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3.88  ·  Rating details ·  540 ratings  ·  108 reviews
All it took to destroy Andy Nocera's seemingly perfect life was an anonymous tryst at an Interstate rest area. Sentenced to probation and thrown out by his wife, he spends his week as a traveling salesman, and his weekends at his mother's house where no questions are asked--and no explanations are offered.

To clear his record, the State of North Carolina requires Andy to c

Published 2010 by Kensington Books
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Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
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Julio Genao
Jan 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: loved
in which julio loses his goddamned mind about mm (again).


republished in light of recent events; this constitutes my response.

like, you'll read some of these books, right, and you'll come out of them with iron-clad guarantees that gay men aren't gay men without pain like this; that gay men express love like this; that gay men have sex like this, in fuckdungeons like these, and sometimes with a were-chinchilla—

and mostly it's just drag.

just a bit of fun.

but also an expression of something more.

Nick Pageant
Sep 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giulio-books, gay-lit
I have an irritating habit when reviewing books that I really love. I turn the reviews into little autobiographies. It seems it really is all about me. I'm about to do it again. You've been warned.
I've got a rather tangled family tree - half-sisters, stepbrothers, a cousin who's also an aunt - it's an embarrassing situation, but one I never give much thought to because I really don't know any of these people and none of them know me. They're the sorts of relations you might see at weddings and w
3.5 stars. Review posted June 19, 2014

 photo oie_uVuZgwAr77h5_zps895ce151.png

I wanted to break down my rating
Writing: 4 stars
Storytelling and author’s “voice”: 4.5 stars
Andy: 2.5 stars
Alice: 4 stars
Issues with timeline, switch between past and present, indirect dialogue: 2.5 stars

Dismissed and emotionally neglected by his father when he was a child, Andy grew up feeling 'different'. When the police arrests him for sucking a guy's dick in a public restroom, he's forced to come out of the closet and and has to see a shrink. His marria
Aug 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

When reading a romance I find that things are always more ‘er’ in romance. People are beautifuler, stronger, kinder, bigger. We need that to sustain our hope for better. But reading romance can also blind us or skew our perceptions of the real world, where people are not always er but are usually a mixture. This is where books like this come in, books that are not a romance but about us, our lives, in all our muddle of good and bad. The hope that this gives me is the strong hope of when you see


Andy's narrative voice is one of the most intense in gay literary fiction for me.
Painful, sarcastic, despairing, realistic, sometimes ironic and always desperately honest.

This deeply touching and emotional story blew me away.

One of the best books I've read since years.


Sofia's review is my favorite.
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took me a while to get around to reading this book, because I knew it would upset me, and for what? But then, I read it. And it made me so damn angry.
Early on, there is this line
“I’m sorry,” I say, though he’s not the one who’s owed an apology.
And that was the start of my rage. First, I started making a list of all the people I’ve apologised to ;
Friends who found out
Husbands of friends who thought I might be dangerous/contagious/bad for image/what if the neighbours...
One boss wh
Dec 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everybody!
Every fall from grace has a story, I would recommend this one to everyone because, just . . . WOW!

You think it's as simple as that? You made a mistake? One mistake? Which of the many was the fatal one?

How do I write about a book with such amazing story telling that it’s going to take me almost as long to go through all my highlighted quotes as it did to read the book in the first place? My words aren’t going to do justice to this book, they just aren’t. I’m not even going to tell you about the s
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Let's face it:How do you greet a woman you’ve lived with for nearly twenty years, who vowed to stay with you through better or worse unless the worst meant being rescued from a police station, no toothbrush or mouthwash available and the smell of cock still on your breath?

He's got nowhere to go but back to his mother’s house.

The story begins shortly after Andy Nocera is arrested when caught having sex with another man in a public restroom. Kicked out of his house, he now lives with his mother an
Jun 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

"Step right up, folks. Welcome to the greatest show on earth.
Years of experience, a lifetime of lying, have prepared me for this. Oh yes, I’m the Great Pretender."

I think it was because of these lines on one of the first pages that I could not stop thinking about the movie Magnolia the entire time I was reading Probation.

