JoeyPinkney.com Book Review
Both Sides of the Fence
Another Faze Publishing
2 of 5 Stars
Both Sides of the Fence is a story of a man in transition. As the main character Corey goes from young and carefree to wise and introspective, his immersion in the gay-world deepens. He teaches the reader what he learns in terms of slang, differences between categories of homosexuality and the variety of social gatherings.
By going to “The Village”, Corey was introduced to a world initially unknown but very much his own. The Village is a section of New York City where homosexual men and women are free express their individuality. The Village provided him an escape from a world that would shun and ridicule him as he learned more about his innate homosexuality. It is a world and aspect of his life of which he is ashamed, often wearing hoodies to hide his appearance as he enter and leaves The Village.
Corey has a girlfriend that he loses love for as he finds this other world more enchanting. Jackie, for most of the story, is unaware of her boyfriend’s double-life. She chalks it up to Corey’s desire to move on. She is the type that wants him when she wants him and couldn’t be bothered with him any other time. When she figures out that Corey likes men, it adds a new level of stress to an already dysfunctional relationship.
Although the book is told from the Corey’s point-of-view, it is safe to assume that Jackie thinks Corey’s lack of interest is initially due to him being in a funk. This is partially true. He’s in a funk due to the double life he can barely maintain. Corey’s lack of interest in Jackie comes from his desire for men. His relationship with Jackie gets more complicated with the birth of their child – a boy.
Although the author Faze does a superb job in letting Corey be a tour guide into the world of homosexuality as a distinct social group, he does little to develop Corey’s understanding of what makes him tick. This may be by design. However, Both Sides of the Fence falls horribly short in keeping the tone set early in the book.
In the beginning of the book, Faze cautions the reader before unwittingly trusting their kids with family and friends who may molest and intimidate them. The bonus material at the back of the book gives a vocabulary list of gay terms and a check list of what to look out for if you think your man is covertly sleeping with another man.
The introduction would lead some readers to think that this book contains a story about the peril of molestation, yet Corey mentions his sexual preference in terms of being molested as a passing thought. Instead of dealing with what he presumes was the cause of his change in sexuality, Corey grabs the reader by the hand and rushes through the twists and turns of a promiscuous lifestyle – it just happens to be a homosexual one.
If Both Sides of the Fence was meant to b a cautionary tale to women who are in love with men living “on the down low”, it’s close to winning. If Both Sides of the Fence was meant to be a cautionary tale of how molestation could lead to sexual confusion in a young man, the book does not efficiently deal with how the damage was done.
This book would also higher in quality if edited properly. There were plenty of times where I had to read and re-read passages of dialogue because the conversation between two characters were squeezed into the same paragraph. I simply didn’t know how was saying what. There were also multiple grammatical errors that slowed to the ease of reading as I had to figure out what was trying to be conveyed. Also, there was a time or two where things were being attributed to the wrong character, which was a nightmare to sort out.
Where Both Sides of the Fence is full of information about a lifestyle and subculture that few outsiders experience, it falls short of the expectation it sets early in the book and falls short in being an easy read. Faze put a lot into Corey, but I was confused about the primary goal of Both Sides of the Fence.