Hot Best Seller

Boys and Oil: Growing Up Gay in a Fractured Land

Availability: Ready to download

“I am a child of the American West, a landscape so rich and wide that my culture trembles with terror before its power.” So begins Taylor Brorby’s Boys and Oil, a haunting, bracingly honest memoir about growing up gay amidst the harshness of rural North Dakota, “a place where there is no safety in a ravaged landscape of mining and fracking.” In visceral prose, Brorby recoun “I am a child of the American West, a landscape so rich and wide that my culture trembles with terror before its power.” So begins Taylor Brorby’s Boys and Oil, a haunting, bracingly honest memoir about growing up gay amidst the harshness of rural North Dakota, “a place where there is no safety in a ravaged landscape of mining and fracking.” In visceral prose, Brorby recounts his upbringing in the coalfields; his adolescent infatuation with books; and how he felt intrinsically different from other boys. Now an environmentalist, Brorby uses the destruction of large swathes of the West as a metaphor for the terror he experienced as a youth. From an assault outside a bar in an oil boom town to a furtive romance, and from his awakening as an activist to his arrest at the Dakota Access Pipeline, Boys and Oil provides a startling portrait of an America that persists despite well-intentioned legal protections.


Compare

“I am a child of the American West, a landscape so rich and wide that my culture trembles with terror before its power.” So begins Taylor Brorby’s Boys and Oil, a haunting, bracingly honest memoir about growing up gay amidst the harshness of rural North Dakota, “a place where there is no safety in a ravaged landscape of mining and fracking.” In visceral prose, Brorby recoun “I am a child of the American West, a landscape so rich and wide that my culture trembles with terror before its power.” So begins Taylor Brorby’s Boys and Oil, a haunting, bracingly honest memoir about growing up gay amidst the harshness of rural North Dakota, “a place where there is no safety in a ravaged landscape of mining and fracking.” In visceral prose, Brorby recounts his upbringing in the coalfields; his adolescent infatuation with books; and how he felt intrinsically different from other boys. Now an environmentalist, Brorby uses the destruction of large swathes of the West as a metaphor for the terror he experienced as a youth. From an assault outside a bar in an oil boom town to a furtive romance, and from his awakening as an activist to his arrest at the Dakota Access Pipeline, Boys and Oil provides a startling portrait of an America that persists despite well-intentioned legal protections.

30 review for Boys and Oil: Growing Up Gay in a Fractured Land

  1. 5 out of 5

    ash

    I was thrilled to see this on NetGalley because I, too, am queer and in North Dakota and while I certainly don't regret the read, it was... Rough. Brorby loves a thesaurus heavy image and the kind of melodrama punctuated by phrases like, "Nothing, after all, survives on the prairie by being tender," except all the other ones are worse. Everything is alabaster and cerulean, all the clouds are cirrus, the prairie grasses are gold, sunsets are crimson and violet. I live in this land, a Bakken oil b I was thrilled to see this on NetGalley because I, too, am queer and in North Dakota and while I certainly don't regret the read, it was... Rough. Brorby loves a thesaurus heavy image and the kind of melodrama punctuated by phrases like, "Nothing, after all, survives on the prairie by being tender," except all the other ones are worse. Everything is alabaster and cerulean, all the clouds are cirrus, the prairie grasses are gold, sunsets are crimson and violet. I live in this land, a Bakken oil boom town in the far west corner, and I know how beautiful it can be (A shock to southern California me when we got here in 2012!) but reading it described this way over and over again was like rubbing my brain with a cheesegrater. There are no characters in this book, just images, props, and ciphers through which Brorby's Serious Truths can be enunciated, and some of the anecdotes feel... like a bit much. I know that memoir is the place where writers are supposed to be free to paint the picture they experienced rather than photograph reality for the reader, so I won't begrudge a man the way he sees and reiterates his own life. I will, however, begrudge the quality of the prose used to talk about it. If you're looking for a sad gay narrative or if you have an interest in overwrought metaphors about lignite coal mining, this might just be the book for you anyway. Thanks to W. W. Norton & Company and Liveright for the ARC.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jarrett Neal