So, Magnolia:

There is this guy - Frank. He has invented a system called Seduce and Destroy that teaches men who hate women how to hate women more successfully. His lifeline is
I’m hard-pressed to come up with something more painful than witnessing the complete and thorough self-destruction of a character in a book. I’m reading the words, the things the MC is doing and thinking, “No! Please, don’t! Don’t DO this to yourself!” and “Oh, god, that choice is gonna wreck everything that happens to you from this point forward...”

The simple fact is I’m so used to reading about gay men who are comfortable with themselves and their sexuality (for the most part), that this novel
Very well written, this is one of the most honest fictional book about gay male sexuality I have read in a very long time.
What keeps me from giving a high rating is the excess of drama and self-destructive behaviour and a too short and scrambled last chapter.

A beautiful book and an even better audiobook. A deeply touching prose told by one of the most talented, mesmerising narrators, in my opinion.

This is not a story to rush and skip through, and it's not a romance (I'm glad I was warned so there wouldn't have been any expectations). Instead, it's a book portraying a lonely man's life who had tried and failed to pretend he's not who he really is and then crawled through the deep depression and a tragedy trying, without believing it's possibl
Liam Elliot
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books that's Too Real.

WARNING: this is less a book review and more a.... diatribe? self-pitying monologue?

Here's the book reviewy bit:

It's not a shiny story written in the fluffy world of mm romance novels. You know, where everyone does The Right Thing and says The Right Thing all the fucking time even when they're being "kinky". Where being gay is OK, but only if you do it The Right Way, the Acceptable Way, NO STEREOTYPES NEED APPLY, PARAGONS OF VIRTUE AND SAFETY, ONLY, MO
Jeff Erno
Jul 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gay-fiction
Andy Nocera is a middle age man whose life seemingly has come to a screeching halt. Twenty years into his heterosexual marriage, he is arrested at a roadside park along the interstate and charged with indecency. He’s been caught having casual, anonymous sex with a stranger in a public facility. He loses his marriage, his job, his home, his dreams of fatherhood, and the tiny shred of self respect to which he’d previously been clinging.

Probation is the story of a man’s journey through a perilous a
Skye Kilaen
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Skye by: Julio Genao
Shelves: 0-fiction
One of the messiest, most painful, but ultimately hopeful books I've read. Andy Nocera is a gay man married to a woman. When he's arrested for public indecency after truck stop sex with a man, he loses his wife, his home, and his job, and is sentenced to probation that includes a year of therapy. Socially isolated, living with his dying mother, it's tough to see how anything in his life will ever get better. But it does. Not with a sudden light bulb moment, not with sustained optimism and hard w ...more
Smith Barney
The biting acerbic voice coated in humorous wit makes it impossible not to empathize with this poor bastard's self-castigating storyline. Of course, I perversely lingered and voyeured in hopes of some classic-timeless f'ed up priest/parishioner man-loving moments..aaaaand..sonofabitch..twas not to be. But..still very worthy of a compassionately-identifiable read.
Dec 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was pleasantly surprised at how well written this book was, especially considering it was Mendicino’s first novel. The plot sounded interesting enough: Andy Nocera, a married man in his late thirties, is arrested for having sex with another guy at an interstate rest stop. His life quickly goes downhill from that point. Besides the public shame and legal ramifications, he loses both his job and his wife. As the title suggests, the story traces his life during his one year probation period. This ...more
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Katerina by: LenaRibka
Shelves: audio-books, fiction
Church and State, those well-tended digits are going to peel me like an onion. We’re going to get to the bottom of this.

