Gerle, Mikel. “Drama Club: a Memoir”, CreateSpace, 2017.
Coming of Age
Coming of age is never easy but it is that much more difficult in a small town and in a family stepped in religious traditions. Here is Mikel Gerle’s story of finding a way for him and others like him to live among “the heteronormative mating rituals of small town early 80s America.”
Mikel Gerle has had quite a life. He has been a pineapple picker, ballet dancer, International Mister Leather, government bureaucrat, and yoga teacher. He has ridden his bike 545 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles four times to raise money to combat HIV, the virus he has survived since 1987. Today, he and his husband live in West Hollywood, California and share their lives with the family they have chosen.
Gerle’s “Drama Club” is a collection of essays that take us into his journey navigating prejudice, religious oppression, joy, triumph, and sexual discovery. We laugh, we cry and we smile as we read and we become curious as to what his next book will share with us.
Gerle is a excellent storyteller as he takes us to places such as Nebraska, Wyoming, Arizona, Utah, and Idaho. His characters are real and powerful and identifiable since so many of us have been through the kind of experiences we read about here. We have all felt alone and different, and we have all wanted to connect with others. Gerle’s personal journey through young adulthood was quite an adventure, filled with heartache and love.
We read of the struggles of growing up while being in a family that is concerned with religion, family and outlaw sexuality. It is bit easy to run away from such a life but we manage to do so.