Kealii Ballao's Reviews > Clay's Way

Clay's Way by Blair Mastbaum
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's review
May 04, 2010

did not like it
bookshelves: gay-fiction, hawaiiana
Read in May, 2010

Clay's Way is author Blair Mastbaum's first novel. The novel centers around the emotionally confusing Sam. He is a rebellious boy living in Hawaii where he feel that he does not fit in because everyone is a surfer or Hawaii. Sam himself is self-deprecating in his looks and his family. He falls in love with a self-unaware surfer guy, the very type of guy that Sam hates, and the story is then centered around their one-sided love affair.

Mastbaum tries to introduce some local dialects which I find commendable, but it becomes obvious that he did not consult an actual person who spoke the Pidgin Hawaiian Dialect. This is the one major qualm I have about this book. Living in Hawaii and speaking pidgin as a second language, many people like myself can recognize good pidgin and bad pidgin. Beyond the incorrect pidgin grammar, the story begins with a good interesting start, but as we reach the climax of the story, Sam becomes much more irritating in his rudeness. I'm not sure if Mastbaum intended Sam to be this way or if I was the only one who felt being irritated, but this really didn't make me feel empathy for Sam when during the climatic scene at the beach.

Also, some scenes and people were included that had no real purpose in the main story of the novel. Also, in an desperately obvious Narration technique, Mastbaum, makes Sam sneak in to the house of his love to ease drop on the detailed story.
Overall, I wanted to like the book; the first few chapters really pulled me in. But I do have a bias towards books that include Hawaii as the main backdrop and I do feel the author needs to do more research in the culture of Hawaii. When I got to the end of the book I was left feeling unsympathetic towards Sam or any of the other characters in the book. I don't recommend this book if one wants to learn or read about Gay Hawaiian life.
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