Book Reviews

Let's Hear it for the Boy by T.A. Webb at A Bear on Books

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 24-March-2013

Book Blurb

Auntie Social is the biggest, baddest drag queen in Atlanta—she knows what she wants and she gets it. She’s tough, merciless, and top dog. That’s what Paul Stewart, reporter for the Journal, had heard, and all he expects when he’s assigned to interview the legend.. But nobody really knows the person behind the make-up.

What if…what if the person behind the sarcasm and music was more than just a man in a dress? What happened in his life that, thirty years later, made him a successful CEO, a philanthropist, and a legend in the gay community? Thirty years and almost a million dollars raised for people living with HIV/AIDs, yet still no one knows the real story.

Until one night, one man breaks through the shell, and Matthew Trammell—Auntie Social—opens the door he closed many years ago and lets his secrets spill out.

Pain is like rain, it covers your skin and soaks in bone-deep, but it eventually recedes and allows fresh things to grow.

Book Review

It's always pleasantly surprising when a preconceived notion you may have of someone is completely off base. In 'Let's Hear It For The Boys' by T. A .Webb, a reporter, Paul Stewart, has geared himself up to interview 'Auntie Social' (Matthew Trammell) with the idea that it will be a factual, emotionless exchange of information and nothing more. Matthew is expecting the same thing from the interview with Paul, but both men feel an emotional connection, a camaraderie and a willingness to share which is totally unpredictable. Matthew and Paul have a deeply emotional exchange which brings them closure and hope which neither ever expected to feel again.

Matthew is tired of playing his role of rough, tough drag queen and corporate boss and confides in Paul, telling him about a young man named Patrick, whom he dearly loved years ago, but lost to AIDS in 1984 when the world was becoming aware of the deadly virus. The emotional pain and sense of abandonment he felt when his lover refused to let Matthew suffer with him, is a burden he's carried for years. The absolute senselessness of his death is almost unbearable and the anger and regret Matthew feel weigh heavily on his heart. He's spent time ever since then helping the cause against HIV by donating time, energy, and money, but even with this, it's not enough to give him the opportunity for closure which his lover took away. The regret of losing him and not being able to help is still with him and it's something he doesn't foresee ever overcoming.

Paul is so stunned and moved at Matthew's revelation that he is compelled to pour out his own story of love and loss about Sean, a young man he loved who also succumbed to AIDS. “Paul let out a shuddering breath and released a small tear-choked chuckle. “God, I’m so sorry. This is a bout you, and here I am dumping my twenty-year-old shameful secret on you.” Matthew’s eyes shone with calm understanding. “A burden shared is a burden halved. That’s what my momma used to say.” They've found a common ground and a common need that aches to be filled. Now all they have to do is act upon it.

To say this story affected me emotionally would be a immense understatement. With Tom's stories it is simply not possible to read them with emotional detachment. He draws me in so I am riding the roller coaster of emotions so tangible and draining, but also bring a sense of fulfillment and closure. The story is written with such precision and skill that it's impossible not to feel what the characters are feeling. It's obviously a very personal story, with very real emotions which are almost unbearable at times, almost too much to grasp. I cried for each character's love and loss and the tragedy which occurred in their lives. I can't think of another author who can do this for me like T.A. Webb. No one else's stories grab me and hold on, either in comfort or in intensity, breaking my heart, but at the same time soothing it. I'd recommend this book to everyone who has ever loved and lost especially from HIV and wants to read a book with genuine emotion and credibility. Thank you, Tom, for making me feel such almost inexplicable emotions and for sharing your soul with me.




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Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Short Story, 46 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 20-March-2013
Price $2.99 ebook
Buy Link