Book Reviews

My Life As A Myth by Huston Piner at Prizm Books

Genre Gay / Historical / 20th Century / Young Adult / Romance
Reviewed by Jamie Deacon on 18-July-2013

Book Blurb

1969 freshman Nick Horton has problems. He suffers from bouts of depression, he’s a high school social outcast, and he doesn’t understand why he’s not attracted to girls. So when a series of misunderstandings label him a troublemaker, he’s delighted to have Jesse Gaston and Jesse's gang befriend him. Nick wants to explore his attraction to Bobby Warren, but Jesse promises to give him a new image and soon transforms the shy loser into an anti-establishment student hero.

Thanks to his new reputation, Nick finds himself besieged by would-be girlfriends and expectations that he live up to his public image. As Jesse’s PR campaign becomes more and more outrageous, Nick’s road quickly becomes littered with ridiculous misadventures and unexpected psychedelic explorations. Meanwhile he struggles to understand his emerging romance with Bobby while dealing with the Vietnam War’s continuing impact on his family and the dangerous goings-on at school.

Nick’s freshman year is a remarkable journey of struggle with his unwanted reputation and his deepening passion for Bobby. Is a world still reeling from the sexual revolution, Acid Rock, and the illicit pleasures of underage drinking and pot smoking ready to accept two boys in love? Will Nick and Bobby’s love survive or will the world’s prejudices drive them apart?


Book Review

So often young people feel compelled to be someone they’re not. Putting aside their individuality, they wear the latest designer gear, listen to the “in” bands of the moment, and hide their deepest desires and insecurities, all in the quest to be popular, to fit in. For the protagonist in this entertaining and immensely moving debut by Huston Tiner, the choice is taken out of his hands when a classmate decides to turn his knack for attracting trouble to his advantage and make him a star.

It starts to go wrong for fourteen-year-old Nick Horton on his very first day of high school. Awkward around people, he has few friends and generally prefers to hover beneath the radar. Before he so much as steps onto the school bus, however, a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time brings him to the attention of the principal and earns him a reputation as a trouble-maker. This unexpected notoriety also alerts fellow freshman Jesse Gaston. Jesse welcomes Nick into his circle of friends, where upon he sets about creating a whole new persona for him. Thus “Napalm Nick” is born, flouter of authority and a law unto himself.

And suddenly everyone knows his name. Students are nodding to him in the school corridors, and girls clamor to be his date. Only Bobby Warren, the most sweet-natured of Jesse’s gang, seems interested in getting to know the real Nick. As the pretence gathers momentum and Nick’s world, both at home and at school, spirals beyond his control, Bobby is the one person with whom he can be truly himself. He longs to be free of the sham his life has become, to simply be an ordinary boy falling in love for the first time. Yet, when the charade finally comes crashing down, even Nick is unprepared for the backlash.

Veering from the hilariously funny to moments so poignant they brought me to tears, this is the story of one teenager’s struggle to find himself and come to terms with being gay in the fiercely homophobic society of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Nick is such a genuinely decent kid, poles apart from the devil-may-care rebel Jesse builds him up to be, that he stole my heart from the outset. He and Bobby may be only fourteen, but the author handles their developing romance with tenderness and sensitivity, and I found it incredibly powerful.

If you’re seeking a highly original young adult read that will have you laughing and crying in equal measure, I can certainly recommend this book.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Prizm Books for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 255 pages/66000 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 22-May-2013
Price $6.99 ebook
Buy Link