01 November, 2015

Closet His, Closet Hers

From Burge Words:  A COLLECTION of ten stories, all variations on the same theme: hiding from the truth.
The matron who interprets her sexual desire as physical pain, obsessed with one of her nurses to the point of stalking.

The father who has liaisons with men at public toilets, and the kid who works out he knows the bloke.
The painter who is out but not too proud, not until she’s achieved something with her life, and the Auschwitz survivor she must care for in her day job.
The mother who tries to find ‘the right girl’ for her son, only to come face-to-face with his male partner.
The daughter who finds her gay uncle on Facebook and confronts her christian father about his homophobia in one insightful email …
Captured at the crossroads of their lives, these people face choices between extraordinary heroism and cowardice.

Thoughts: Michael is a writer who likes to tell it like it is, even if his characters are hiding some pretty big secrets. His characters are all struggling with their sexuality and how they fit (or don't fit) into the roles society has chosen for them.
If you have read Michael's book Questionable Deeds you will recognise some of the situations he presents in Closet His, Closet Hers. There are a couple of stories which were almost like dry runs of what is delved into more deeply in the non fiction Questionable Deeds. For me it felt almost like a testing of the waters - can I write about this or is it still too raw?
All of the stories are about same sex attraction. At times it is very confronting, forcing you to not only face how parts of society react to same sex relationships or sex, but possibly your own thoughts and feelings.
Closet His, Closet Hers highlights the shame and trauma placed upon people when they are forced to hide what they truly feel. All of it's characters are damaged in some way because they feel they have to hide how they truly feel. And the damage extends to their friends and their family. No one can be happy if they are living a lie.
I would like to think that many of scenarios presented in Closet His, Closet Hers no longer exists. That a man no longer feels he has to marry, have children, live the suburban life if that is not what he wants. That a woman doesn't have to deny what she really wants and feels able to follow her desires and dreams. Sadly however I know these scenes are still played out in the daily lives of some. Hopefully books like this can highlight how damaging that is and everyone can learn to accept that love is love, regardless of a persons gender.

If you would like to know more about Michael Burge, his current publications and his upcoming releases, check out his website, Burge Words.

Closet His, Closet Hers gets 4 stars

 *        Did not like it
**       It was OK
***      Liked it
****    Really liked it
*****   It was amazing