How do you know if you’re gay?
Peter, a 15 yr old dirt-bike rider, suddenly needs to find out.
Plagued with the usual teen hang-ups about sex and fitting in, Peter spends an unplanned afternoon with his brother’s friend, David.
David is tall, good-looking, immaculately dressed … and it turns out David is gay. A second encounter sets Peter off on a frantic search within himself.
This is a deeply personal look at a boy’s awakening sexuality. It follows his frantic feelings and often savagely honest thoughts as he struggles with the confusion of trying to figure out who he is.
MORE ABOUT THIS STORY, REVIEWS, AWARDS & THE FIGHT TO GET IT PUBLISHED
‘Peter’ was first published in 1991, a time when there were few gay issue books for teenagers and I had a fight to get it published.
The first five publishers approached said flatly, ‘No!’ They didn’t even want to read it. Another two read it and said, ‘We won’t take the risk.’ They feared a backlash from the school systems and the public.
But one brave publisher – Omnibus Books – said yes, and I’m forever in their debt.
Compared to Gay Lit books today, ‘Peter’ is more than a little tame, and a lot of readers find the end disappointing. Had I wanted to take my characters further than I did, the book would never have been published. It was a compromise I had to accept.
In fact, the book was never published in the UK because at the time it contravened a law making it a criminal offence to promote a gay lifestyle. This book was part of the struggle to win basic human rights for all people to live the life of their choosing.
The eBook is a slightly revised version of the original print book, and several times I’ve been tempted to over-write the ending and give it a more up-to-date, modern-world resolution. But every time I try, I find myself writing draft after draft and always throwing them away.
I have to accept the story is as it us. In my mind the book never was about being gay anyway, it was about being who are you, whatever that happens to be. But I did want to state loud clear for young people in particular: IT’S OK TO BE GAY. If the book does that, it’s served its purpose however out-dated or tame or otherwise lacking it may be.
I welcome your comments via the box below.
You’ll find reviews of ‘Peter’ at the following links:
‘Peter’ – Book Awards:
Honour Book (Runner up) Australian Children’s Book of the Year, Older Readers – 1992
Shortlisted in the NSW Premier’s Literary Award – 1991
“ South Australian Literary Award – 1991
“ Talking Book of the Year Award – 1992
Highly Commended (Runner up) Australian Human Rights Awards – 1991 Selected for American Library Association’s Lists:
…………………..Notable Books of the Year – 1994
Best Books for Young Adults – 1994
Best Books for Reluctant YA Readers – 1994Keywords: gay fiction, gay literature, gay lit, gay boy, gay boys, gay teens, homosexuality, holiday reading