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Haskell Himself

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  62 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Meet Haskell Hodge. At sixteen, he's already garnered some fame as a former child actor and star of a popular cereal commercial. But that doesn't do much for him when he's dumped at his aunt's house in the suburbs of Los Angeles to face an assortment of neighborhood bullies.

He thinks he might be gay. In fact, he could be the only gay person in the valley, maybe on the enti
Hardcover, 330 pages
Published January 5th 2020 by Gary Seigel
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Average rating 4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  62 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Adela Cacovean
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: from-the-authors

When I picked up my Kindle to start reading Haskell Himself, I didn't have very high expectations. Having not read many LGBTQ+ books before, I was more hoping to get more diverse stories in my reading year, and the Hollywood-themed 60's story was an added bonus.

From the beginning, I felt immersed in the acting lessons and the choices Haskell makes to get himself on the path of becoming an actor like his own parents. I resonated with being raised by a singl
Jessica Therrien
A must read YA novel that captures the angst, misery and frustration of being a teenager who doesn’t fit the mold. I couldn’t put it down.
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Audiobook provided for review by the author.
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Haskell Himself drew me in instantly into the life of a precarious teenager with sharp wit and a dark secret. This book might be centered around the 1960's but I feel like the events that Haskell struggled with are still relevant in this decade, such as bullying, searching for acceptance and being true to himself. I don't think any of those scenarios will ever go away. I found it hard to put this book down and I hope you find this book to be a satisfying read, as I did! ...more
Gordon Suzuki
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gary Seigel’s debut novel, Haskell Himself, will draw you intimately into the life of a precocious teenager with a sharp wit and for him— a dark secret. For someone like me who did not live in Los Angeles in the 1960s, I felt genuinely transported and learned a lot about life in Hollywood and Encino during that time. One of the writer’s gifts is his ability to make you empathize with his characters. We feel for Haskell and experience his highs and lows as he adapts to a new life in Southern Cali ...more
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Haskell Hodge is a sixteen year old from New York  who is focused on school and his acting career.  It's 1966 and Haskell is on his own a lot since his mother is a busy realtor who often works late into the night, he is also a loner without many friends.  Heading into his senior year, Haskell's mom drops a bomb, she is going overseas with her boyfriend and Haskell will be moving to L.A. with his aunt and uncle. Haskell absolutely does not want to uproot his life; however, after a strange going a ...more
Bill Cushing
Mar 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Talk about turmoil. Pity Haskell Hodge.
He’s growing up during the “best years of life,” smack dab in the middle of the sexual revolution, is highly intelligent and well on his way to a promising career as an actor. What many would see as opportunity, Haskell sees as an inconvenience at best, a horror at worst.
So why all the angst? Haskell is a gay at a time when being so was as destructive as one could endure. Although his sexuality simmers for a time, Haskell devotes much of his time trying to
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sixteen-year-old Haskell Hodge is a former child star actor who is dealing with a crisis of identity in the worst time possible. Fearing he might be gay, in 1966 when such things were not acceptable, he is resigning himself to a lonely life. Meanwhile, in the neighborhood, bullies have set their sights on him and are relentless in their pursuit of Haskell. In a time of sexual freedom, Haskell learns the harsh lesson that freedom for some does not mean freedom for all. When a career opportunity c ...more
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
The story is set in 1966. Haskell lives with his mother in New York. But she barely sees her, because of her work. When his mother suddenly, with no warning, decides to take time off work and travel with her boyfriend, it comes as a shock to Haskell. He has to move across the country, to live with his aunt and uncle in California. Leaving his school, from everything he knows.

He is faced with bullying, a lot. He is not the kind of guy, to fit in. He loves theater, acting, has no idea about most o
Riya Poojary
Oct 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Haskell Himself is a coming-of-age story set in the 60s of a 16-year-old kid whose life is uprooted from New York when he is sent to live with his aunt’s family in California.

Even with the sexual revolution gathering strength, Haskell makes some uncomfortable discoveries about his own sexuality. Coming to a new town, the fear of labels and exposure, frustration, misery, adolescence confusion, the bullying that ensues, trials and tribulations of being different, his search for acceptance and sel
Meaghan Hurn
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Haskell Himself doesn't just draw you in, it grabs you and throws you deep within it. This novel captures the misery and frustration of being a person who doesn’t fit the mold.

Haskel Himself is based in the 1960s in Los Angeles, and even though I know nothing about that time, I was able to feel like I was truly there, feeling the rhythm and cultural issues of the time. This coming to age novel tells the story of Haskell and his journey to find who he truly is. He is up against issues that are st
Mar 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Haskell Himself by Gary is an unputdownable coming of age story with an LGBT twist. Haskell is a 16-year-old kid growing up in the sixties. Even with the sexual revolution going on, he is struggling to find his place as a gay young man. He's already had a modicum of success, as a former child star but wants more from life. Added to his own complicated path is the fact that his mother takes off, leaving Haskell with his aunt. This book is a great story, an expose' of the culture at the time, and ...more
Shoshana Brower
Haskell Himself is an incredibly engaging book.
To me the sign of a good book is while I’m in the process of reading it, I am thinking about the characters, wanting to tell them my thoughts, and then still thinking about them when the book is over.
I definitely had this experience with this book.