We’re going to find a rational, scientific explanation why a nice-looking, respectable, barely middle-aged man with a wonderful, loving wife and a glowing future—a man with a mortgage on a beautiful town house with a marble foyer and a stainless steel kitchen, his-and-hers fully loaded sports utility vehicles parked in the garage, linen and alpaca and cashmere stacked in the cl
Feb 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unflinchingly honest, this book is sometimes an uncomfortable read but always a quality one. The sardonic voice of the narrator has such emotional range behind it but always communicates so specifically that the reader can't help but be engaged. (Sometimes repulsed, sometimes sympathetic but always engaged.) The book also has terrific structure--it's able to delve into considerable detail and yet never loses sight of its time line. Also many of its chapters could stand alone as short stories, ye ...more
UNFORGETTABLE! I just finished so this review will most likely be incoherent ramblings. I started the audible driving and went straight to my kindle at home. I could not put this down. There are so many perfect reviews-read them if you want a summary, this is a must read. This story is so real, it's heartbreaking, eye opening, yet perfect. The book takes us through flashbacks and current times after an incident leaves the MC, Andy reassessing his life. It's so difficult to see how alone and misg ...more
May 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had many problems liking Andy Nocera. However, I couldn't put this book down. The writing was very compelling. And even if Andy and all of his closeted baggage is so unattractive, his development as a character is commendable. He was, in the end, very believable.
Rev. Matt McGinley remained an enigma of sorts. I would have liked to know him more.
K.M. Soehnlein
Apr 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is Tom Mendocino's first novel, and I hope it won't be his last. He writes with honesty, humor and an aversion to sentimentality that makes you believe every minute of his narrator's journey of occasionally self-destructive self-discovery.
Loren Olson
Dec 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tom Mendicino’s book, Probation, tells the story of Andrew “Andy” Nocera, a man who just can’t stop risking the loss of a life of luxury cars and cashmere sweaters. He risks it all by chasing anonymous homosexual encounters in “piss-soaked and shit-stinking public toilets.” Eventually, he is arrested and placed on probation for having sex at an Interstate rest area.

Some have complained that the novel is too dark, but Andy’s story is one I hear from men on a regular basis. Perhaps it isn’t that t
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq
I remember now why it's taken me so many tries to read this book. Frankly by the fourth chapter I want to die. So I put it down and try to get on with life and ignore all the little ways Andy and his predicament speak to me. Eventually I forget and get on with life.

This time I found the courage to continue reading but succumbed to the horrible compulsion to stay in bed unwashed, uncaffinated all day to sob and read and sob and read...

And proceeded in such a state until about the 95% mark where
I just know that after three wonderful books in almost as many days I'll probably have the biggest reading slump in the history of slumps.
But it'll be worth it.
This book. This book is bloody brilliant. Unflinchingly honest and oh, my god so painful sometimes (my eyes had a steady leak throughout) but beautiful too. This is not what I'd classify as mm. It's certainly not a romance and, although I'm totally fine with that, I really wish the ending hadn't been so rushed. After an entire book of r
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This was not a romance, oh no. This was a struggle, a battle of wills. It was real and raw and heart-rending at times...but this is what life is about for some gay guys. You know, staying in that damn closet, you lose yourself sometimes...just little pieces, but it all adds up and then when s**t happens and the temptation gets too much, as it did for Andy in this really well written novel by Tom Mendicino, reality becomes an absolute nightmare. An awesome and enlightening read.
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a stunning book about a somewhat stereotypical situation of the married man who is gay but the prose and storyline line are insightful and compelling and it goes places I didn't expect it to go.
4.5 stars

The blurb says pretty much all there’s to say about this book’s “plot”.
If you’re looking for a steaming romance, or even for a hearts and flowers one, look elsewhere. To be completely accurate, if you’re looking for a romance, look elsewhere.
This is not a romance, it’s all about Andy and his journey of...I guess you could call it his journey of self-awareness and self-acceptance, it certainly is all that, but, put it that way, it seems much more organic and organized that it actually i
Leslie Nicoll
Apr 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
IN A NUTSHELL: A powerful coming out story of a gay man who has been married for 20 years; an arrest for solicitation forces him to rethink, reevaluate, and rebuild his life. Readers share this experience with the prickly, but sympathetic, first person narrator.


All it took to destroy Andy Nocera’s seemingly perfect life was an anonymous tryst at an Interstate rest area. Sentenced to probation and thrown out by his wife, he spends his week as a traveling salesman, and his weekends at his
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not much of a reviewer so I'll keep this short. Any gay man over 35 should read this book. The writing is very fluid so the story flows effortlessly. It charts the internal world of a man whose surface life has followed one particular direction - a wife, almost a father, successful career. However, his real world - the one he lives with every minute of his waking and sleeping life, eventually breaks through the surface just once too often and he gets caught in a `compromising situation'. One ...more
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Tom Mendicino is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of North Carolina School of Law. His forthcoming novel, The Boys from Eighth and Carpenter (Kensington, September 2015), is about a pair of motherless boys, the sons of an abusive immigrant from Italy, and the choices each makes to protect the other.

His debut novel Probation (Kensington) was named a 2011 American Libr

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