“America’s Boy: A Southern Boy’s Triumph Over Husky Jeans, Beauty Queens and Broken Dreams” by Wade Rouse— Growing Up Different

Rouse, Wade. “America’s Boy: A Southern Boy’s Triumph Over Husky Jeans, Beauty Queens and Broken Dreams”, (originally published 2006), Magnus Books Reprint, 2012.

Growing Up Different

Amos Lassen

I first met Wade Rouse through this book—hs story of growing up in the Ozark Mountains, a place certainly not easy for a gay boy to come of age. In fact Rouse says that it makes the guys in “Deliverance” look like the Jonas brothers. Rouse dreamt of being Robbie Benson and if it was not hard enough otherwise, his parents and family did not make things easy for him. His father was an engineer and his mother was a nurse with the gift of gab  and she never stopped talking. His older brother was a champ at what ruralboys do—fishing and huntng and Rouse hated partaking in those activities.

The Ozarks may be beautiful but not an easy place to grow up. When his brother was killed in an accident, everything changed and when his borther was buried, Rouse buried his own identity with him. Here is Wade Rouse’s story and we see how he gained self-acceptance and pride and how his famly came to accept him. There is a lot of laughter and as many tears in his story and for a first book, it is a wonderful read.

“America’s Boy” is a brutally funny, heartbreakingly honest account of a boy struggling to grow and despite his struggles, there is a great sense of love in his writing. He honors his past, his family and where he came from, in spite of how difficult his path was. It is beautifully written and Rouse avoids sappiness as he tells us how it was for him.

Rouse takes us to his world and he does so wth style and wit. In  reading I found mysef undergoing a re-evaluation of who I really am. He tells about sex and how he found the “real world” and it his both his honesty and quick wit that helps make this such a fun read.