Why Didn’t Someone Warn You About Prince Charming?
by Jameson Currier
Chelsea Station Edition
Reviewed by John Francis Leonard
In Why Didn’t Someone Warn You About Prince Charming?, Jameson Currier delves into the mystery of that elusive gay archetype, the “perfect” man, with always wry and often poignant results. This series of short stories starts out with awkward, sometimes closeted, younger men coming to grips with their burgeoning sexuality and finishes with equally compelling pieces about older gay men who have come to terms with their identities, but are sometimes disappointed in the results. They still look to that elusive hot guy that everyone wants to give their lives meaning. There are other pieces here, including an incredible, modern riff on Capote’s masterpiece, “A Christmas Story,” but it’s the pieces about older, sometimes hapless gay men looking for love in all the wrong places that give this collection much of its punch. These are gay men of a certain age who have survived the ups and downs of gay culture and emerged whole and still hopeful. This is not a book about AIDS, per se, but its characters have emerged from the early horrors of it in its heyday to find new strength and purpose. The younger characters live in a world that seems defined by the plague, and those older have lost those dear to them. AIDS and its early crisis is yet another character in a complex and highly readable collection.
There is much humor in these stories, a lot of hopeful longing, and not a few missed opportunities. Its fully-fleshed, multi-dimensional characters find themselves at odds with the love they seek as well as at odds with the many others who seek the exceptional men they long for. This is a collection of fully realized and humorous prose that will satisfy many a reader—even when the protagonist doesn’t achieve the same satisfaction.
John Francis Leonard is an advocate and writer, as well as a voracious reader of literature, which helps to feed his love of the English language. He has been living with HIV for fifteen years. His fiction has been published in the ImageOutWrite literary journal and he is a literary critic for Lambda Literary. Follow him on Twitter @JohnFrancisleo2.