    3.5 stars. Coming out stories are the bedrock of LGBT+ literature. Regardless of time, geography, gender, or class, queer people share abundant similarities in their struggles to claim their own identity and merely exist in a world that is hostile towards them. But if one reads enough queer lit, these stories begin to become repetitive and predictable, making the reader feel as if nothing in Western society has changed regarding the treatment of queer individuals despite decades of swift social, 3.5 stars. Coming out stories are the bedrock of LGBT+ literature. Regardless of time, geography, gender, or class, queer people share abundant similarities in their struggles to claim their own identity and merely exist in a world that is hostile towards them. But if one reads enough queer lit, these stories begin to become repetitive and predictable, making the reader feel as if nothing in Western society has changed regarding the treatment of queer individuals despite decades of swift social, political, and legislative victories for the community. Boys and Oil: Growing Up Gay in a Fractured Land is another volume in the growing corpus of coming out stories, yet Taylor Brorby, in prose that, at times, strives for the beauty of a Whitman poem, sets his story apart from others. Admittedly, North Dakota is a region of the United States I know little about, but the land holds deep affection for Brorby, the only son of working class parents who never imagined their son, an introverted overachiever, could be gay. All individuals are shaped by their environment, and Brorby goes into glittering detail about the landscape of North Dakota and its way of both imparting identity and destroying it. This is rough country. North Dakota's population is small (with only 770,221 inhabitants, it is the 47th populous state in the nation) and the mostly White Christian residents of the state are ultraconservative adherents who firmly believe in God, guns, and no gays. Brorby, astute from a very young age, knows the real danger, both bodily and emotionally, of coming out in this environment. This is why, like so many other queers, he left when he graduated from high school. Boys and Oil is a smart title for this memoir. One of the book's strengths is that Brorby charts not only his journey to accept himself as a gay man and be accepted by others but also champions for the preservation of the upper Midwest. An alternative narrative, the B-storyline, involves his growth as a scholar, writer, and environmental activist. While these sections of the book hold interest, Brorby has problems getting them speak to one another. Coalescing these sections was tough for him but I could see myself in his fascination with books, travel, music, and all the cultural products that many working class folks have come to resent. His writing works until it doesn't. The opening sections of the book, where Brorby lovingly caresses the North Dakota landscape with bejeweled prose, grasps the reader from the start. Yet it doesn't hold up, and in other chapters I felt the writing lacked style. Indeed, there's a clunkiness to some chapters, and many of the scene breaks are unnecessary and disruptive. Yet he gets his message across and maintains pace. What saddens me about the book is the many fractured relationships Brorby has. He alerts us to this in the book's title, yet it pains me that many of the characters in the book float in and out of his life without much impact. Although he was lucky enough to find many allies along his journey, his parents remained intractable and scornful throughout, and I for one had no sympathy for them. How parents can disown their own children for being gay boggles my mind, but some do. Brorby's parents' roots to the land and its culture demonstrate the how geographical identification and economic strife can breed bigotry and resentment. Despite Brorby's many accomplishments, his parents just can't get beyond their homophobia. Brorby is aware just how vicious this environment can be. Several times throughout the book, he is stalked, threatened, and even assaulted once. Like other LGBT+ people who live in large, welcoming cities, I often wonder why other queers continue to stay in red states or hostile environments where little to no queer community exists. As Brorby's book attests, it is the love of land and family that make them stay. Not all queer people want life in a big expensive city. Rural life holds many delights, and Brorby makes this clear. Boys and Oil didn't make a big impression on me, but it did open my eyes to a part of the country I'm unfamiliar with, and it affirmed just how much queer people of all backgrounds have in common.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kristen Hackmann

