Trudie Barreras's Reviews > Two Natures

Two Natures by Jendi Reiter
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it was amazing

Again, it is necessary to acknowledge a profound debt of gratitude to my favorite author Kittredge Cherry for the opportunity to read an extremely meaningful and powerful book, “Two Natures” by Jendi Reiter. Set in the “peak AIDS years” of the early-to-mid 1990’s, the novel is presented as the memoir of Julian, a young fashion photographer in New York City.

I will say at the outset that this book offers an amazing level of honesty and insight. Like the earlier work of Patricia Nell Warren, Reiter’s representation of gay male psychology and eroticism is clear-eyed and unabashed. Although her descriptions of male-male sexual encounters are no more explicit than the similar descriptions of heterosexual lovemaking in many modern-day romances, some readers may find this unpalatable. To them, I can only say, “Get over it, people!”

Although Reiter is investigating the link between sexuality and spirituality in this narrative, as well as presenting a deeply incisive exploration of the social and cultural aspects of the urban LGBTQ community during the AIDS crisis, she is not heavy-handed or in any way “preachy”. Her main characters and many of the peripheral cast members are sympathetically and vividly described. Julian himself is voiced with wry and biting humor.

A trigger warning: for those who, like me, have “been there and done that” with respect to losing dear ones to AIDS, and who have experienced the anger, disgust and grief resulting from the vicious and callous rejection of gays – especially those stricken with HIV – by the so-called Christian establishment, the honesty of this book is stark. Although it reflects back on an era that may be fading in the memory of many of us, it is really the very recent past. It is not a story to “love” in the trivial sense, but is rather deeply and painfully moving, and therefore deserves the highest approval rating.
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Reading Progress

July 8, 2016 – Started Reading
July 17, 2016 – Shelved
July 17, 2016 – Finished Reading

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