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Cover of Stories for Boys

Gregory Martin

Stories for Boys

  • nonfiction / memoir
  • ISBN 978-0-9834775-8-7

​In this memoir of fathers and sons, Gregory Martin struggles to reconcile the father he thought he knew with a man who has just survived a suicide attempt; a man who had been having anonymous affairs with men throughout his thirty-nine years of marriage; and who now must begin his life as a gay man. At a tipping point in our national conversation about gender and sexuality, rights and acceptance, Stories for Boys is about a father and a son finding a way to build a new relationship with one another after years of suppression and denial are given air and light.

Martin’s memoir is quirky and compelling with its amateur photos and grab-bag social science and literary analyses. He explores the impact his father’s lifelong secrets have upon his life now as a husband and father of two young boys with humor and bracing candor. Stories for Boys is resonant with conflicting emotions and the complexities of family sympathy, and asks the questions: How well do we know the people that we think we know the best? And how much do we have to know in order to keep loving them?

Awards

Number 8 on the Independent Bestseller List for Paperback Nonfiction!

Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association

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Praise for Stories for Boys

With clean vivid descriptions, and ruthless soul-wrenching self examination, Greg Martin bravely tells a story he never imagined having to tell. The reader is privileged here, to be allowed to watch as he wrestles with his sons, his own belief systems, his urge toward forgiveness and even Walt Whitman. This finely made, deeply felt memoir restores our faith in the power of language and story to make sense of a broken world.

Pam Houston
Author of Contents May Have Shifted

Stories for Boys is a charming and moving coming-of-age story, its narrator situated in the pivotal position between being his father’s son and his sons’ father. So refreshing and unique is Martin’s treatment of the material that the reader will never mistake this book for its inferior competitors dealing with similar subjects (suicide, latent homosexuality, child abuse). One hopes this is the new wave of memoir: stories of people whose lives are not easily categorized nor dismissed. It is a sweet read.

Antonya Nelson
Author of Bound

Gregory Martin’s Stories for Boys is a magnetic meditation on what happens when a decades-long lie is brutally revealed. Moving, brave, and unforgettable, this deeply personal book pushes us all further into the light.

Cheryl Strayed
Author of Wild

Besides his ability to write sentences of utter devastation, Martin also weaves evocative comparisons between his father and the life and writings of Walt Whitman. He makes the book all the more distinctive and accessible by including emails from his father, family photos, children’s drawings, tree house diagrams and pop culture images. Stories for Boys is, in essence, stories for everyone.

Los Angeles Review

Most crucially, it is a book about truth and reconciliation, of one man with his father and his sons, and of a culture that is changing in terms of what we teach boys about sex, but not quickly enough for our children to be unscathed.

Molly Beer
The Rumpus

[Stories for Boys] becomes profoundly touching as [Gregory Martin] takes himself to task, and over it all presides the spirit of his guiding light and inspiration, Walt Whitman, able to become sympathetic with any passing stranger, open to all, forgiving to all.

Nick DiMartino
Shelf Awareness

Unexpectedly relatable and gripping, Stories for Boys chronicles the healing and, most importantly, love within a family.

Daniel Tehrani
Out Magazine

Throughout, the reader may wonder who these stories for boys are for. For the author’s sons, as counterpoints to the sandwiched way the author now must respond to a new normal? For Martin himself, as he works, and sometimes fails, to find his dad amid the sins of the father? For the abused and tormented little boy his father once was and who, despite his behavior, needs the succor of story as much as his son? For all of them, of course, who are fortunate they have Martin to tell them.

Lisa Romeo
ForeWord Reviews

Through the examination of silences in his family, Martin artfully and honestly addresses the taboo topics of suicide, child abuse, and hidden homosexuality. These are stories that need to be told.

Sarah Seybold
Propeller

This is a book for anyone who is a parent, and anyone who has parents. It is a few moments on a lifelong journey of learning empathy that resonates with loud and small echoes of love.

Jennifer Spruit
Prism International

Stories for Boys is the repressed Western cousin of Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and Are You My Mother? In place of Bechdel’s obsessive perseveration, Martin gives us almost taciturn access to a shifting emotional landscape. Here we can see what it means to learn to love someone in a new way, in the long time after the moment when everything changes. This is not a comfortable space, but it is where most of us live most of the time and we’re lucky to have Martin as a guide and cartographer.

Andra Hibbert
Apt

Some books hold hard truths but offer a life ring of hope and even humor in an ocean of sadness. Stories for Boys, Gregory Martin’s memoir of his family’s coming to terms with the fact that his father is a closeted gay man, is such a book.

Mary Ann Gwinn
The Seattle Times

This is a book that works like the mind itself in a state of trauma, attacking its focal point from all angles, then circling around to try again. In the course of this dance, Stories for Boys becomes a tale of anger and sadness, confusion and wonder, and then, only in the end, once all the possibilities have been exhausted, into one of familial reconciliation against all odds.

Will Donnelly,
Green Mountains Review

What is new, and what represents something of a remarkable shift in acceptance of homosexuality in current American culture, is that for most of the length of Stories for Boys, Martin not only deals with the revelation, but then tries to imagine what that closeted life was like for his father.  Thus, what we have is the memoir of straight man imagining the life of a gay man from the previous generation, complete with all the repression, dishonesty, and self-loathing.  Who could ever have predicted that we would someday arrive at such a point!

Essentially, what we have here is a straight man worrying that his father is not dealing adequately enough with being gay, which again is something of a noteworthy turn of events.  One reads such passages with the growing dread that something bad is going to happen:  that his father may commit suicide or accidentally be killed before there is true resolution in their relationship.  In some sense one actually craves this kind of artistic symmetry.  In fact, as Martin writes, probably the reason we long for stories so much is that real life rarely, if ever, turns out as satisfyingly as one might expect.  Stories for Boys, however, is very satisfying in the end.  It’s a tremendous display of sympathy and empathy. Indeed, it gives one hope.

Dale Boyer
The Windy City Times, Outlines, The Writer's Chronicle

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