Dream Boy
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Dream Boy

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  2,274 ratings  ·  200 reviews
ALA Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual Book Award. DREAM BOY confirms the immense promise of Jim Grimsley's award-winning debut, WINTER BIRDS. In his electrifying novel, adolescent gay love, violence, and the spirituality of old-time religion are combined through the alchemy of Grimsley's vision into a powerfully suspenseful story of escape and redemption. "I've never read a novel remot...more
ebook, 195 pages
Published January 9th 1995 by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (first published 1995)
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Vmcla
Dream Boy is a good beginnng for a novel. It's a decent outline. But aside from an intriguing writing style, this book fails if only because there is no ending.

Actually, I felt extremely cheated and angry that the author would do such a thing. First he manipulates us ruthlessly and plays on our emotions and for what? To give us a book with no ending? Either suggested ending is an unbelieveably trite.

The author should be ashamed of himself. Worn out plot, brutal enough to make reading difficul...more
Thomas
Jul 07, 2013 Thomas rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Thomas by: Roof Beam Reader
Shelves: glbt
Some books don't deserve ratings. Not because they're just that bad, but because a number cannot encapsulate everything found within their bindings. Dream Boy, for me, is one of those books - what I liked about it is also what prevented me from loving it fully.

First published over ten years ago at a succinct 195 pages, Dream Boy revolves around Nathan, a sophomore in high school who falls into a complex relationship with Roy, a senior. Nathan comes from a troubled home. His alcoholic father exem...more
Nancy
Wow, I don't know what to make of this. I heard about it on NPR; the commentator, a gay man, said he wished he had had this book when he was a teenager, because it would have told him he was not alone. That seemed a good reason to read it.

Dream Boy follows Nathan, a bright, delicate 15-year-old-boy, as he falls into a dreamlike courtship with Roy, an older, popular boy at Nathan's new school. Though the sex never feels prurient, the novel is unrelentingly sexual. I started to wonder if there was...more
Irissska
Jan 20, 2013 Irissska rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: people who is ok with no "Happily Ever After "
Shelves: m-m
I am still under impression of this book. Since the moment I read the last page I have thought about it all the time. You will find a lot of reviews on this book here, both negative and positive. And I agree with both. As for me, I liked this book. Really liked. And you shouldn't believe reviewers that the book is worth of reading or it isn't. Just read it yourself and decide.

(view spoiler)...more
Trisha Harrington
Such a brilliant mm book.


I have to begin by saying, this was the first mm book I have ever read. It was one of the most shocking books I had read up until that point. I loved it though and even now I can remember every second of the book. It's not a fun book and it's not just a romance but the emotion in the book drew me in. For me, when I think back to reading it I wonder if this should be labeled YA. It could be just my opinion though.

Jim Grimsley did an amazing job with Nathan. He was a shy...more
Jennifer
Just finished it and am trying to determine what I think. As an atheist bordering the agnostic I am not one for Bible-reading and hymn-singing and so forth. So I cannot read the ending in a religious context. But what remains then? If I say it is about love between Nathan and Roy, then I get the ending (even though it can be seen as over the top, too faitytale-ish or whatever). I get it nonetheless.

I am highly disturbed by the whole plot because the writing gets to you. It seems to be clinical,...more
Alex
Stars: 2.5/5

Overall:
While this is a beautifully written story with several positive points, the ending really sours the entire story for me.

What I liked
Writing. The style is unique and moving, feeling abstract and distant in many cases, which works to illustrate how the main character has become closed off (although the writing style doesn't change as he opens up.

Abuse. The main character's relationship with his father is handled well. The fear is palpable without showing any actual abuse being...more
Bonnie Brody
Feb 28, 2012 Bonnie Brody rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bonnie by: Heard Interview on NPR
Dream Boy is a tender love story that is also sensual and violent. It is the story of two high school boys who fall in love. Roy and Nathan are neighbors and the attraction is immediate and profound. They are secretive and tentative about their relationship but it is intense and astonishing in its power.