    As someone who attended high school and college in North Dakota in the 1980s, what is written in Taylor's memoir is how I remember the culture of the Midwest toward anyone that was gay. When my son came out to me, these are the things that I worry about. I wasn't worried about how others, including relatives, would perceive me, but how he would be treated. Could he be a target of violence because of who he was attracted to? Taylor's book, "Boys and Oil" shows that, even in 2005, the attitude I u As someone who attended high school and college in North Dakota in the 1980s, what is written in Taylor's memoir is how I remember the culture of the Midwest toward anyone that was gay. When my son came out to me, these are the things that I worry about. I wasn't worried about how others, including relatives, would perceive me, but how he would be treated. Could he be a target of violence because of who he was attracted to? Taylor's book, "Boys and Oil" shows that, even in 2005, the attitude I understood in the 80s is still present in ND. Progress is being made, but not quickly enough. I hope Taylor's parents are able to open their hearts and their minds to accepting Taylor for who he is. I also hope this book opens the eyes of those less understanding. Nothing we do or say is going to change someone who is gay. Just be kind!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    Maybe I'm biased because I know the author; maybe I'm biased because I recited Chaucer with him in the dark wood classrooms of St. Olaf College; maybe because I, too, live in a prairie state and love the beauty of the high plains. But I loved this memoir and will be thinking about it for a long time. Maybe I'm biased because I know the author; maybe I'm biased because I recited Chaucer with him in the dark wood classrooms of St. Olaf College; maybe because I, too, live in a prairie state and love the beauty of the high plains. But I loved this memoir and will be thinking about it for a long time.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Liralen

    We stared at each other. We knew the weight of not getting out, of not escaping, of being trapped. We had seen it. High-school classmates pregnant. Few colleges or universities to attend. Minimum-wage jobs in small towns. Limited hospitals. No professional sports teams or orchestras. The pressure to stay home. The pressure to stay home. "But I miss home," I said to him. "I miss that landscape." "I do, too," he said. (235) North Dakota is a land defined by farming and harsh winters and small towns, pr We stared at each other. We knew the weight of not getting out, of not escaping, of being trapped. We had seen it. High-school classmates pregnant. Few colleges or universities to attend. Minimum-wage jobs in small towns. Limited hospitals. No professional sports teams or orchestras. The pressure to stay home. The pressure to stay home. "But I miss home," I said to him. "I miss that landscape." "I do, too," he said. (235) North Dakota is a land defined by farming and harsh winters and small towns, prairies and badlands and insular communities. And oil: North Dakota has some of the biggest oil reserves in the United States, and consequently some of the most fracking. Brorby grew up in these flatlands, and it gradually became clear to him that while it was home, it was not always a sustainable place. Not for those who recognised the social and environmental ravages of fracking, not for those whose inclinations leaned towards the arts rather than, say, hunting and fracking, and not for those who were gay. Not for those whose families asked what will the neighbours think. Brorby is a poet, and it shows in his writing; this is less linear story than it is impressions of a landscape and scenes of a life accidentally in the margins. Places where it is safe to step outside the mould and places, not only in North Dakota, where it is not. There's a scene late in the book in which Brorby is at a campsite with some other gay men. They're free to relax in the knowledge that they're alone in the wilderness, that they don't have to hide who they are—until a truck pulls up, and the illusion of safety is shattered. I won't spoil the story, but I will say that it's a story that will resonate with anyone who has ever been gay (or visibly different) in an unforgiving place. It's a book that belongs to a specific time and place and context, but also one that feels unexpectedly timely to me here in Germany, with a different sort of energy crisis looming. It'll be interesting to see where Brorby goes from here.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    Full disclosure, I competed in Speech with the author at least one year together. We were coached by the same coach that year (Mrs. Harrison, who taught us 'how to hold an audience' as he so eloquently and appropriately notes in the acknowledgments). I knew then Taylor could command an audience and weave a story, and he does it wonderfully here. There were moments I had to put this book down and process. Reading this book in a time in our country where it feels as though we're going backwards was Full disclosure, I competed in Speech with the author at least one year together. We were coached by the same coach that year (Mrs. Harrison, who taught us 'how to hold an audience' as he so eloquently and appropriately notes in the acknowledgments). I knew then Taylor could command an audience and weave a story, and he does it wonderfully here. There were moments I had to put this book down and process. Reading this book in a time in our country where it feels as though we're going backwards was an eerie parallel to reading about the past events in the book. But it was also...these are people, places, and events that I know of. It was definitely a unique lens to read the book through.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Beautiful, as well as tragic. Taylor instills a very palpable miasma of sadness and fear as he replays many intense stories from his life as a closeted gay man attempting to navigate coming out and being gay in a primarily anti-gay and homophobically violent human landscape.

