Gregory, Todd. “Wicked Frat Boy Ways”, Bold Strokes Books, 2017.
Love, Seduction and Emotions
Todd Gregory is a name we associate with gay erotic writing and while we have not heard from him in quite a while, he is back with new novel. Set on the campus of Polk State, we meet seniors Brandon Benson and Phil Connor, fraternity brothers who play a game of seduction yet they do not think about the damage they cause and so not understand that they are playing with others’ emotions until it is too late. The sex scenes are graphic but I had a rough time remembering who was who because of the way the story is told and the number of characters that we meet. In fact, each chapter is the perspective of a different person.
I had the impression that held together the friendship between Phil and Brandon friendship was their daring each other. Something was missing about how they were so close. Phil is the president of his fraternity, and the two figured that this would allow for a lot of fun with the pledges and new members. What they did not understand was that sex is not a game and that could be consequences for their thoughtless actions. I found nothing in either of their personalities that made me feel anything positive about them but I suspect that is what the author wanted.
I also felt that setting gay erotica in a fraternity was a but if a stretch even though there are gay fraternity brothers even though sexuality in the house was acceptable and there were a few gay men who were members. Again, this could be deliberate as if to say that there are gay people everywhere. Having been a gay fraternity man myself, I remember well how difficult it was to be so but then it was at a different time in history.
It is always difficult to read about main characters that are despicable. Not only are they difficult to find ways to identify with them, they are responsible for dealing with others’ lives. Yet, for some reason I was fascinated by them and they certainly kept me reading. I was totally blindsided by the ending and so after I finished reading the book, I sat quietly for an hour letting what I had just finished sink in. As I wrote, I realized that the problems I had with the book were actually set ups so that we could get a different perspective of gay life even if it is one that does not please the average reader and I understood that this was the true genius of the writer’s work.