Frank Butterfield is a damn liar. He says these books just come out of thin air to him. Yeah, right. That would suggest his mind is a blank slate, that he makes no effort, that there’s no PLAN. Ha. Liar.
This great, sprawling, impossibly long series might seem to lurch from pillar to post, and, to be honest, I’m sure that the author has these moments where he thinks, “what’ll Nick and Carter do next?” But he diminishes the gentle brilliance of these books by pretending that there isn’t an enormous amount of thought, and research, and simply consistent writing that goes into each and every one of these books. These people—not just Nick and Carter, but all the characters—grow and evolve and experience the world differently as each page turns, as each book moves on to the next. And through them all, Nick Williams and Carter Jones are getting older, year by year; and each year, with every affront to their dignity, with every selfless act of generosity they perform, they become more aware of their significance in the changing world. The stories in Butterfield’s books appear to be random, just as life seems random as we live it; but they’re not.
“I don’t want to hide any more. And neither do you”
In Book 25, Nick continues therapy. He learns a few more startling things about his past. He has another intense moment with his father. He makes Mike mad, he makes Carter mad, he makes Marnie mad. And he dreams of his great uncle Paul, the gay reprobate from the belle époque who left him all his money. But most critically, Nick and Carter begin to notice for real that the world is changing, in little ways, and that they are catalysts for that change. They are shunned by gay folk who still are afraid of reprisals – whether it be closeted celebrities or the founders of the Mattachine Society – but they begin to accept their role as pioneers in a brave new world.
There is, indeed, a mystery, involving a bad man and a dead body; but these have become almost background necessities to the unrolling of Nick’s life. Even a murderous attack makes hardly a blip (as much as it scares the reader) in the inevitable forward motion of history.
In the end, the joy of these books is wondering what will happen next; what ideas will come out of thin air into Frank Butterfield’s noggin and set the stage for Nick and Carter’s next adventure, next car, next boat, next house. We all know, here in 2018, that being gay is very different from what it was in 1961, when I was six. However, in some ways, it’s not. We still have haters, we still have plenty of people in the world who will do their best to take away what we have achieved. Nick Williams and Carter Jones have a long life ahead of them, and that life is our life.
Keep ‘em coming, you big liar.
- Paperback: 364 pages
- Publisher: Independently Published (8 October 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1726881113
- ISBN-13: 978-1726881111
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.3 x 20.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 472 g
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