“Far from Happy” by Jeni Decker— Leaving Home and Coming Home


Decker, Jeni. “Far from Happy”, Dreamspinner Press, 2014.

Leaving Home and Coming Home

Amos Lassen

Jackson Fouchet left home when he was nineteen—there was no particular question why he did so aside from leaving the confines on New Orleans. He wanted to find himself and what could be a better place to do than New York City? (Do not answer that question). To have money, he sells sex as he comes-of-age and deals with his sexuality. He has had to deal with his own inner turmoil, the realities of politics and his family.

It did not take long for Jackson to realize what New York was all about and whatever naiveté that was part of him, it was gone quickly.  He was mugged twice and then robbed while trying to score pot and then beaten severely. Then he just happened to meet a hustler who got him an invitation to meet Mr. B, a man with connections to the mob and the owner of many clubs on Times Square. The mayor of the city wants them cleaned up and he has his campaign aimed at The Deuce. And here begins Jackson spiral downward. As Times Square is cleaned up, new places must be found to conduct business.

For twenty years, Jackson worked the streets. There came a time for Jackson to head home—-New Orleans does that to people (I know—I was raised and schooled there). His sister was ill and the city beckoned him home. But sometimes it is hard to go home and even harder to stay here (and this I have also experienced and that is why I am no longer but always a New Orleanian in my heart—I have been an Israeli, an Arkansas and now I am a Bostonian but I know who I really am). There is some graphic sex here and it is a good story. However, I must add that if you really want to know what it was like at Times Square, check out Mykola Dementiuk, a man who writes of the place and the era from first hand knowledge. Frankly I could have done without all of the sex but that is what Times Square was all about.


2 thoughts on ““Far from Happy” by Jeni Decker— Leaving Home and Coming Home

  1. mykola (mick) dementiuk

    Times Square was alive in the 1950-60-70s but by the 80s it was taken over by crime and AIDS was close behind. I came of age in Times Square yet by the late 70s knew I had to get out and change my life. Sure am glad I did that. Though I write about Times Square of the past, the past still draws me back. Is it nostalgia I feel? Perhaps, but there is nothing like the 60s and 70s were. If I could go back I would, but I know life is not a Twilight Zone world, so I shrug and go on with living.

  2. Jacob Campbell

    Yes, Mick, when I hit Times Square in 1976 and every summer until 1986 I watched it all go to hell. I walked the streets in a hustler modality and it was rougher and rougher. Being a southerner helped me break through layers of ice on the street and at the Apollo Theater but as the years passed by the street grew more and more dismal–prerenovation malaise. I discovered Bruce Benderson’s — — USER a take off of a book I used as an attitude manual, SAUL’S BOOK. It is great to read your Dementiuk-take on how it was. Kin feelings sourced in that street sceen bind us in friendship. Yes, Amos, I went back ever fall, winter, and Spring to New Orleans where my root grows best! Good review!

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