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Surprising Myself

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  149 ratings  ·  10 reviews
A brilliant debut novel about the relationship between a boy and his homosexual friend.
Paperback, 424 pages
Published June 15th 1988 by Holt Paperbacks (first published 1987)
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In the week since I finished reading this, I've been trying to figure out how I feel about it, and I'm coming up a bit short. I didn't dislike reading it, but I can't really think of something I liked about it.

I had a few problems with the book. Bram employs a few time jumps that cut up the story unsatisfactorily. For instance, after a brief semi-courtship, the main character, Joel, throws himself into a relationship with the first boy he likes, tells his family he's gay, and then -- it's three...more
James Montgomery
Read this novel after it was banned from our public library (I lived in the Deep South), and it helped me a lot as a gay boy who was lost and confused. Not so much for the story itself, but for the fact that it came to EXIST at all in our library, at least for about a week. It was my first experience with ready a gay novel, and I will always remember it as being one of the books that help set me at ease with who I am.
Michael Armijo
This is a worthy book to read. It awakens us to the weaknesses of human beings. There were a number of meaningful lines in this book. I'd highly recommend it. I had the opportunity to meet Christopher Bram at a recent booksigning in the Village for his new book, CIRCUS ANIMALS. He was a delight and a true gentleman. This was Christopher Brams' first book (Surprising Myself)...and I found THE NOTORIOUS DR AUGUST a more well written novel...however...
There were significant lines that will forever...more
Apr 24, 2009 George rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: GLBT readers
Shelves: collection
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Annette Gisby
I'm not sure what to make of this novel. On the one had it is an interesting read on coming out and coming to terms with your sexuality in the 1970s/1980s, but I didn't really get a sense of time at all. It could have been set in today's world and it wouldn't have lost anything.

The book is told from Joel's point of view and the first person point of view is not one of my favourites to read. I'm always wondering what the other characters felt and thought, and we only get Joel's opinions as to wha...more
Christoph Fischer
"Surprising Myself" by Christopher Bram is the gay love story between Joel and Corey, told from the perspective of Joel. Forcefully transferred by his CIA father to the US he meets and falls for Corey. Both teenagers in the 1970s they learn to accept themselves for who they are and learn how to be in a relationship. Joel's sister is a great character to help reflect on their issues.
The story is written very warmly, at times quite explicit about the physical side of their relationship with much s...more
Update! Read the excerpt of Surprising Myself by Christopher Bram:Celebrating The Digital Release Of Christopher Bram's: Surprising Myself

4.5 Stars

Christopher Bram published an Op-Ed in the Advocate about his experience as a gay Boy Scout:

"Being a Boy Scout saved my life," writes Bram. "I was a bookish, introverted kid, shy and withdrawn, unhappy and easily bullied. I was also gay, although I didn't know it yet. I should've been miserable. But being a scout got me out of myself and into the worl
Arghl! So, after heaving my heart torn apart in Hold Tight, I skimmed the ending of this, Bram's first novel, and while it looked scarily break-up-y, nobody seemed dead. Loving on the first chapters like on all Bram's writing, I was sorry to see first a one year jump and then a three year one (just when it got interesting; but that's gay lit, and actually good writing about sex).
The whole big long middle is het Kearney's raging after his escaped wife though, and I'm still hoping Bram is just usi...more
This novel turned out to be a challenge in my rereading binge of Bram's novels. He's great at creating narrators and protagonists who aren't entirely likeable, a bold decision.

Joel's teen days at camp, and his budding awareness as gay, make up the first part of the novel. His relationship with Corey is truncated by a time gap. Most of the novel deals with his sister's troubled relationship with her husband, the return of their absent father into their lives, and his mother and grandmother's live...more
Patrick Ryan
This book was a major influence on me as a writer and a person.
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Bram grew up in Kempsville, Virginia. After graduating from the College of William and Mary in 1974 (B.A. in English), he moved to New York City four years later. There, he met his lifelong partner, documentary filmmaker Draper Shreeve.

Bram's novel Father of Frankenstein, about film director James Whale, was made into the movie Gods and Monsters starring Ian McKellen and Brendan Fraser. Bill Condo...more
More about Christopher Bram...
Father of Frankenstein Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America The Notorious Dr. August: His Real Life and Crimes Lives of the Circus Animals Hold Tight: A Novel

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