“A small-town lad’s awakening, sexual and intellectualwhich takes him to big-city demimondes and books that begged, in their day, to be banned. . . . Keenly observed and well-writtenreaders will hope that a sequel is forthcoming.”Kirkus Reviews
About My Life and the Kept Woman
978-0-8021-4404-1 • $14.00 • Paperback • Mar. 2009
“A skillfully paced story . . . As a memoirist, Rechy is both participant and observer, and he segues as easily between narrative and exegesis as his younger self did between the lure of the wild streets and the embrace of his traditional family.” Los Angeles Magazine
Gore Vidal has hailed John Rechy as “one of the few original American writers of the last century,” and Michael Cunningham has called him an author “whose life is almost as interesting, and meaningful, as his work.” Now in paperback, Rechy’s long-awaited memoir, About My Life and the Kept Woman, is the author’s first open treatment of his lifeand a testament to the power of pride and self-acceptance. John Rechy has always known discrimination. Raised Mexican-American in El Paso, Texas, at a time when Latino children were routinely segregated, Rechy was often assumed to be Anglo because of his light skin, and had his name “changed” for him by a teacher, from Juan to John. As he grew olderand as his fascination with the memory of a notorious kept woman in his childhood deepenedRechy became aware that his differences lay not just in his heritage, but in his sexuality. While he performed the roles othersthe authoritarians in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, the bigoted relatives of his Anglo college classmates, or the men and women who wanted him to be something he was notwanted for him, he never allowed them to define him. A moving, powerful story of a life that bears witness to some of the most riotous changes of the past century, About My Life and the Kept Woman is as much a portrait of intolerance as of an individual who defied it to forge his own path.