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Sugarless
Magruder, James
Adult Fiction MAGRUDE

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Summary: Things look bad for Rick Lahrem, a high school sophomore in a cookie-cutter Chicago suburb in 1976. His mother's second husband is a licensed psychologist who eats like an ape, his stepsister is a stoner slut, and his father is engaged to a Southern belle. Rick's only solace is his growing collection of original Broadway-cast LPs, bought on the sly at Wax Trax. After he brings two girls in speech class to tears by reading a story aloud, Rick is coaxed onto the interscholastic forensics team to perform an eight-minute dramatic interpretation of The Boys in the Band , the controversial sixties play about homosexuality. Unexpectedly successful at this oddball event, Rick begins winning tournaments and making friends with his teammates. Rick also discovers the joys of sex--with a speech coach from a rival school--just as his mother, reacting to a deteriorating home environment, makes an unnerving commitment to Christ. The newly confident Rick assumes this too shall pass--until the combined forces of family, sex, and faith threaten to undo him at the state meet in Peoria. James Magruder's Sugarless offers a ruefully entertaining take on the simultaneous struggles of coming-out, coming-of-age, and coming-to-Jesus. A selection of InsightOut Book Club Finalist, Lambda Book Award for Gay Debut Fiction, Lambda Literary Foundation Finalist, TLA Gaybie Award for Best Gay Fiction Semi-finalist, James Branch Cabell First Novelist Award, Virginia Commonwealth University Semi-finalist, William Saroyan International Prize For Writing, Stanford University


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