  8. 4 out of 5

    OD1_404

    Wonderful! ❤️

  9. 4 out of 5

    Emily Hewitt

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I won an advanced reader’s copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaways. Boys and Oil was a unique memoir compared to other memoirs I usually read. It is ultimately a coming out story as Brorby describes his conflicting relationship with his traditional and conservative hometown and home state. He loves the landscape and where he comes from but he is hurt by the people he loves whose attitudes and beliefs regarding the LGBTQ community refuse to change. I have never been to the Dakotas or anywhe I won an advanced reader’s copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaways. Boys and Oil was a unique memoir compared to other memoirs I usually read. It is ultimately a coming out story as Brorby describes his conflicting relationship with his traditional and conservative hometown and home state. He loves the landscape and where he comes from but he is hurt by the people he loves whose attitudes and beliefs regarding the LGBTQ community refuse to change. I have never been to the Dakotas or anywhere out west, so reading Brorby’s stories of homophobia and violence in that region of the country was both interesting and disappointing to learn about. As a straight white woman who has grown up near a large & diverse city and stayed on the east coast my entire life, this memoir gave me a different perspective and a glimpse into a culture and upbringing that I was entirely unfamiliar with. Brorby is an extremely talented writer which is why I give this book 4 stars. He writes beautifully and makes small stories seem profound and meaningful that I would probably otherwise find boring or insignificant. A final thought I have is that I was really rooting for some kind of resolution with his parents at the end of the book. I truly hope that happens for him someday. By the way he described his parents and childhood, I was shocked to learn they are not as accepting as I’d hoped.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Philip Clark

    The closeted young men in the barren Heartland -- it's almost become a trope of gay experience. But never have I read such a compelling story of coming out, and also a tribute to the native land that forms us. As much a personal memoir, Taylor Brorby's story of coming to his personal revelation and acceptance of himself as a gay man, it is also one of the most vivid calls of an eco-activist plea for us to understand the dire situation much of our national lands find themselves fighting for survi The closeted young men in the barren Heartland -- it's almost become a trope of gay experience. But never have I read such a compelling story of coming out, and also a tribute to the native land that forms us. As much a personal memoir, Taylor Brorby's story of coming to his personal revelation and acceptance of himself as a gay man, it is also one of the most vivid calls of an eco-activist plea for us to understand the dire situation much of our national lands find themselves fighting for survival. Brorby recounts the pains and damages to both his psyche, his physical and emotional maps, as well as the geographical map of his hometown. With an engaging and intimate sense of new pride (hard won), and old demons, he brings us to the very North Dakota that was so much a part of his life, and which remained with him long after leaving it. And it is the story of how he became an activist, to fight for it. The 'fractured land' he speaks of is not only that of geography as a psychological state, but the land of the mind and body; desire as a place of erotic landscapes. A marvelous debut.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Boom! It’s always easy to click on the five stars when the books are actually five star. Brorby writes an almost poetic memoir of growing up gay in the Dakotas. While he does have a penchant for falling into purple prose, for the most part, his writing is very lyrical and I really fell into rhythm with his words and descriptions of prairies, of feeling different, and of fitting in, but not quite. It’s not all gorgeous outdoor scenes though. He draws a straight line from our nation’s seemingly en Boom! It’s always easy to click on the five stars when the books are actually five star. Brorby writes an almost poetic memoir of growing up gay in the Dakotas. While he does have a penchant for falling into purple prose, for the most part, his writing is very lyrical and I really fell into rhythm with his words and descriptions of prairies, of feeling different, and of fitting in, but not quite. It’s not all gorgeous outdoor scenes though. He draws a straight line from our nation’s seemingly endless destruction of nature for quick profit to the destruction we do to gay people as well. Boys and oil is an absolutely wonderful read for this summer.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    I enjoyed this book, but it felt a little disjointed at times. The book talks about boys and it talks about oil, but it jumps between them in an abrupt way and there doesn't seem to be much connecting these two concepts from the title. And ultimately, the strongest thread, I think, is the story of the author's relationship with his family -- and his personal relationships. That is the core of this memoir, in my opinion, and his writing about family is some of his strongest. It's clear he loves N I enjoyed this book, but it felt a little disjointed at times. The book talks about boys and it talks about oil, but it jumps between them in an abrupt way and there doesn't seem to be much connecting these two concepts from the title. And ultimately, the strongest thread, I think, is the story of the author's relationship with his family -- and his personal relationships. That is the core of this memoir, in my opinion, and his writing about family is some of his strongest. It's clear he loves North Dakota and the physical environment he grew up in, but he uses the same descriptions repeatedly and it gets a bit -- much. I will say, though, that I always admire a writer who can write about a place. Brorby can do that.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dallas Shattuck

