Book Reviews

Out by J.W. Kilhey

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Fiction
Reviewed by Alex on 05-June-2013

Book Blurb

Joe Dawson is a driven young man: hard working and eager to please his father. But Joe has a secret...perhaps he has a few. In small town like Holton, South Carolina, Joe is the biggest thing around: young, talented, destined for greatness. As the pressure builds from the outside, Joe feels close to snapping. He is not being honest with himself about who he is and what he wants. He must make a choice: be what everyone else wants him to be or strike out and be his own man.


Book Review

This is the best coming-to-awareness-that-you-are-gay story that I have read in quite a while; I absolutely adored it and will reread it again and again. Amazingly poignant, extremely funny, and yet containing elements that horrify, the book is a sizzling joyride of angst, terror and the kindness of strangers. From the opening pages the book had me laughing, wondering, and speed-reading, as I undertook the exquisite, emotion-filled odyssey into the heart of a young athlete.

Highly disciplined, Joe is an outstanding jock in his senior year of high school. When I say highly disciplined I mean the guy has a fanatical daily schedule; all things, revolve around his father’s dictate that he catch the eye of a scout at one of the top football colleges. The true goal: a career in the NFL. In short, Joe practices, a lot. If he isn’t practicing he’s exercising to make sure his practice improves. If he isn’t exercising, he’s studying, to make certain his SAT scores support his chance at a top college. If he isn’t studying, he’s working at his father’s sporting goods store, where, if business is slow, his father boxes with him. In-between these activities, sometimes he is allowed a meager meal, caloric intake is strictly overseen by his father.

While Joe exhausts himself to the point of fatigue each day, his mind fractures in splinters of worry. Is he disappointing his father? Is he good enough? Is he behind the other boys on his team? Why are their bodies in better shape even though he works out more? Why is he noticing their bodies anyway? Why isn’t he interested in any of the sure-thing girls at the after-game parties? Why did he let Darren, the apparent omega of his posse, blow him? And why the hell did he enjoy it?

Joe is a fantastic suffering hero, it did not take long for me to fall completely in love with him; by the book’s end I wished I could meet him.

Beautifully underplayed, highly stimulating, and bittersweet, like the finest of dark chocolate, J.W. Kilhey has written a wonderful story that captures the single-mindedness of youth, the sorrow of loss and the triumph of losing the ties that bind. The writing is swift and sure, bringing to mind the high school rites of passages each of us undergo, without overly dwelling in the school halls. The supporting characters are thoroughly sketched out, each captivating in their own special way. But the true gift of the book is in the slow reveal and evolution of lovely Joe and his discovery of who he is, what he wants, and his triumphant conquering of his demons.

I must say that I feel my review does not capture the amazing experience which this novel brings. I feel, well, inadequate and I don’t want to reveal any spoilers. I will say this; I am not a fan of football, I am not a fan of coming out stories, but I am now a fan of J W Kilhey.

Thank you, J.W. Kilhey, for this precious and electrifying story. “Intense, sexy, smart!”





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book was a free download from Amazon.

Additional Information

Format paperback
Length Novel, 302 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 17-April-2013
Buy Link