Breakfast With Scot

Downing, Michael. Breakfast With Scot. Washington, D.C.: Counterpoint, 1999.

Less than 200 pages long this was a quick, in-one-sitting read. At first blush I would call this story “quirky” for the simple fact that all of the characters have their issues. What makes this fun to read is how they deal with those issues as well as each other. This is a story about relationships and relating to people around you. The point of view is told from Italian art magazine editor, Ed. Ed and his chiropractor partner, Sam, have become guardians to eleven year old Scot. Scot doesn’t fit in for a multitude of reasons. For one, Ed and Sam have never wanted children. For another, Scot is the child of Sam’s brother’s girlfriend, only the brother is not the biological father. Topping it all of is Scot’s unique personality; his affinity for hand soaps and charm bracelets. While Ed and Sam are homosexuals they are not sure how to deal with Scot on any of these levels. As the reader you want them to not only work it out but work it out as a happy ending.

Poignant line: “But Scot’s the kind of kid other kids push down and kick simply because of the way he puts his hand on his hip” (p 50). This line sums up the entire book.

Reason read: November is national adoption month and while Ed and Sam don’t “adopt” Scot, per se, they are legal guardians.

Author fact: Michael Downing is a local boy, growing up to the west of me and working to the east.

Book trivia: Breakfast with Scot was made into a movie in 2007.

BookLust Twist: From More Book Lust in the chapter called “Adapting to Adoption” (p 1).

Giovanni’s Room

Baldwin, James. “Giovanni’s Room.” Early Novels and Stories. New York: Library of America, 1998. 221 – 360.

I want to say Giovanni’s Room is ground breaking but that’s only because it puts homosexuality front and center at a time when one’s sexual orientation wasn’t so openly discussed (1956). The beauty of the story is that it could take place today or tomorrow in any city or town on the planet. Admitting homosexuality isn’t any easier today than it was over a half century ago. Giovanni’s Room has been called autobiographical because it mirrors Baldwin’s personal life: an American expatriate living in France openly engaged to a woman while secretly attracted to men. David is constantly questioning his manhood because he seeks the company of men. His engagement to Hella is nothing more than a cover for his true desires. When his Italian bartender/lover is accused of murder David’s world falls apart. More than the plot, Baldwin’s writing much be savored. The pictures he paints are raw and honest.

Favorite line: “And we got on quite well, really, for the vision I gave my father of my life was exactly the vision in which I myself most desperately needed to believe” (p 235). I think that is the most telling line of the whole story.

Author Fact: Baldwin was a child Pentecostal preacher before the age of 17. He died of stomach cancer in his early 60s.

BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter called “African American Fiction: He Says” (p 10).