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My Husband and My Wives: A Gay Man's Odyssey
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My Husband and My Wives: A Gay Man's Odyssey

3.02  ·  Rating Details ·  129 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
My Husband and My Wives: A Gay’s Man’s Odyssey is a memoir of a man looking back over eight decades at the complications of discovering at puberty that he is attracted to other men. The dilemma of remaining true to what his libido tells him is right while surrounded by a disapproving and sometimes hostile society, is one side of his story. Another is the impulsive decision ...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published October 2nd 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 2012)
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Oct 08, 2012 Stacey rated it it was ok
I would give My Husband and My Wives one star, except I had a very fun time talking about the book with my book club. We discussed it for hours, mostly laughingly, but anything that gets you talking for that long is worth something, I guess. But to be clear, I kind of hated this--not because it's a gay book, but because it's a bad book. The author is eighty, and reading it is like talking to a very dirty, very senile old man who can't keep his shit straight yet still knows how to use words like ...more
Sep 25, 2012 Catalina rated it it was amazing
"There were four children and six grandchildren, some spouses, Richard, and myself -Papa Richard and Papa Charlie, as my younger son's children call us. Not exactly Dynasty or The Forsyte saga, but a family, nonetheless"

Better Charlie's saga, a saga full of emotional torment, sexual adventures, experiments, love of learning and finally a prince charming - which very well illustrates the saying: "it's never too late"!

Being a memoir written by a professor you would expect a pompous language, quite
Richard Kramer
Nov 03, 2012 Richard Kramer rated it it was ok
First: a wonderful title. Second, a marvelous cover. Third; well, not much. Maybe you don't help a book when you set out wanting to like it. And I wanted to like this chronicle of a man, now in his 80's, and his sexual journey through time that has led him, happily, to his husband. Fine. Maazel tov, as they say in the Klondike. But the book is a sour, shallow experience, revealing a man who has learned nothing and, for my shekel, has nothing to share that we haven't heard before. He's arrogant, ...more
Amy Steffey
Oct 14, 2012 Amy Steffey rated it it was ok
I am still trying to figure out why this guy felt his life worthy of writing a book about - and disappointed I spent money and time reading it. He has an amazing recollection of a tremendous number of sexual partners, but overall seems like a selfish individual. Can't wait to see what the book club crew thinks of this one!! I found it a fast, easy read, but fairly boring despite the detailed descriptions of his multiple sexual exploits. I realize I may be naive, but I am not sure I am convinced ...more
Aug 05, 2012 Ilya rated it really liked it
a fascinating account of growing up in the 40s, 50s, and onwards, as a guy who likes guys, has lots of sex with guys, and nevertheless marries two women and has four kids...and eventually just becomes a gay man.

Breezy, easy to read, and would compel most readers under the age of, say, 50 or 60, to reconsider some of what they think they know about prejudice and sexuality in decades past. A valuable document!
Aug 24, 2014 Tucker rated it liked it
Shelves: finished
A curious perspective from a man who had relationships with other men in the '50s and through the present day.

He acknowledges himself as oversexed, and, despite this assessment (which could be an entry point to understanding others, since it posits itself in relation to what might be considered "normally sexed"), he does not manage to universalize his experiences and insights. He didn't have a very easy road with his mother, wives, and children, but all the same, his road was easier than that of
Mary Johnson
Oct 22, 2012 Mary Johnson rated it liked it
This book began well, and if I'd stopped about a third of the way through, I would have given it 4 or 5 stars.

But I didn't notice many new insights--particularly new insights about his sexuality--beyond the first section. The young Christopher discovering his sexuality and living it out in Iowa City in the 40s happily challenged many of my preconceptions.