The book is very timely and many high school students can identify with the confusion around their sexuality and relationships, whether gay or straight.

Thank you Gary Seigel for writing such a wonderful b
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Haskell Himself is an absolute delight. The novel is wonderfully engaging, enchanting, and moving. Haskell’s journey of finding himself felt palpably real. I found myself lost in Haskell’s world and thinking about him throughout the day. I highly recommend this fantastic read. 
May 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a good book & well written . I found Haskell's perspective interesting and I sympathize with his situation. It wasn't really my cup of tea but a good book nonetheless. ...more
Maxine Brown
The book is well written and it does describe the teenage angst so well but I must admit I wasn't a fan of the main character. I did really enjoy the relationship he shared with his cousin and I was sad that the friendship with Henri didn't survive. ...more
Sunny Shelly Reads
Haskell Himself is a wonderful, poignant, coming-of-age story. Set in the 1960s, the social climate plays a huge part in Haskell's journey of self-discovery and self-love. But the lessons learned and messages delivered are timeless, and still very relevant in today's world. Gary Seigel delicately deals with themes of bullying, searching for acceptance and sexual orientation in a book that is absolutely gripping, yet still entertaining.

I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.
Kathy Orsi
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Haskell is a delightful young man and I was drawn into his story from the first page. He’s intelligent and funny and slightly out of tune with his peers. His journey to find and define himself while navigating a new living environment is something that many of us can relate to. I loved this book and look forward to reading further adventures of Haskell.
Gary Hayashi
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A few of the other reviewers of Haskell Himself mention that this is a book they couldn’t put down. I could, and did, several times. First of all, the internal angst-ridden, am-I-gay-am-I-not-gay monologue of the protagonist would often send me into reveries of my own similarly conflicted adolescence. Secondly, the detailed descriptions of Southern California in the late 1960’s would cause me to pause and call up my own memories of certain physical locales referenced by the author, Gary Seigel, ...more
Herbert Yuen
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This coming to age novel is tells the story of Haskell and his journey to find who he truly is. This tale of a young gay male shows the hardships of growing up in the 60’s where being queer is strongly disapproved of by the general public. Gary Seigel captures the essence of growing up queer and the trials and tribulations that come with it. Highly recommend this book and looking forward to the sequel!
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Haskell grabbed me on page 1 and wouldn't let go...

He is a fully engaging and lovable, quintessentially quirky teenage male:  full of hope, full of contradictions, full of angst about being gay, and full of plans....many of which go awry.  The latter provide many humorous and poignant twists and turns of the plot.

From his peripatetic mom to his steadfast uncle to his dream boat fantasy boyfriend to his pig Latin fluent girlfriend, he is surrounded by a wonderful collection of characters orbiting
Howard Grimwood
As a friend of the author, Gary Seigel, I was able to read the last draft of this book before publication, as well as a much shorter earlier draft. I'm pleased to say I found it very well written, with a fast-paced and entertaining style, leavened with dark and quirky humor. At the same time I found the final draft very thought-provoking. Haskell is trying to come to grips with the possibility of being gay at a time when homosexuals were a minority almost universally despised--by conservatives, ...more
Lynda Kletter
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Haskell just wants to be himself, if he can figure out who that is. He is at once old for his years and still coming of age. He meets challenges along the journey with self-reflection, adolescent confusion, humor, and poignancy. The author paints a vivid picture of his characters and settings making up Haskell’s world, and I can easily see a transition to screen. I can’t wait to learn of Haskell’s next adventures!
Gary Seigel
Dec 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
This is my novel. I think it's darn good for a debut novel, but the sequel, which should come out in 2022, is even better. ...more
Heidi | Paper Safari Book Blog
It is amazing to realize the strides there have been since 1966 in regard to LGBT rights. Set in 1966 this is the coming of age story of a young man who moves from NYC to LA. His dream is to act but back then you could lose jobs and be blacklisted if you were discovered to be gay. Haskell has to come to terms with himself and what he wants before he can make the decision of how he wants to live his life. This book really makes you realize how far we have come in acceptance of LGBT lives, is ther ...more
Alexa Kingaard
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had a feeling that I would love this book, and I did! I'm not a fan of stories with dragons, fire, brimstone, or violence, but rather a thought-provoking tale such as this one that will keep me engrossed until the very last page. Seigel wove a narrative filled with the inner demons of an adolescent, searching for his identity, sexual and otherwise. Regardless of gay or straight, angst envelops all of us at a certain age. Add to the fact that his parents were largely missing throughout his chil ...more
Gary Seigel
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Haskell Himself was released on Sunday, January 19, 2020. Thank you all for your support. I am so grateful for your time and effort to write reviews!

If you're interested in hearing more about Haskell's adventures, you can read exclusive excerpts from his journal on my BLOG at

Also, the audio is now available on, and Brian Evans does an amazing job as narrator. If you'd like a review copy, email me at
R. Linda
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could not put this book down. The author’s voice is true and charming, funny and intelligent. Just as you think you’ve seen where the story is going, it surprises you and carves a permanent smile on your face. It’s true to life without being either exploitative or too graphic. Great book to read with your teenager for family discussion. I hope there’s a follow-up book in the works.
Holly Kammier
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A touching, coming of age story about a boy finding himself. The real joy of this story is how relatable Haskell Himself is for all of us, young and old, straight or gay.
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