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The Leather Boys

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  46 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Librarian note: First published in 1961 by author Eliot George, a pseudonym for Gillian Freeman, all later editions use her real name

From the First Edition dustjacket:
The leather boys are the boys on the bikes, the boys who do a ton on the by-pass. For their expensive machines, they need expensive leather jackets. They are an aimless, lawless, cowardly and vain lot with a
Published (first published January 1st 1961)
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Jun 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gay-historical
The book is an essential read for anyone who might be interested in the late 50′s and the youth of that time, it may come over as rather quaint to Americans, because I’m sure that American bikers were never quite that shy and gauche as some of the characters here. Although – sorry to disappoint you once again – this isn’t exactly about biker boys either. Hell, could a book and a blurb and a cover BE more misleading?

Anyway, there’s not much to the story, really. Reggie is married but dissatisfied
Nov 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in the time in which it was written – the 1950s - and in South London. It is the story of 2 eighteen year old working class lads, Reggie and Dick, both emotionally starved to a greater or lesser extent. One is trapped in an unhappy marriage, the other lives with his doting, elderly grandmother, the preferred alternative to living with emotionally cold and materialistic parents.

It is an easy, fairly undemanding read and follows the relationship between these 2 lads – a friendship which develo
May 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a tightly written page-turner about working-class same-sex love, small-time heists, and domestic life in postwar London. The narration is concise and compellingly conveys the discovery of desire, the pressure of family and marital commitments, and the frequent difficulty of imagining a future when one has few examples to go on. There is also leather: Freeman bears witness to the pleasurable roar of motorcycles, the euphoria of buying new leather pants, and crowd of young men at a late ni ...more
Jul 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here's a very quick enjoyable summer beach read (two hours) validating same-sex love and desire from the Dark Ages of 1961. I read the first edition so was not misled by the ridiculous cover copy of the two or three later editions which denigrated the "strange and dangerous" relationship between the two teenage boys by suggesting they would be better off with leather clad biker women. That is not at all the content of the book. The love affair between Dick and Reggie is presented naturally, even ...more
Sean Kennedy
An interesting piece of historical gay lit, but unfortunately beholden to the tropes and limitations of the time, so don't expect a happy ending.
Andrew Murphy-Williams
I've finished the book, but I don't know how to react to it quite yet. The blurb on the back says: "They're Britain's 'Wild Ones'-the motorcycle cow-boys who live for fast machines and faster girls.
Who ton-up along the Motorways, terrorising drivers and defying the law. Who experience sex too young, marry unthinkingly and live only for the next kick-whatever or wherever it is.
THE LEATHER BOYS is a savage, brilliantly told novel of these aimless young men and women. It is also the story of Dick a
Aleardo Zanghellini
I loved this little book. First, it has one of the most beautiful scenes of same-sex intimacy I have read in any book. Secondly, and remarkably for a mid-century gay-themed novel, the love between the two main characters is almost entirely angst-free (in the sense that the lovers, refreshingly, don’t waste much time agonising about its same-sex nature). The author seems to be addressing neither an implicly homophobic audience (by selling them a gay story that appeals to values of tolerance), nor ...more
Carol Fenlon
Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
thoroughly enjoyed this book which I'd asked for in my Christmas stocking together with the film version. Freeman's writing style is plain simple and refreshing yet the content of the book was groundbreaking for its time. Set and written in the very early 1960s, Freeman deals sensitively with the subject of love between two young working class teenagers. Also authentically describes the culture of 1950s teenage bikers. I couldn't put this down and devoured it in two days flat. I have also seen t ...more
Jul 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Not my usual read, this short novel was a real pleasure. Whilst the main (and subtle) theme is of an unexpected gay romance between two relative strangers, the book is as much about post-war London and working class life. I'm rarely touched by any kind of romantic book or film, but here the author's skill in simply describing the thoughts and feelings that Reggie and Dick have for each other communicates an honesty that is genuinely sweet; they simply fall in love, and they don't really wonder t ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author with this name in the Goodreads database.

Pen name of Gillian Freeman