Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Book with a View March 2011

In an age when everything is whitewashed for political correctness or proclaimed as abusive then psychoanalyzed sagely by folk of privilege, Evidence of Insanity is an unapologetic, knock-down-drag-out hilarious romp through the author, Carol Piner’s, memory of life in Morehead, Carteret County, North Carolina and beyond. She begins by setting the scene of those early years in Morehead by sharing that, “Talk . . . was our biggest industry . . . Low down, dirty, mean mouth kind of talking. Of course, it was all true, but let’s forget that for a moment and move on.” Piner isn’t shy about spinning the yarn of her life, boldly exposing herself, her neighbors, family and relationships for their inglorious humanity. She does so by washing laughter over all, as she out-truths the gossip mongers in this “tell all” book.

Piner describes her early self best when she writes “Think of me as a small Scarlet O’Hara. A grimy at all times Scarlet, but her nonetheless.” An apt description as time and again she faces the cruelties of life with stubborn determination and tenacity but above all else, humor. Evenhanded but merciless in her commentary, she holds nothing back when it comes to self analysis or her assessment of people and circumstances.
Evidence of Insanity, reveals as much about the strength and courage, pride and perseverance to be found in womankind as it does about Piner’s life. If you have painful memories of childhood or traumas that you just can’t seem to let go of, an hour reading Evidence of Insanity will slap the self pity right out of you, and leave you humbled but ready to go on living, a little freer for the reality check.

The colorful goings-on related in the pages of her memoirs paint, with all the soul and rich southern flavor a body could desire, one of the best depictions of rural life America that I have ever read.  Evidence of Insanity is surely aptly named. Fried Green Tomatoes and the Ya-Ya Sisterhood have nothing on the Yee-HAs of Carteret County.

Book Title: Living the Difference: an enlightening story revealed for people of all ages straight or gay
Author: J.C. Knudson
ISBN-10: 0578062712
ISBN-13: 978-0578062716
Publisher:    Espresso House Publishing & Distribution, LLC (August 25, 2010) Link to purchase:
Vonnie Faroqui

Inside Living the Difference

J.C. Knudson has done what few other people have dared to do. He has written a book detailing the story of his life. I know tons of people write about their lives –too many to count and within every life is a story or lesson worth finding. What makes this book noteworthy is that J.C. has written with the intent of revealing his earliest memories of same sex attraction. His book details his early sexual development and goes on to outline the events of his life as affected and shaped by his sexual orientation. In writing, he has avoided much of the self pity or self aggrandizement that often characterize biographies, instead choosing to relate his story in a way that allows others to form their own opinions –to reject or to embrace the message he has to share.  The resulting book is remarkably under-sensationalized.

J.C. doesn’t try to convince you of what being gay is or is not. He believes that being gay is as natural as being straight and so he doesn’t waste time defending that position. He simply and neatly opens the doors and lets you look inside his life. He is respectful. He doesn’t impose on the reader or force intimacy. His story explores the wasted moments and the misery created through self denial and ignorance, showing clearly that living a lie leads to a life full of regret and self judgment. By embracing himself and his natural desires J.C. opened himself and his life for self respect, for true loving, lasting relationships, and to mutual appreciation.   He shares his confusion and desires without being explicit, and in so doing makes it possible for others to learn from his life, offering as much in the way of comfort and hope as he does to dispel fear and ignorance.
Living the Difference reveals in its pages a man with high standards, ethics, dedication, love, and loyalty. The life he has led could easily be any of our lives, at the best and worst of times and yet the difference is there, imposed by the perceptions and culture around him.  What did Living the Difference reveal to me?  It revealed a human story of triumph and humility that offers hope and a measure of normalcy to counter the misperception of irresponsibility and flamboyant decadency which veils the “gay life.”

There is much in this book that may be helpful in dispelling prejudice and fear about gay men in particular. However, the most benefit will be gained by those who will read between the lines and notice that J.C. is no different in his humanity than they are. I recommend this book for those who are struggling to suppress homosexual attractions or who are in confusion about their sexual orientation. This book will be especially helpful to those men who like J.C. have lived or are living double lives.  Many gay men would like to embrace themselves but are afraid that doing so will remove them from having full lives; from the possibility of finding happiness, meaningful relationship, success, and achievement.  J.C.’s story reveals that being gay does not condemn anyone to an empty or frivolous life, devoid of relationship, and doomed to rejection. If nothing else J.C’s story offers hope to those who otherwise might have only the fear and self loathing. The real difference between gay and straight life comes from having the sanction to love fully by embracing one’s self. Living well being the only choice one has to make.

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1 comment:

Anne R. Allen said...

Sounds like a great book. Thanks for this!