    Wow, what a memoir! First of all, Brorby's lyrical writing and descriptions of North Dakota's landscape was mesmerizing. I've never been, but it sounds beautiful, and I can understand his love for this place. And I fully resonated with loving the place you grew up, but still knowing you need to get out. I think it's a message that will resonate with a lot of other readers, too. This memoir made me feel a variety of emotions. I laughed and smiled at times, and I was also very sad. When Brorby's des Wow, what a memoir! First of all, Brorby's lyrical writing and descriptions of North Dakota's landscape was mesmerizing. I've never been, but it sounds beautiful, and I can understand his love for this place. And I fully resonated with loving the place you grew up, but still knowing you need to get out. I think it's a message that will resonate with a lot of other readers, too. This memoir made me feel a variety of emotions. I laughed and smiled at times, and I was also very sad. When Brorby's describes the night he was "outed" by his aunt (and his parents subsequent reaction)...I cried. When he later details the days he came out to his grandfathers, I SOBBED. His grandfathers are the epitome of unconditional love. Overall, I really enjoyed this memoir and even learned about about environmental advocacy in North Dakota. Thank you Netgally and Liveright Publishing for this gifted e-book!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marta

    I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I support the writer in sharing his coming out story with the world. We always need more coming out stories, especially for those still in the closet - so they know that they are not alone. On the other hand, the author's writing style was more than I could take. The story just took too long to get started. 80+ pages before it got interesting. Maybe that was the point? I don't know, but I just couldn't continue at the writer's pace. I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I support the writer in sharing his coming out story with the world. We always need more coming out stories, especially for those still in the closet - so they know that they are not alone. On the other hand, the author's writing style was more than I could take. The story just took too long to get started. 80+ pages before it got interesting. Maybe that was the point? I don't know, but I just couldn't continue at the writer's pace.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Deanna

    This is an important book about identity within a rural community and how homeplace, and its challenges, continue to form a person even after leaving. I look forward to Brorby's reading at Prairie Lights in October! This is an important book about identity within a rural community and how homeplace, and its challenges, continue to form a person even after leaving. I look forward to Brorby's reading at Prairie Lights in October!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Theodore Richards

    Beutifull re ognition of the northern west and his gay nature If you are sensitive to both THE WEST and the development of gay interest, then this is a book you will understand. And enjoy. Is you find it hard to get why a young man discovers his gay attractions while still appreciating his familiar and geographic roots, this may help you to understaing. I hope so.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Martin Mcgoey

    Brorby's memoir brings a lot to the table. He compares the stories of his own life with the prairies of his homeland, an unconventionally beautiful place savaged by decades of environmental destruction in the name of progress. Like North Dakota, he too has suffered great trauma due to ignorance and intolerance, most noticeably by his unaccepting parents. The narrative is highly engaging and weaves multiple anecdotes together in impressive prose, haunting descriptions, and memorable dialogue. Foc Brorby's memoir brings a lot to the table. He compares the stories of his own life with the prairies of his homeland, an unconventionally beautiful place savaged by decades of environmental destruction in the name of progress. Like North Dakota, he too has suffered great trauma due to ignorance and intolerance, most noticeably by his unaccepting parents. The narrative is highly engaging and weaves multiple anecdotes together in impressive prose, haunting descriptions, and memorable dialogue. Focusing mainly on his life experiences as a gay individual amongst blue collar settings and all the difficulties that it brings, the memoir also details his beginnings as a writer, his love and dedication to literature, his winding and often unpredictable path through Midwestern colleges and different jobs, his troubled and enduring relationships with friends and family members, romantic interludes, and several highly terrifying encounters including violence and threats of violence as well as suicide attempts. These are necessary moments in the narrative, though they may be highly triggering and distressing to some readers. Often heartbreaking and tragic, there are also several moments of humor and acceptance, and some scenes that are heartwarming and hopeful, specifically interactions that Brorby recounts with his two grandfathers and a wedding he helped officiate in Minneapolis. This book comes at a precipice in American history, and while there is great loss and suffering, Brorby does not embrace cynicism. There are more stories of acceptance here and hope than there are of rejection. Truly remarkable writing.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Larry