Roy and Nathan attend the same high school where Roy is a senior and Nathan is a sophomore. Nathan has just moved to the area. His family moves often because his father can't keep a job and drink...more
Clare
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ami
It is one of the most achingly beautiful book I have ever read in awhile. It is a story of two high school boys who discover love for one another in the rural South. Mr. Grimsley writes with soul of a poet that when he describes the attraction between the two boys, it is so palpable, I can feel it seeps through the pages and fill the empty space around me. Then it moves into this haunting scenes, slowly reaches the tense climax. The ending is poignant yet triumphant. I feel like I have been livi...more
Gloria
Sep 20, 2007 Gloria rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: People who aren't homophobic.
This is my favourite book. I can relate to almost every aspect of the story. Jim Grimsley is a genius.
Ariel Uppstrom
This was assigned as one of my Gay Book Club books. It was interesting to read an older LGBT novel, but it lacked some pizazz that I think I'm accustom to in current LGBT lit. I enjoyed the main character, but the boy he was in love with seemed so moody and artificial that I got fed up with him right away and felt that the main character should just move on. However, young love and new love is always hard to be rational with in, so I can understand his attachment.

I found the abuse the main chara...more
Blake Fraina
For me, along with Marilyne Robinson's Housekeeping, this book is the most beautifully written, heartfelt I have ever read. My reaction was so similar to other reviewers who posted here, I don't know if I have anything new to add. However, I feel so strongly about this book that I am compelled to contribute my opinion anyway. I, too, read Dream Boy in one sitting and, upon finishing, felt bereft, devastated for days afterward. The book's power derives not merely from the fairly simple, straightf...more
Matt
This is a story about two high school boys (one is 16 and the other is 18). Nathan (the 16 year old) has just moved to town with his family and we gradually learn something really, really bad is happening at home to Nathan. His father is a religious zealot but is also a drunk. Nathan is realizing he is gay but has absolutely no one to talk to about it, until he meets his next door neighbor, Roy, the 18 year old. They are attracted to each other but Roy is having a harder time understanding and a...more
Edina Rose
Two teenage boys fall in love in old rural conservative America (well, "old"..., not sure it's much different now from what I hear).
The "falling in love" part is very well done: the little looks, the shortness of breath, the redness of cheeks and neck and the first touches. There are sex scenes, but they are not gratuitous and not very explicit anyway. There is a rape scene though that made me want to throw up, so be warned.

The climax felt rushed to me but the beauty of the prose makes up for t...more
Chad
This book sucked me in. I'm not sure whether it was the writing style, the characters, or the setting, but something about it made it impossible to put down. The overwhelming sense of dread that filled me as I got deeper into the story had me hooked. Everything is told so vaguely, yet with such detail; it's quite hard to explain. It is not a novel I will soon forget, and I may have to re-read the last few chapters due to the dazed state I was put in after the climax. This novel, literally, left...more
Sarah B.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Control
Oct 23, 2008 Control rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: not really
Honestly, this book was a waste due only on the fact that the ending sucked.
It is your usual gay-life story ending with one of your main characters ending up dead. It basically had no compassion for the main character, Nathan, who not only is macho'd by his new "keep secret" boyfriend, whom sometimes or most of the times is a nice guy and has a girlfriend (according to him), but also is sexually abused by his own father. Ok? That's fine. But in the end this kid (spoiler alert) dies! There is no...more
K.Z. Snow
Brutally entrancing. I anticipated this being a wholebunchofstars read. The ending, however, left me troubled and unsatisfied (rather like In the Lake of the Woods). I do so wish that writers of "literary" fiction would get over their self-indulgent love of ambiguity, and I suspect the vast majority of readers feel the same. What's the point of it? Seriously.

I had no clue what I was left with when this story drew to a close. It seemed as if that elaborately, subtly constructed castle of prose a...more
Andrew

This is the first time in a long time that I've had to actually stop a book before I've finished, so I'm not even sure why I'm putting this review up here, but mostly to clear up some things that I feel are important. I tried very hard to just keep charging through the book until it was done, but this book was just that bad. I don't understand how this won an award at all.


