The Early Journals of Will Barnett: Uncle Sean, Lance, and All Over Him
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8 of 8 found the following review helpful:
Must Read!!!!! Sep 09, 2006
An absolutely wonderful book. Brings Uncle Sean, Lance, and All Over Him together into one volume. Donaghe's interludes introducing and concluding each work ties everything together masterfully and is an added bonus readers won't get when reading the three works individually. The author makes you almost believe you're reading Will Barnett's biography/autibiography and not a work of fiction.
Even though it's set in the '70s and may at times seem dated, this work is actually timeless and should be a must read for any gay teen/young adult.
Let's only hope the author continues the series.
2 of 2 found the following review helpful:
A compelling story of teenage development into manhood - insprational Nov 09, 2008
By Gerry A. Burnie
"Gerry B's Book Reviews"
"The Early Journals of Will Barnett" is the second of nine novels I have read from the prolific pen of Ronald L. Donaghe (the first being "Common Son") and it is truly interesting to compare the two.
There are a number of years separating these two works, and it shows in the way that the author has developed both the story and characters with even more intensity and credibility. The later work is also a more complex story with plot twists that are more in-depth and sophisticated.
"The Early Journals of Will Barnett" is a three-novel series under one cover, so I will review each one in the order that they are presented. However, over all, it is a compelling story about a naïve teenager growing up in a remote part of New Mexico, and the sometimes painful evolution he undergoes from the time he first discovers his burgeoning physical attraction to his "pretty" Uncle Sean, until his eventual maturity--both sexually and as a man.
Therefore, the reader is drawn into the story at a very early stage--appropriately told in Will's `transcribed' words, and is then swept along as Will moves from one stage of his development to another.
These developments the author unfolds with insight and understanding, as well as some unexpected twists along the way.
This is the first of Will Barnett's journals, and the author has cleverly opened it with a credible (...or perhaps true) account of how he found these `scribblings' in a derelict barn. Donaghe then takes on the voice of a unsophisticated, fourteen-year-old farm boy, to relate his awe and wonderment regarding his somewhat older uncle, Sean--recently returned from active duty in Vietnam.
Thereafter, Will's fascination deepens as he tries to fathom this exceptionally handsome, but otherwise complex and troubled man, and his confused feelings toward him. In this regard, the author has awakened within all of us that wonderment over an older boy next door, or down the street, or perhaps a relative when we were Will's age--I know it resonated with me.
"Lance" (The second in the series)
At the opening of this particular novel, the author conjures up a meeting with the real(?) Will Barnett--now in his early forties. This meeting auspiciously provides the material for this and the concluding novel as well.
Now, somewhat aware of his sexuality, Will encounters a boy his own age with a deeply troubled background. Lance is an abused youth with an abusive stepfather and condescending mother. Therefore, Will and Lance form a bond against the abuses of the world, and this bond gradually deepens into an abiding love
This is a recurring theme in the four Ronald L. Donaghe novels I have read to date, and I commend him for that. An author's job is not just to tell a story. It sometimes involves holding up a mirror to society with a carefully crafted message attached. In this regard Ronald L. Donaghe has done both. He has not only vividly described the shortcomings readily apparent in our society, i.e., bigotry, intolerance, religious fundamentalism, bullying, child abuse, etc., but he has also dramatized the harm these intolerances cause to innocent youths already struggling to understand their own complex sexuality.
"All over him"
At the opening of this novel, Will and Lance have temporarily separated in order to attend different universities--Lance in San Francisco, and Will in Austin, Texas, to live with his Uncle Sean as well. It is a poignant separation, but they both vow to remain faithful for the two years that it will take Lance to graduate. Of course, the question is: Will they be able to honour their vows in spite of overwhelming temptation?
For obvious reasons I'm not going to answer that question, except to say that this is the final stage in Will's evolution from boy to man.
Once again the author has captured the experience of every farm boy who migrates from farm to city, and the cultural shock that sometimes accompanies such a move. He certain captured it for me--Review by Gerry Burnie, author of Two Irish Lads.
Great story of teen love Feb 05, 2012
Author Ronald L. Donaghe is a captivating story teller. This trilogy, "The Early Journals of Will Barnett" is no exception. Donaghe tells us that he has found the personal journals of a 12 year old boy that he summarizes in the first novel, "Uncle Sean". Readers are caught up in the life of this young boy as he meets his Uncle Sean and begins to learn about love and romance. In the trilogy, readers continue to follow the young man's life as he matures and does find love.
great book Oct 29, 2009
By John H. Johnson III
This collection of three continuing novels is highly reccomended for everyone interested in M&M romance. I dont want to go into detailed reviews as many people do. I just want to say I could not put the book down and read it in 2 days. The author writes a book which draws you into the events with the characters and the local is right on. I live in NM and have been to all of the areas described and could see each and every one as if I was there. The charactors are very real to life, in fact, I thought this was a real story. I was a young man in the 60s and this is right on with coming out during that time. I will be buying all of the authors books soon and look forward to each and every one!
AWESOME! Feb 27, 2009
By Benjaman Gifford
Ron Donaghe is my hero because he wrote the first "gay" book that I ever read as a teenager ("Common Sons"). The journals of Will Barnett are page-turners, just like "Common Sons" was. I could not put this book down and even called in sick to work once so that I could read all day. Will is a compelling, likeable, and realistic hero. Mr. Donaghe is an even bigger hero for his continued positive, well-written portrayals of gay youth. I also appreciated the fact that "The Early Journals of Will Barnett" was obviously edited by a professional, since it is not full of the typical grammatical and continuity errors that seem to plague so many other recently-published books in the gay fiction genre. Highest recommendation.
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