    Taylor Brorby's Boys and Oil joins Joe Steffan's Honor Bound as two insightful, painful, very well-written memoirs by gay men who grew up in the Northern Great Plains. They were published exactly 30 years apart and even though it seems like we have made great strides for LGBTQ rights in this country, the picture is far more nuanced and cloudy. Steffan's memoir ends with his reconciliation with his family, whereas there is no such happy ending for Brorby and his parents. I don't recall that Steff Taylor Brorby's Boys and Oil joins Joe Steffan's Honor Bound as two insightful, painful, very well-written memoirs by gay men who grew up in the Northern Great Plains. They were published exactly 30 years apart and even though it seems like we have made great strides for LGBTQ rights in this country, the picture is far more nuanced and cloudy. Steffan's memoir ends with his reconciliation with his family, whereas there is no such happy ending for Brorby and his parents. I don't recall that Steffan ever wrote about his fear of being physically assaulted, but that is a frequent theme for Brorby when he is in relatively isolated places in the American West. Steffan certainly describes the pleasures of growing up in a small town, but Brorby's memoir is filled with thoughtful passages in which he both evokes and meditates on the powerful beauties of western North Dakota.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Mcknight

    This is a heartbreaking, vulnerable memoir about the life of a gay man and all he experienced when he "came out." There are several other important threads running through the memoir, including growing up in North Dakota, his keen interest in the environmental impact of oil production in North Dakota, his involvement in religion, etc. For those who have difficulty appreciating a person's story who is gay, then this book is not for you. I know I have many Goodreads friends who are religiously cons This is a heartbreaking, vulnerable memoir about the life of a gay man and all he experienced when he "came out." There are several other important threads running through the memoir, including growing up in North Dakota, his keen interest in the environmental impact of oil production in North Dakota, his involvement in religion, etc. For those who have difficulty appreciating a person's story who is gay, then this book is not for you. I know I have many Goodreads friends who are religiously conservative, therefore I want you to know what this memoir is about. I would suggest you not read the book if you are reading it to criticize this person's story.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nicci Clark

    I cannot praise this book enough. Taylor Brorby is a truly gifted writer. His descriptions of the land, people, and situations are gorgeous, insightful, and visceral. You can see, feel, and respond to every chapter. He weaves together his love of the land with his poignant stories of his coming out to family in a way that is metaphorical, yet totally real. His imagery is stunning; you can actually see the landscape he describes. His personal memories are beautiful, painful, sometimes humorous an I cannot praise this book enough. Taylor Brorby is a truly gifted writer. His descriptions of the land, people, and situations are gorgeous, insightful, and visceral. You can see, feel, and respond to every chapter. He weaves together his love of the land with his poignant stories of his coming out to family in a way that is metaphorical, yet totally real. His imagery is stunning; you can actually see the landscape he describes. His personal memories are beautiful, painful, sometimes humorous and other times heart-wrenching. You need to read this book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Martin