First of all, everything about this novel is repetitive and boring. After the first time they meet, Nathan and Roy basically

...more
Bianca
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cristián
Jim Grimsley has gained a devoted reader for a lifetime through this riveting and honest work of fiction, Dream Boy. The love that develops between the two boys, Nathan and Roy, is powerfully honest and so tangible you can feel long after you set the book down. Each character is dynamic bearing qualities that only work to enhance the vivid world Grimsley establishes. There are philosophical and religious undertones to the novel that feel graceful and poetic even in the rebellion of the romance...more
Antonio
This has been my first book which I read in English and I'm glad for it! What such a writer!

The story is slow but lovely. Life passes without exasperation and Grimsley has known how to show the life in a calm and peaceful farm.

Sadness and happiness blend together in the quiet Nathan's life. To my mind, he has a simple life where simple things can have it brightened up, such as love!

The final is marvellous, something you need to think of according with your feelings and thoughts, with what you ha...more
Brian
When i first read this, I was in college and it was one of my first gay-themed books. As a closeted teen myself, it was easy to relate to the difficulties of growing up in a small-ass town, having to hide who you were.

I remember feeling how great it would feel to be able to just run away and leave it all behind.

But now... 10 years later... I watched the movie. And I gotta say... I sure hope authors are writing uplifting stories about gay youth these days. Like where the main character breaks ou...more
Brianna
Jul 26, 2009 Brianna rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: friends
A haunting story made a bit uncomfortable by the inclusion of sexual abuse. But I feel like the author succeeded in making an impact, choosing the words and triggers to induce the reactions he wanted in the reader.

The story deals with, among other things: first loves, homosexuality in a small town, and sexual abuse.

The boys' relationship is typical of teenagers: hot and cold, subject to the influence of their peers. It feels real.

The conclusion is a bit of a surprise, taking a somewhat obvious a...more
Christine (AR)
Sparely written and unrelentingly depressing. Nathan and Roy find each other but from the moment they meet, it's obvious this isn't going to end well for anyone. Sigh.

(Also? I've decided that there is one thing that is absolutely crucial in order for me to enjoy a book, and that's an actual ending. Happily ever after, everybody dies, something in between, WHATEVER; but these literary books that beat me over the head with their poignant metaphors and emotionally distant prose and then trail off i...more
Alexisl
Dream Boy is about a boy named Nathan who moves into a quiet small town because of his father who changes jobs when he starts to not like them after awhile. Nathan moves in and meets a boy next door named Roy. Roy starts talking to Nathan and invite him to study and help each other with homework in classes they struggle. They get closer and closer and start to have feelings for each other, but Roy tells Nathan to never tell anyone because people in town are not accepting of something of that nat...more
David Gallagher
"Dream Boy" creates a lot of questions and ethical issues. What I loved about it was how the love between the boys never went beyond touching, but remained, instead, an unquenchable thirst. However, even though written well, and quite pivotal for gay literature, I didn't fell particularly engaged or drawn to the story. The characters were ultimately indifferent to me, and I didn't care much for their fate. A sad book, one to debate about, but not a memorable and worthy-to-be-mentioned accomplish...more
Julian
This book is touching in its simplicity. It is neither crude, nor overt, and the writing has a starkness that adds depth to the already deceptively simple plot. It is not convoluted, and that is perhaps what makes it so powerful. It is a straight forward love story, with all the magic and pain that accompanies it. If you are looking for a good novel with gay content, I would highly recommend this one.

The title is horrible in comparison to the actual quality of the writing.
Taylor
Well, this was an odd experience. I'm not going to spoil the ending, though I'm not sure what that would ruin, however, the ending was sort of a confused attempt at lack of closure, and a lot of the threads picked up in the story, such as what appears to be a case of molestation, are hinted at, then suddenly disappear. Grimsley doesn't seem sure whether he wants a love story, a ghost story or a story of child abuse, and frankly, I'm not sure either.
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Jim Grimsley is a playwright and novelist. Jim's first novel, Winter Birds, was published by Algonquin Books in 1994. The novel won the 1995 Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and received a special citation from the Ernest Hemingway Foundation. Jim's second novel, Dream Boy, won the American Library Association GLBT Award for Literature (the Stonewa...more
More about Jim Grimsley...
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