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3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  1,476 ratings  ·  91 reviews
Larry Kramer's Faggots has been in print since its original publication in 1978 and has become one of the best-selling novels about gay life ever written. The book is a fierce satire of the gay ghetto and a touching story of one man's desperate search for love there, and reading it today is a fascinating look at how much, and how little, has changed.
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Published August 1st 1979 by Warner Books (NY) (first published November 17th 1978)
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I wonder why I never reviewed Faggots before? Oh, that's right, I was scared to! Because if I recommend it very strongly, which I would very much like to do, and people here actually give it a go, I might end up with swathes of people defriending me on the spot and writing rude comments on my profile. So : don't read this if you have a nervous disposition. Please! Because Larry Kramer will discombobulate your psychosexual equilibrium. He will make you boggle, along the lines of do guys really do...more
This book presents a satire of 1970s gay life. Through its overly complicated writing style, confusingly large cast of characters, and melodramatic and unrealistic dialog, it boils down to one impotent criticism: gay men make poor life decisions because they have daddy issues.

The book is poor quality literature even if your view of books falls into the Wilde/Nabokov school that what determines the quality of the book is the quality of the writing and not the content of its message. "Message" asi...more
mark monday
larry kramer sure had problems with his fellow queers! a depressing and desperately unfunny read, written by someone who needed to let the love in a little. but hey, he went on to found act-up, so maybe this was a useful exorcism of sorts.
So far this book as been true to form on what transpires in the gay community. Whether its was back in the 70's or present day. We have all experienced or been privy to the ramped drugs scene at all the clubs as well as those curcuit parties. What I still to this day don't understand is when gay men who spend hours and hours in the gym to develop the supposed perfect body to attact only the same type of guy (if they are lucky). But then some of those same men that only work on their outer-shells...more
Dusty Myers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
So, I couldn't keep an interest for more than 30 or so pages. I decided to read this book because Randy Shilts praised Larry Kramer as a revolutionary gay (and later AIDS) activist who broke through all of these boundaries and really garnered a lot of heat from all angles with the publication of this work of fiction.

However, I was ultimately disappointed. The writing was not entirely easy to follow, the prose was poorly written, and the characters were either flat or just plain un-memorable.

Typical Larry Kramer. Bring your own iconic "cachet" to the table, mix in plenty of defiant f-you attitude, and adopt the posture of creating "a brutally frank document of a unique time and circumstance" and presto, you are free to verbally fetishize all the astounding self-indulgence and destruction of your past, and have it called literature.

Get off the pedestal you put yourself on Larry, and remove your homemade hero medals. You're not a rebel. You're a grouchy old bipedal hard-on with a good...more
Corinne  E. Blackmer
Oct 17, 2011 Corinne E. Blackmer rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pilar Stewart
Shelves: contemporary, fiction, gay
Faggots by Larry Kramer
However lost on critics, not to mention members of the gay establishment at the time, "Faggots" is a brilliant Mepinnean satire that takes as the object of its satire the intellectual conceit of gay sexual liberation, and the notion that gay culture would occupy a leadership position in showing America how to overcome its sexual prudery and commitment to values such as fidelity, monogamy, and true love. In fact, Kramer explores a subculture is which nothing is taboo except for the concept of mo...more
Feb 24, 2014 Aitziber rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who can keep track of characters better than me.
Faggots was a difficult read that really shouldn't have taken me three months to complete. Like many others on Goodreads, I came to this book by way of Randy Shilts' The Band Played On.

It's hard to pinpoint what in this book is satire, and what is accurate portrayal. The man Dinky was based on, and Larry Kramer's now husband, said Faggots was a complete assault on his privacy, with Kramer digging trash out of his wastebasket, like Fred does to Dinky at one point. Certainly, the almost compulsor...more
Jason Keller
"Yes, sex and love were different items when he wanted them in one, and yes, having so much sex made having love impossible, and yes, sadism was only a way to keep people away from us and masochism only a way to clutch them close, and yes, we are sadists with some guys and masochists with other guys and sometimes both with both, and yes, we're all out of the closet but we're still in the ghetto and all I see is guys hurting each other and themselves. But how to get out! And yes, the world is giv...more
I thought I was actually going to like Faggots. The mythos behind the book is irresistible for a start: shrewd lone wolf foresees impending destruction of his community and writes fiery polemic as a clarion call to action, only to be cruelly shunned by hedonists unwilling for the good times to end. Who doesn't want to stand alongside Kramer, maligned and outcast, screaming his famous line - 'We're fucking ourselves to death!' - into the forthcoming abyss?

