll, piercings and tattoos, drag queens and near-death experiences, all with a beautiful San Francisco backdrop and enough twists and turns to make even Lombard Street jealous. Your mama never told you that being queer could be this much fun!

Secret meets Sparkle, and his whole world changes. Secret is young, a virgin, and finds himself enthralled by Sparkle, who is up for anything despite the consequences. This is due to Sparkle’s upbringing and how he chooses to cope with his childhood and the treatment he received from his family—mainly his pig of a brother who is a serious gay-hater.

In the present Sparkle is in hospital, put there by one of his enemies. As Secret waits for news of Sparkle getting better, he relates the story from when he met Sparkle to now—and finding out which enemy hurt his friend.

Told in narrator style, Secret involves the reader with snappy asides and tells the tale as though he’s talking directly to you. This leads to a feeling of great involvement, an intimacy you may not get with other books. I’d been wanting to read this book for a long time due to the excellent title, so I was glad to see it in our inbox.

I wasn’t disappointed. With each tale involving an enemy, there is much fun and laughter, some tears, some anger, and because each “episode” is different, I never got bored. As well as each tale, the whole book is strung together by various themes and back story, so it isn’t like the tales are separate. For example: Secret has yet to tell his parents he’s gay. Sparkle has an ongoing feud with his brother. Both men take on responsibility for a young man named Peter, who has also had a troubled upbringing and needs a solid home life—although, with the antics S & S get up to, solid is a bit of a stretch, although, to be fair, the men know when to behave and when to misbehave by the time Peter comes along. Then there’s Sam, one of Secret’s relatives, who they help after he comes out and his mother turns nasty due to his revelation.

There’s too much to mention in a review, too many things these guys get up to, and I urge you to find out for yourself. The nipple piercing was funny, mainly because Secret was naïve and had no clue until it was too late that Sparkle had planned the whole thing. Secret trying to come out to his parents, finding the courage then having something happen which prevented the telling—tense at times. The sub characters who work at the bookshop. The “gay rules” throughout. The list could go on!

…drinking a very dry martini and feeling quite gay.

Penis, penis, PENIS!

Viva la Fag!

Like I’d farted at a funeral or something.

Nipple Sisters!

…grabbed the baguette… (From a very funny moment)

…a come yon leer.

…or the shirtless guy that should’ve known better?


I had never been so close to a naked lady before and I felt slightly nauseous.

A very funny, very good book that is highly enjoyable. I was taken into a world where I lived and breathed with the characters, laughed and cried with them, and in the end wished them all well. Definitely recommended if you enjoy kicking back and being swept along from the start of one man’s gay life and watching him grow.

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