As a bibliophile, the first thing I noticed about this book was the cover - not the intriguing design, but it's soft texture. I found myself actually stroking this book while I was reading (whether I was just enjoying the feel of it or trying to offer some form of comfort to Gabe is a matter for debate).
Songs for the New Depression by Kergan Edwards-Stout
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
We meet the main character, Gabe, at the end of his life, after he has contracted HIV and faces the imminent threat of death.
Gabe is flawed - he admits that but, as the story unfolds, it's revealed that he's neurotic and possibly suffering from (in my not so professional opinion) histrionic personality disorder. Because of this, he makes decisions that have a large impact on, not only himself, but everyone around him.
The events that shaped Gabe are slowly revealed with excellent foreshadowing that keep readers enthralled with the train-wreck of Gabe's life. Edwards-Stout utilizes the full range of human emotions to draw readers into Gabe.
We see how this personality disorder starts to develop when a young Gabe, realizing he is gay, begins to think of himself as 'different.' This idea starts with society's reaction to him, rather than being something he has always known.
This book challenges the idea that mental disorders are inherent to homosexuality by showing how the links between homosexuality and mental disorders are forged - this personality disorder was shaped and developed by forces outside of Gabe's control when he was young. Gabe is only human and it is this feature that endears him to the reader, even when he makes bad decisions that ultimately end his life.
I received a free copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads.
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Songs for the New Depression is available for purchase at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.