Having read it, however, I now understand...more
Simultaneously filthy and a lot of fun. As a kind of loving and angry document of what would turn out to be the last days of the pre-AIDS/pre-Ed Koch NYC bathhouse/Fire-Island gay scene, the book works very well, but only if you're willing to take Kramer's criticisms as his own. Obviously a lot of people were really pissed off about the book when it came out and I can see why they might have been, but it's not my place to side for or against. The book is consistently well-written (with plenty of...more
Joe Cole
It isn't very well written. Sentence fragments should be consumed like trans fats, sparingly if at all. Larry Kramer, however fills this book with nothing but sentence fragments and run-on sentences. Not only that, but Kramer utilizes random capitalization in the middle of sentences and does not know the difference between when to use a versus an. Add that on to the fact that the myriad of characters in combination with a confusing plot leads to a very poorly written novel. Overall, I would not...more
Sep 14, 2007 Larry rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: open minded gays
I think that this was a very good book that was overlooked by the gay community because it was written so intensly and passionately that the community didnt want the world to percieve us this way. I think that it was very much this way at the time it was written esp in NYC. Larry Kramer is an activist/aids survivor and politician. People either really like him or hate him. I like him and think that he has many sides that people dont always see. A lot of reasons that I like him can be found in hi...more
For exactly 13,500 days — from June 26, 1944 (when the U.S. Army began standardizing treatment of syphilis and gonorrhea with penicillin) to June 5, 1981 (when the Center for Disease Control published a report on a disease that would later be called AIDS) — Americans could more or less have sex with one another indiscriminately without the imminent fear of death. Kramer’s irreverently named book “Faggots” presciently detailed how the days of living never-ending sexual fantasies helped engender t...more
Mel Bossa
Funny. Shocking. Sad. A cry in the dark.
Fred Lemish is the perfect narrator to me. Neurotic, faulted, well-meaning, sentimental, awkward, determined, analytic, and goodhearted, he took me on quite a ride through the Summer of His Life.

The characters are many and it takes a bit of reading to figure out who's who, but with names like Dinky, and Dom Dom, and Winnie, and Rolla, and Boo Boo...Well, enough said. I think I enjoyed The Winston Man the most, him and Abe, the poor, clueless Abe.
Francisco Márquez
I'm not sure whether this book was meant to make me laugh, or whether it was meant to make me sad? It largely depends on the reader of course, but the fact that it kept me guessing became what I believe is to be the evidence of it's honesty. To review this book is difficult because on the one hand, it possibly is the rawest piece of literature I have read in a very long time; as Library Journal said on the book, "Faggots is the Uncle Tom's Cabin for homosexual men whose worst oppression is their...more
Martin Davies
If this book does anything, it is to portray the excesses of parts of the gay population in New York in the 1970s. And part is a key word for me. As a gay man myself, I do know about the clubbing, the partying, the easy sex, and frequent sex, the drug-taking, etc. but I find that this is just something that happens in the lives of some gay men, not everybody, while I cannot identify with the characters in this novel myself, I also have a feeling at the back of my mind that this story not just...more
Robert Patrick
This is a re-read for me, after having read it when it was first published. What's not to like about the man who wrote the screenplay for "Women in Love", was co-founder of GMHC, etc. & so forth? Well, I'll tell you: it's a bit labored, but that may just be the times (then and now) and not the actual writing. I remember riding the Halsted St. bus in Chicago, coming up from Pilsen to the north side proudly reading "Faggots" for all the world to seemed political at the time. Is it rel...more
Katrina E.
I found this just browsing the stacks at UIUC, and I have to say, it's been a long time since a book held my attention and interest in the way this one did. For now, it's a favorite.

The whole thing feels like a stream of consciousness, gender-queer, introspective and extro-sexual gulp of an imagined life of the LGBT*QIA community. At some points, it's so bizarre and edgy that it almost sounds like satire, but I think that's the best part: the author drags you to a threshing floor and says, "Lis...more
Adam Dunn
So much to say on this book! It’s never gone out of print and is one of the most widely read gay books of all time, which to me is remarkable. I know about two gay men who could read and finish this book. I know many more who should but the graphic sex, perhaps the most graphic in any book I’ve ever read, and the drug use would turn a lot off.
From the introduction:
“The purpose of satire… offers us oddly entertaining, generally exaggerated copies of foolish or evil behaviour in order to provoke o...more
I read this book in order to learn more about Larry Kramer for my MA thesis, and... It made me sad.