I did enjoy the dual focus: Beye's sexual life and his professional life. The way these intersect was interesting. And the final insight about
Sep 25, 2012 Callie rated it liked it
I'll give you three stars, Charles, but with some major reservations. I will say that I was hoping to hear more about your three marriages, instead I got a long, long list of every single sexual encounter you ever had--and you had a LOT! NOT what I was looking for. But you did lead a very full life and the funny thing is you are not afraid or ashamed of some very bad behavior which you quite unabashadly recount along with everything else. I found your tone quite nice, I must say because you sort ...more
Mar 02, 2013 Michael rated it it was ok
To quote a typo from the book, I may be suffering from "an access of goodwill" giving this book more than one star. I found the author's life interesting, and especially enjoyed his description of his own family, notably his stuck-in-the-Victorian-era mother.

Unfortunately, the majority of this book (when not making asinine sociological comments or digressing into his Classics scholarship) is an endless parade of sex scenes, each more improbable than the next. Apparently this guy had near-constan
Jan 31, 2013 Catherine rated it it was ok
I think Beye’s life story was interesting especially when it came to chronicling his boyhood in Iowa and somewhat in his romantic relationships with his two wives and now his husband.

He explains at the beginning of the book the reasons for the sexually explicit content, but I thought it was superfluous. The reader gained nothing in knowing those nitty gritty details. I felt uncomfortable with him having sexual relations with students. He claimed they weren’t his students at the time, but since
Kate Rau
Sep 27, 2012 Kate Rau rated it did not like it
If the author is to be believed, he was the Wilt Chamberlain of gay sex. Starting at 14, he blew everyone from classmates to teachers, several entire football and basketball teams, sailors, hitchhikers, at least one "famous athlete", students (once he became a professor), endless "straight married men" and friends of his teenage children. Oh, and all the while having meaningful and fabulous sex with his two wives. I'd hoped for more thought-provoking insight, less "bragging". I was debating whet ...more
Mar 30, 2013 Holly rated it really liked it
There are so many different reactions to this book and many come at it with a distinctly 21st century lens that they forget this man writes about being openly gay in the 1940s. Some folks consider him to have been a bully in his teens, though what I see was a man who was preyed upon by straight males looking for blow jobs. Others comment that he was a sexual predator, what I see was a man no different than straight males I knew in my teens and 20s. What shocks people is the amount of sex he has ...more
Nov 28, 2013 Tif rated it it was ok
Shelves: gossip, autobiography
I think I need to stay away from autobiographies; I'm realizing that I don't like reading about people who talk about themselves as if they're the most interesting person they know. So much of this book's tone was self-centered and arrogant, and the author's candidness seems like an excuse to create shock value. This book was little more than a blowhard keeping record of his 'scandalously' extensive sex life.
Jun 11, 2013 Rod rated it it was amazing
I loved this story of a Gay man's life from 1930 to present. He writes a great story, more a erotic novel. Author was a classic Greek professor and I want to read his scholarly works if they are written as well.
Maureen Flatley
Jan 23, 2013 Maureen Flatley rated it it was amazing
A graphic and occasionally lurid memoir by a world class academic w/ an incredible zest for life. To say that Beye's life has been unconventional would be an understatement but his bracing intellect and self deprecating humor temper what could otherwise have been a very difficult read.
Oct 03, 2012 Nathan rated it it was ok
At the risk of being uncharitable, nothing says "shoe-gazing memoir" like endless tales of promiscuous sex intermixed with egotistical academic puffery. Disappointing, to say the least.
Eben  Pendleton
Apr 20, 2013 Eben Pendleton rated it liked it
Came for the family lore. Stayed for the descriptions of Cambridge and Midwest.
Mar 27, 2016 Mediaman rated it did not like it
This book exposes what many gays and academics are truly like--if you want insight into the mind of a gay man or a college professor, the truth is contained here. The author is the most self-centered, narcissistic, boastful bore ever to put pen to paper, probably due to a combination of his addiction to sucking off young males and his inexplicable academic success.

