Title: A Man and His Pride
Author: Luke Rutledge
Published: 31st January 2023, Viking
Status: Read January 2023 courtesy Penguin Books
When Sean Preston’s first serious relationship ends, the social media moderator makes a list. Get body back in shape. Visit Meredith. Call Mum. Don’t date. He also needs to find somewhere else to live, crashing with his best friend, and former girlfriend, Abby can only be a temporary solution.
Eager to restore his self esteem, Sean throws himself back into the world of hook ups via Grindr, convinced now that exclusive partnerships are antithesis to the gay lifestyle, despite the current campaign with regards to the Same Sex Marriage plebiscite. Yet the rewards seem increasingly hollow.
As Sean is struggling to find his place in the world, he meets William, a nurse at the home where Meredith, suffering late stage dementia, is confined. Her impending death, a mystery correspondent and William’s friendship, forces Sean to face the emotional traumas he carries, and re-claim his pride.
The author thoughtfully explores issues such as identity, homophobia, acceptance, and friendship. Sean initially presents as shallow and narcissistic, playing up to the media stereotype of a promiscuous gay party boy, but as the story unfolds his avoidance of intimacy begins to make sense. With compassion and insight Rutledge slowly strips away Sean’s outward persona to expose his vulnerability, guilt, and loneliness.
William is a sweet foil for Sean, and I really liked the way Rutledge developed the relationship between the two men. What starts as a sort of mercenary exchange becomes something more meaningful and moving. William, and his friends, also illustrate the diversity of the gay community, and model an alternative lifestyle for Sean.
Tender, forthright, entertaining and poignant, I enjoyed A Man and His Pride.
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2 thoughts on “Review: A Man and His Pride by Luke Rutledge”
Thanks for this review. I was sent this one and have been tossing up reading it, your review makes me inclined to.
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Interesting that the author takes the main character from stereotype to showing that there are no stereotypes; I like that. This sounds good.
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