The Boy with the Thorn in His Side: A Memoir

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9780060959302: The Boy with the Thorn in His Side: A Memoir

At sixteen, Keith Fleming is so miserably defiant that he is locked in an adolescent mental hospital. Filled with despair, Keith's life is literally saved by his uncle, the writer Edmund White. Keith soon finds himself transformed as Uncle Ed arranges treatment for Keith's disfiguring acne, enrolls him in prep school, and instructs his nephew in a worldly view of life and love. Meanwhile, Uncle Ed is both strapped for cash and completely caught up in the beehive of social and sexual activity of 1970s gay Manhattan.

By turns lyrical, funny, and poignant, The Boy with the Thorn in His Side is full of fascinating characters and unexpected twists -- at once an odyssey into the extremes of the American 1970s, a universal tale of star-crossed teenage love, and an account of a deeply sensitive young person's struggle to find his place in the world.

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About the Author:

Keith Fleming attended the University of Chicago, where he edited the Chicago Literary Review. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

From Publishers Weekly:

In an election year when the political rhetoric about gay marriage, the importance of the nuclear family and the protection of children is running high, this memoir comes as a chilling reminder of how complexAand surprisingAfamily relationships can be. Writing in a plain but honest style, Fleming details the severe traumas of his adolescence related to the divorce of his parents in a middle-class Chicago suburb in 1971. After his mother was repeatedly institutionalized for depression and then came out as a lesbian, Fleming's father sued for custody. Torn apart by his parents' fighting, allegedly physically abused by his father and stepmother and suffering from acute acne, Fleming ran away from home. After he was caught, his father committed him to a snake-pit of a mental hospital and granted its director power-of-attorney over the boy. There, Fleming met and fell in love with Laura, another patient. After a year and a half, his mother finally helped him escape and sent him to live with her brother, the gay writer Edmund White, in New York City. Under White's unconditional love and attention, Fleming was able to flourishAand it is at this point that his memoir becomes deeply absorbing. Having taken on extra work in order to send his nephew to a first-class dermatologist and a prep school, White even paid for an apartment for Fleming when Laura, who had escaped yet a second "correctional" internment, moved to New York. White told his version of this story in his 1997 novel The Farewell Symphony, but Fleming's memoir of family horror and salvation merits its own reading. Agent, Charlotte Sheedy. (Apr.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Book Description HARPER PERENNIAL, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. At sixteen, Keith Fleming is so miserably defiant that he is locked in an adolescent mental hospital. Filled with despair, Keith s life is literally saved by his uncle, the writer Edmund White. Keith soon finds himself transformed as Uncle Ed arranges treatment for Keith s disfiguring acne, enrolls him in prep school, and instructs his nephew in a worldly view of life and love. Meanwhile, Uncle Ed is both strapped for cash and completely caught up in the beehive of social and sexual activity of 1970s gay Manhattan.By turns lyrical, funny, and poignant, The Boy with the Thorn in His Side is full of fascinating characters and unexpected twists -- at once an odyssey into the extremes of the American 1970s, a universal tale of star-crossed teenage love, and an account of a deeply sensitive young person s struggle to find his place in the world. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780060959302

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