Briar's Reviews's Reviews > The Sexual Compass

The Sexual Compass by Michael  Reed
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really liked it
bookshelves: first-reads-giveaways, first-reads-giveaways-2015
Read 2 times. Last read August 13, 2015 to August 16, 2015.

The Sexual Compass was an interesting read diving into the question: can someone take a substance to cure or initiate homosexuality?

I have never read a story quite like this. Often authors don't dive into touchy subjects like this one, but Michael Reed did an excellent job! He touches on subjects like straight men wanting to dive into the world of homosexuality, and gay men who want to be heterosexual for a female partner.

The story itself seems to follow three people (although I'm not entirely sure because it's all in first person and there wasn't anything that made it obvious it was three different narrators) telling their stories.

One narrator is a young mother who often goes to a "gay club" meeting and seems to wish for a relationship with one of the gay men in the group. Characters like these, that seems very real and are clearly well planned out, make up a good novel. I applaud Michael Reed for his believable characters and their back stories. I could pinpoint someone in my life who was almost identical to his characters. Realistic characters? Check!

The setting is very realistic as well. It is set in modern time where this discussion could actually happen. Overall, the setting is believable as well.

There were two "problems" I saw with this novel. The first issue was that I had a hard time figuring out which character the narrator was switching to at times. All of the chapters are first person, and it does switch between narrators. Sometimes I would think I was following Susan and in reality I was following someone else completely! I wouldn't realize this until pages later, so I would have to go back and re-read which would confuse me and throw me off. I was often wondering which situation happened to which character.

My second issue, which really isn't much of an issue, is that I would have liked it to be longer. It is only a short novel, but I would have liked some more relationship development between the characters, or more strife and action. The plot moved well, but having more drama would have been entertaining. This one is more of a personal opinion, nothing that made me dislike the novel.

I also had a question for the author: what were the random pictures in the middle of the novel? I could place them as settings in the book, but was that the real purpose for them? It had be a little confused when I saw the pictures, but they were very nice to look at.

Overall, I liked it! The original idea was realistic and a big topic in today's society. I would definitely suggest many people to read this book! It's a great original idea and is it good taste!

Four out of five stars - due to the confusion about the narrators.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
August 13, 2015 – Started Reading
August 13, 2015 – Shelved
August 16, 2015 – Shelved as: first-reads-giveaways
August 16, 2015 – Finished Reading
July 21, 2016 – Shelved as: first-reads-giveaways-2015

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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message 1: by Michael (new) - added it

Michael Reed I'll answer your question here, if that's OK.

First of all, thank you for taking the time to read the book and for the positive review. I'm glad you enjoyed it overall.

I'm glad you enjoyed the characters, and that seems to have been the most successful area of the book, looking at the other reviews and feedback that I've received. When I'm writing fiction, I use a technique that's a bit like method acting, in that I try to put myself in the place of the character. The main characters were based on a mixture of my own experiences and on people that I have known. For example, the bit where the guy with long hair had “lesbians!” shouted at him and a female friend was one that happened to me, many years ago. When I was in my late teens, I had a long term illness and lost touch with most of my old friends, just like Susan.

I didn't want to do a head-swap at the half way point, as I find them distracting in books like Trainspotting. However, I realised that I needed to explore the idea from more than one angle, which is difficult to do in a first person story without head-swaps.

As for the photos, I was worried that I hadn't included enough descriptions of the locations. Having said that, I wanted to employ my experience with article writing in order to strip things down as much as possible and keep the book a quick read. I was inspired by the title sequences of films like Goldfinger and Torn Curtain (Hitchcock), in the way that they show you images, out of context, and leave you intrigued as to what they mean. For that reason, the photos tend to come way before their part in the story. In the last few years, I've been through a similar experience to John as I've only recently been able to leave home and start heading out on Saturday nights. So, some of those photos are from my own experiences of going clubbing and exploring that world. And yes, I did throw up into that toilet once! ;-)

The specific meaning of the photographs themselves is ambiguous. I think they represent things like a loner's view of the sea-side town in which the book is set, images of Susan's house and John's, along with Tesco at night.

Thanks again for reading it and for the feedback. As with all the reviews, I'll take it on board when writing the next one.

Mouse you later!


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