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Better Angel ❴KINDLE❵ ❁ Better Angel Author Forman Brown – Published in 1933 gave readers one of the first positive images of gay life and became an underground classic Today it remains a touching story of a young man's discovery of his sexuality in the 1920s Published in gave readers one of the first positive images of gay life and became an underground classic Today it remains a touching story of a young man's discovery of his sexuality in the s and s and is considered to be one of the most important gay books ever written.

10 thoughts on “Better Angel

  1. Keith Keith says:

    This book was fantastic The epilogue at the end by the author Forman Brown was honest heart warming and without giving into spoilers A MUST READ

  2. Tim Tim says:

    Though worth reading for it's historical perspective on gay life in the early part of the 20th century and coming to terms with one's sexuality in that restrictive society the story also resonates with the conflicting voices both internal and external that shape gay lives and thereby has significance as a lovely coming of age story as well There are a few old fashioned terms and references to popular culture of the time that date the prose but it is so well written that the story reminds us that feelings and fears about our inner most secrets can transcend time and place

  3. Frederick Frederick says:

    Since writing this review I've found my copy of this I was right that the author who had originally written it under a pseudonym lived to acknowledge that he Forman Brown was the author This acknowledgement came in the form of an epilogue written in 1990 when he was almost ninety years old I'd hate to violate copyright by including the entire epilogue here but to give you the optimistic tone of Brown's writing I'll uote a little of it Imagine a very old gentleman entering a very modern bookshop and somewhat hesitantly asking the proprietor if by any chance he has a copy of a novel called BETTER ANGEL by one Richard Meeker The proprietor replies 'Yes indeed It's uite popular and I think you'll like it It's a well written book' 'I'm sure I shall' said the old gentleman 'You see I wrote it' And that is why this old gentleman Forman Brown is writing this epilogue for the new edition of the book' My edition is a facsimile of the 1933 original with Hubert Kennedy's introduction added along with Forman Brown's epilogue which clears up Kennedy's notion that the author would never surface Finally I'll mention that Brown and his friends who formed a theatrical group called the Yale Puppeteers ran what he describes as one of the most unusual and successful small theaters in the land the Turnabout Theatre in Los Angeles Okay here's some Forman Brown also worked wrote material for Sophie Tucker Elsa Lanchester and Bette Midler Below is my review as it was before I tracked down my copy of the bookThis novel was written in the early 1930s Forman Brown is pictured on the cover of this book Looks like a witty fellow This is a shockingly optimistic look on gay life written during a time of serious oppression of gays and lesbians It's an entertaining story which moves uickly The prose is clearI've read a little about Forman Brown I have forgotten whether this was originally published under a psuedonym but he did live to see it published under his own name He provided an introduction for it I'm not sure if this edition contains that or not In any case that is his picture on the cover He lived to a ripe old age and was apparently happyAs the bard of Armagh says The merry hearted boys make the best of old men

  4. George K. Ilsley George K. Ilsley says:

    How come I never heard of this book until recently First published in 1933 under a pseudonym Better Angel tells the story of a lonely sensitive boy who knows he is different He knows it but doesn’t know what it means or how it will work out Much positive and life affirming than many other early works on the topic of same sex attraction This edition features an epilogue by the 95 year old author now unmasked who offers insights into the “real” characters who people this novel I have to say I did not understand the attraction between Kurt and David The epilogue made me understand a little but I won’t say why My lips are sealed

  5. Tommy Zoppa Tommy Zoppa says:

    Really beautifully written thoroughly modern and could have been an incredible help had it been assigned in high school It is unreal how much I saw myself in this book and I lament that this isn't regularly available Time to publish it again

  6. Tyler Tyler says:

    What was it like to grow up and live as a gay man in the dark past That temporal puzzle enlivens the literature of the early twentieth century in which the subject is broached or alluded to This book published in 1933 under a pseudonym just as homophobia was reaching its high point in American culture gives readers a uniue glimpse into the dark The story has a story all its own Four of the characters represented real people who after the book was published had achieved some degree of fame This the long lived author tells us in the 1995 epilogue to the Alyson Books edition where he at last identifies himself The story is based on their youthful relationships with Forman Brown The protagonist ie Forman Brown and his friends cross paths in the America of the 1920's moving through life in a societal vacuum so complete they have only one another to work out the ramifications of their sexuality The fellows the word crops up often have a sense of who they are based on ancient Greek culture and Oscar Wilde but not much else But the protagonist figures out a lot Sex and marriage with women he sees is a false path Confinement in what we now call the closet means an inevitable and even desirable alienation from one's biological family Segregation from straight society is a matter of survival The importance of mentoring younger homosexuals is both a reward and a duty In these pages the idea of families we create finds its first tentative suggestion Only once does the word homosexual come up The characters often talk about our kind and the word ueer invites ambivalence Originally see Gay New York a somewhat value neutral word to distinguish between fairies and less flamboyant homosexuals the word ueer was by the time of the novel starting to be used as an epithet that you weren't 'ueer' he laughed in derision at the word We ueer ones can spot our kind anywhere anytime I thought when I was in Henry Street that I ran up against ueer people but this has me beat You don't want to ueer my cure for being openly gay Tyler do youThe coterie in this book have none but one another for support and as they figure out how to live as homosexuals the narrative becomes slightly didactic But Better Angel is also a touchstone in the evolution of a modern gay self awareness It uncovers themes that gay readers still must grapple with even if in a modern form For its historical cachet and insight into the origins of modern gay culture this book should be high on the list for gay fiction readers

  7. J. Walker J. Walker says:

    I've read Better Angel multiple times; I've bought this book multiple times originally in the '80s before the Foreman Brown revelations came out Either that original or its first replacement edition was from Alyson Books The last time I bought Better Angel was later in the 90s with the formal 'coming out' by Foreman Brown; I bought two copies and wound up giving both away againI'd been incredibly moved by the story the first time I read it and it only gets better on repeated readings


    The novel’s primary claim to fame is that it is unusually positive in its treatment of homosexuality for the time It’s also a well constructed work with believable characters and a protagonist that’s likable enough The initial part about childhood resonated most with me I found less compelling the account of the main character’s love life when he grows up I think that with novels centred around same sex desire I like to feel an attraction for the characters and that didn’t happen here The novel is heavily autobiographical so that might account for it the author is not aiming to make you fall in love with his lovers but presumably simply to portray them as they really were It just so happens that whatever the author could see in them failed to resonate with me

  9. Brian Brian says:

    Here in Minneapolis we have a library called uatrefoil an LGBT library named after a book from the '50s the founders enjoyed because of its upbeat ending That ending is not nearly as upbeat of this ending Nor was it even close to legitimizing love and sex between two guys This is worth reading if only because it goes so completely against the grain of we expect from a 'gay novel' from this time period

  10. Martin Martin says:

    This 1933 gay novel is a superb artifact of the coming of age of a young gay man and his dilemmas friends relationships etc It shows coming out in a positive light and actually has an upbeat ending If you can locate the second edition of the Alyson publication it has an epilogue by the author himself who comments on the autobiographical nature of the book which is uite moving in itself

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