As an activist, Kramer is always desperate to make a point in his works, and this book is no different. However, where The Normal Heart, despite its flaws, has genuine emotion and likable characters, Faggots offers very little more than satire, and even the satire wasn't as good as I thought it would be. The Normal Heart feels painfully real, is brutal and gut-wrenching, grabbing you by the throat...more
Parts of this book bothered me, but it wouldn't be satire if it didn't. I usually have an ambivalent feeling towards most satire, as satire is basically the passive-aggressive friend of literature, like that person everyone knew in high school who would needle people relentlessly and would then insist "it was just a joke-don't get so defensive" when someone finally snapped and told them to stop. This book is Kramer's satirical take on the club/bath house/Fire Island gay New York scene of the 70s...more
Whoa, this book definitely lived up to both its title and its cover art. I first became interested in this book after reading "And the Band Played On," where Larry Kramer emerges as an unsung hero of the early AIDS crisis in New York. “Faggots” is mentioned in that work as a divisive manifesto that enraged members of the gay community for its portrayal of gay men as sex maniacs incapable of monogamy. There’s certainly some truth to that argument and it’s easy to see why the book has its decriers...more
Eric Rickert
The sloppiest masterpiece I've ever read, which (maybe) describes a lot of homosexuals I've encountered. FAGGOTS is scattershot, lyrical, multifaceted, hilarious, eternally quotable, and entirely mesmerizing. It's almost staggering in scope and touch. To call it a landmark book is to cheapen it to discount shelves across the world.

Certain storylines reach too far, but the last twelve pages summarize a zeitgeist and a city in an era that was soon eclipsed by the HIV/AIDS panic. The book is weirdl...more
Dan Saniski
Ugh, this book is so boring and poorly written. Look, I know Larry Kramer is terribly important for his work with GMHC, but that doesn't make this book any good. I couldn't even finish it. Dancer from the Dance is a far superior book with the same view on the culture of the time, it came out the same year, but without the ham-fisted moralizing. Do yourself a favor and read Dancer instead.
George Ilsley
All I remember about this novel from reading it years ago is that I did not like it. This time around, I found the first few pages interesting and obviously Kramer is constructing a satire of life in 1970's Manhattan. But he failed to bring me into the novel or into the characters. I started to care less and less and had trouble remembering who the characters were. Finally, I just said forget it. Not worth the bother.
Steve Bertolami
I give the book two stars for Larry Kramer's accidental timeliness in satirizing an era that was to come crashing down so horrifically so soon after it's publishing. That said it was terribly written with too many characters to possibly follow or be interested in. I get stinks and gay love really stinks.
Douglas Gibson
I wanted to love this book, but I did not. Kramer's satire of the vacuousness of gay life style 30 years ago is still spot on today! But to prove his point that all "faggots" are the same and interchangeable his novel briefly develops any of the fifty-some-odd characters that we meet, again, I think that is his point, brief, meaningless encounters with passing men, but it makes it difficult for the reader to care about any of them- perhaps again hi s point, but it makes for a tedious read.
The l...more
Karmen Holman
This book was okay. It was very graphic and is not for everyone. I did find it hard to follow. There are a lot of different characters and it is hard to keep up with the story line. Kramer did do an exceptional job portraying himself as the main character, and his views on homosexuality in the city lifestyle. I would recommend this book to anyone who is not squeamish or offended by graphic sexual content. But I would recommend that one would read it when they have a lot of time on their hands. B...more
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Larry Kramer (born June 25, 1935) is an American playwright, author, public health advocate and gay rights activist. He was nominated for an Academy Award, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and was twice a recipient of an Obie Award. In response to the AIDS crisis he founded Gay Men's Health Crisis, which became the largest organization of its kind in the world. He wrote The Normal Heart, the...more
More about Larry Kramer...
The Normal Heart The Normal Heart & The Destiny of Me The Tragedy of Today's Gays The Destiny of Me Reports from the Holocaust: The Story of An AIDS Activist

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“Of the 2,639,857 faggots in the New York city area, 2,639,857 think primarily with their cocks.
You didn't know that the cock was a thinking organ?
Well, by this time, you should know that it is.”
“Holy shit," somebody muttered in the dark.
"A virgin," sputtered another.
"I didn't know they still made them."
"He just did.”
More quotes…