What he glosses over is the fact that he commits crimes (as a college professor he had sex in his office with a 16-year-old hustler
Loren Olson
Dec 13, 2012 Loren Olson rated it liked it
Charles Rowan Beye is an octogenarian, a retired professor of classics whose previous books are ones I'm unlikely to have heard of let alone have read (Ancient Epic Poetry: Homer, Apollonius, Virgil with a Chapter on the Gilgamesh Poems; Odysseus: A Life, Ancient Epic Poetry: Homer). Yet when I heard his book, My Husband and My Wives: A Gay Man's Odyssey, discussed on Iowa Public Radio, I found many parallels with his life and my own.

We are of similar age, educated, and grew up in the Midwest. B
Charles Lor
Apr 21, 2014 Charles Lor rated it it was ok
A book about a straight man who blows guys on the side. Certainly not 80 years of life as a gay man.

Marketed as a "gay memoir" it is full of male-male sex, but nothing I would call "gay" in the cultural sense of the term. The author admits, the closest he's ever come to the gay community is the very few bars he's been in and where he "never felt comfortable". Never does his life intersect with the gay community, which means that we never have any insight on the evolution of gay perception, cult
Feb 04, 2013 Cat rated it did not like it
For most of the book, I was on Beye's side- as he recounts his non-reciprocated sexual experiences with Iowa high school classmates in the 1940s; during his first marriage (to a woman); and as he describes realizing that he is gay. But as I got toward the last third of the book, Beye started to sour for me. His socially repressive childhood and the era could explain why it took him a second, very unhappy marriage (again, to a woman) to realize that he was gay. But it put me off that someone as t ...more
Oct 01, 2012 Julie rated it liked it
Charles Rowan Beye is a retired classicist whose books on epic and the Argonautica were important readings for my dissertation, and so I was immediately interested in reading his autobiography. However, it mostly focuses on his prodigious sex life. He started sexual activity with other boys when he was a teenager in Iowa City and continued at an astounding pace (described in graphic detail) throughout his life, including during his two marriages to women in the 50’s and 60’s. In between he talks ...more
Sep 25, 2012 Jeff rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Every person's coming out story is unique, but I daresay Charlie Beye's is one of the most unusual. Beginning as an out teenager in 1940's Iowa, then a closeted twice married man and father of four in the 1950's and 60's, through a series of gay flings in the 1980's, he emerges as a happy partner in a same sex marriage in the present. Although I sometimes glazed over when the story veered into the politics of his career as a Classics academic, his story makes a fascinating read. Charming and sop ...more
Feb 04, 2013 Ronit rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, memoir
Beye is an amusing and witty raconteur as he reflects on his fist 80 years, but the most compelling material is in the book's first half, which reveals the public's permissive attitude toward homosexual behavior in the 1940s (if Beye is to be believed). It's interesting to see how gay erotic love was accepted more readily than gay romantic love, and how that changed over Beye's lifetime. But one wishes for more analysis of the shifting times and of Beye's shifting identity.
Now 80, Charles Beye looks back on his life as "the biggest homosexual in Iowa" when he was sixteen, through two straight marriages, four children, untold number of gay sexual escapades throughout his life, to his marriage to his partner in 2008.
Glen Retief
Jul 19, 2013 Glen Retief rated it really liked it
Sharp, smart, thoughtful and reflective memoir. Gay American 20th century life in the closet analyzed by a professor of Greek and Roman classics.
Robert E.  Kennedy Library
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Sep 25, 2012
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“I think of the black youngster who comes home sobbing to tell his mother that some other little children kicked him and called him "nigger", and his mother puts her arms around the boy to comfort him and explain how monstrous white people so often are. I can see that same scenario played out in Germany in 1930s when the race laws went into effect. But this youngsters had adults who helped them understand hatred and prejudice and condemnation. The gay child walks into his home, the only place where the human race can expect sanctuary, to find that the larger societal prejudices are just as vivid there. He is alone” 0 likes
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