    This is an excellent memoir about growing up gay in North Dakota. The writer encounters homophobia from his own parents after coming out to them after college graduation. However, he is drawn to the climate and the natural history of his home state but he contends that the extreme weather fosters a macho culture that is clearly homophobic and dangerous. This is gay memoir by a man who is still pretty much coming to terns with his life. I hope he succeeds because he wrote a brilliantly incisive b This is an excellent memoir about growing up gay in North Dakota. The writer encounters homophobia from his own parents after coming out to them after college graduation. However, he is drawn to the climate and the natural history of his home state but he contends that the extreme weather fosters a macho culture that is clearly homophobic and dangerous. This is gay memoir by a man who is still pretty much coming to terns with his life. I hope he succeeds because he wrote a brilliantly incisive book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    Beautiful, beautiful prose. 'Been awhile since I've read a book where "nothing really happens". But Taylor Brorby's honest, intimate writing absorbs the reader in this memoir; I couldn't put down for a bright summer weekend. 'Makes one want to visit North Dakota. 'Laughed, empathized with the honest coming of age of a rural arts oriented man who likes other men. 'Cried with the few episodes of outright despair, and truly wish the author deserved happiness, or else we'll be denied further examples Beautiful, beautiful prose. 'Been awhile since I've read a book where "nothing really happens". But Taylor Brorby's honest, intimate writing absorbs the reader in this memoir; I couldn't put down for a bright summer weekend. 'Makes one want to visit North Dakota. 'Laughed, empathized with the honest coming of age of a rural arts oriented man who likes other men. 'Cried with the few episodes of outright despair, and truly wish the author deserved happiness, or else we'll be denied further examples of his literary brilliance. Bravo! 'Don't change Taylor.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kylah Cech

    As someone who also grew up in ND I enjoyed this read. Brorby's descriptions of the ND landscape are not only accurate but incredibly vivid. I also learned new things about my home state, and next time I visit I will be looking for Custer's wagon train tracks. It starts off slow, but like the prairie he so beautifully writes about, it opens up into an expansive narrative that reveals secrets about the culture of ND that many who are part of it don't realize. For anyone who wants to better unders As someone who also grew up in ND I enjoyed this read. Brorby's descriptions of the ND landscape are not only accurate but incredibly vivid. I also learned new things about my home state, and next time I visit I will be looking for Custer's wagon train tracks. It starts off slow, but like the prairie he so beautifully writes about, it opens up into an expansive narrative that reveals secrets about the culture of ND that many who are part of it don't realize. For anyone who wants to better understand the individuals in conservative America I highly recommend.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Meghan Lyons

    It’s been a while since I read a memoir, and this one caught my eye at the library. Reading it gave me a glimpse of the fear and sadness that the author has experienced as a gay man throughout his life. Honestly, I expected his experience to be more “free” upon coming out to his parents, but this was definitely not the case due to their reaction. Made me think hard about the constant conflict between love/loyalty to my roots and frustration/sadness regarding the parts that I’m not proud of. This It’s been a while since I read a memoir, and this one caught my eye at the library. Reading it gave me a glimpse of the fear and sadness that the author has experienced as a gay man throughout his life. Honestly, I expected his experience to be more “free” upon coming out to his parents, but this was definitely not the case due to their reaction. Made me think hard about the constant conflict between love/loyalty to my roots and frustration/sadness regarding the parts that I’m not proud of. This one will likely take some processing over the next week…

  25. 5 out of 5

    Yusuf Nasrullah

    Very touching memoir and a beautiful narrative about growing up in remote plains of North Dakota, finding oneself, accepting one's nature and moving out to more fertile pastures in seek of joy, liberation and education. Would love to meet the author and get my hardcover signed! Very touching memoir and a beautiful narrative about growing up in remote plains of North Dakota, finding oneself, accepting one's nature and moving out to more fertile pastures in seek of joy, liberation and education. Would love to meet the author and get my hardcover signed!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gordon Blitz

    Boys and Oil: Growing Up Gay in a Fractured Land by Taylor Brorby is a glorious memoir with jaw dropping poetic language. Taylor’s unique take on the mid-west gives a rich texture to this monumental work

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mark Rimelspach

    Very interesting book which weaves a picture of North Dakota as a very difficult state to grow up gay in and how fossil fuel extraction has played a major role in the state history. Somehow the author brings these two topics together to make a very informative book on both fronts.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Gregory

    I was so excited to get this book.. however I got really bogged down in the beginning.. It wasn't until half way through, and reminded by a friend, to keep reading.. I found the book I expected about my precious North Dakota...thank St Francis! I was so excited to get this book.. however I got really bogged down in the beginning.. It wasn't until half way through, and reminded by a friend, to keep reading.. I found the book I expected about my precious North Dakota...thank St Francis!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lee Cornell

    Obviously, I think very highly of this book. It is to be released in early June, so a review later ...

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gayle

    I have been having the hardest time waiting to read this book. Counting the days!

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.