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You are here: Home > Forum > A Place of Safety > Literary Merit > Secrets
Secrets  [message #78548] Thu, 27 July 2023 20:58 Go to next message
ReticentOne is currently offline  ReticentOne

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Location: Marion, Illinois, U.S.A.
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I've gritted my teeth and read the first twelve chapters of "Secrets". WTAF??? Literary Merit? Seriously?



g.l.
Re: Secrets  [message #78549 is a reply to message #78548] Thu, 27 July 2023 21:34 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

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Location: UK, in Devon
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Some stories reveal the unpleasant side of life.

Do you dislike the writing or the plot?



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Secrets  [message #78550 is a reply to message #78549] Fri, 28 July 2023 04:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ReticentOne is currently offline  ReticentOne

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I suppose the endless rape and abuse would be a good start, but I otherwise don't see the point of this little psychotic exercise. I spent 29 years working in corrections and in the course of my years of service I met some real winners, but in real life Bryce would have met his maker long ago. The fact that someone hasn't dispatched him to his eternal reward with extreme prejudice is beyond comprehension. 



g.l.
Re: Secrets  [message #78552 is a reply to message #78550] Mon, 31 July 2023 08:00 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

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He is an irritating, self centred, controlling little shit, isn't he?



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Secrets  [message #78562 is a reply to message #78548] Thu, 03 August 2023 14:59 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ReticentOne is currently offline  ReticentOne

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So there's that. I guess you could say he reaped what he sowed. My corrections career may have left me a bit thin-skinned, if not actually suffering from PTSD. While riveting and well-written, I have to say it was a painful read, right to the very end.



g.l.
Re: Secrets  [message #78563 is a reply to message #78562] Fri, 04 August 2023 07:51 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

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I agree with you. I liked the writing, i liked the topic written about. I had to grit my teeth and read it. All of these are reasons why I published it.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Secrets  [message #78564 is a reply to message #78563] Fri, 04 August 2023 08:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ivor slipper is currently offline  ivor slipper

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Fortunately it is very rare to come across a story about a character as obnoxious as that. I guess I kept reading waiting for redemption to occur. It never did.
Re: Secrets  [message #78565 is a reply to message #78564] Fri, 04 August 2023 11:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

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"ivor slipper wrote on Fri, 04 August 2023 09:22"
Fortunately it is very rare to come across a story about a character as obnoxious as that. I guess I kept reading waiting for redemption to occur. It never did.

--
And yet, he was just a boy, feeling his way, in a time when being gay was to be reviled.

He got it badly wrong.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Secrets  [message #78571 is a reply to message #78565] Sat, 05 August 2023 07:19 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Mark

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Registered: April 2013
Messages: 276



I'll admit that when I just read the 14 chapters of this story (and I linked to the author's page here, rather than to Ch. 1 directly, because the author does include an author's note that has been placed at the top of the chaper listing that should be taken into consideration when reading) in one sitting, it very much fell into the "What the freak did I just read?" category.  While indeed well-written, it is also certainly different than other stories found here, and I think that, like Ivor Slipper, I kept reading hoping for a redemption of the main character, who was a very self-centered prick.  (I think that Ch. 14 did go on to answer the last sentence of ReticentOne's second post.)

[Updated on: Sat, 05 August 2023 07:20]

Re: Secrets  [message #78573 is a reply to message #78571] Sat, 05 August 2023 21:05 Go to previous messageGo to next message
timmy

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13756



I hoped our "hero" would have an epiphany, a redemption.  He is a right little shit start to finish. And yet he lived in the mores of his time and just got it wrong. Victor wrote him well. It's very good writing to make us truly dislike a character. Where the character deserves hate mail, Victor deserves praise.

In case anyone is wondering, I didn't hesitate for a second before choosing to publish.  In its way iyt is a love story, but the hero is in love with himself.

[Updated on: Sat, 05 August 2023 21:05]




Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
Re: Secrets  [message #78574 is a reply to message #78548] Sun, 06 August 2023 07:08 Go to previous messageGo to next message
William King is currently offline  William King

Toe is in the water

Registered: October 2016
Messages: 99



This story is very well written, a first person account where the narrator also talks to the reader, I might add, in an arrogant fashion, but then that is who our protagonist is. Bryce is heavily into body building with the ambition of being a (American) football star, but this is almost incidental to the secret he is forced to keep to himself. This secret he eventually confides in his sister, but only because she discovers the truth together with his best friend, Carson. In a way Bryce is propelled into his actions, being not simply a stereotype dumb jock, but intelligent. It is his self-conceit and arrogance which lead to his eventual undoing.

The story is one of crime (blackmail) and retribution, the gay theme is the reason behind everything that happens, but can we entirely load everything onto Bryce? Certainly he has more than a lot to answer for, but so do his victims, who are also guilty. Guilty of perpetuating the homophobia that reigns in the small town, representatives of the prejudice, but more besides, probably guilty of lynching the first gay victim Oliver, whose murderers were never brought to justice. Accountability for what took place doesn't simply rest on the shoulders of our protagonist, Bryce, it rests squarely with the small town attitudes that perpetuate prejudice and drive things to extremes. Shayne, the only upfront gay teen finishes by killing himself during a high school shooting. Why? Because, just like Bryce, he sees no way out. 

Certainly there is a lot to criticise Bryce for, but like his best friend and his victims, Paxton and Wyatt, Bryce is also a victim. The real guilty party is the abstract perpetuation of prejudice and homophobia. The story has more depth to it than might at first be apparent and as such is a profoundly moral tale not only well written, but intelligent because it holds up for all to see the dire results of prejudice in whatever form it takes.

Re: Secrets  [message #78575 is a reply to message #78574] Sun, 06 August 2023 08:22 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ivor slipper is currently offline  ivor slipper

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Messages: 128



"William King wrote on Sun, 06 August 2023 07:08"


Certainly there is a lot to criticise Bryce for, but like his best friend and his victims, Paxton and Wyatt, Bryce is also a victim. The real guilty party is the abstract perpetuation of prejudice and homophobia. The story has more depth to it than might at first be apparent and as such is a profoundly moral tale not only well written, but intelligent because it holds up for all to see the dire results of prejudice in whatever form it takes.



--
That sounds like a case of 'blame the revolver and not the person who plled the trigger'.
Re: Secrets  [message #78576 is a reply to message #78575] Sun, 06 August 2023 15:21 Go to previous messageGo to next message
William King is currently offline  William King

Toe is in the water

Registered: October 2016
Messages: 99



"ivor slipper wrote on Sun, 06 August 2023 10:22"

"William King wrote on Sun, 06 August 2023 07:08"


Certainly there is a lot to criticise Bryce for, but like his best friend and his victims, Paxton and Wyatt, Bryce is also a victim. The real guilty party is the abstract perpetuation of prejudice and homophobia. The story has more depth to it than might at first be apparent and as such is a profoundly moral tale not only well written, but intelligent because it holds up for all to see the dire results of prejudice in whatever form it takes.




--
That sounds like a case of 'blame the revolver and not the person who plled the trigger'.

-- Not really, because "the revolver" is an inanimate object, it is people who created the homophobia and prejudice, along with a lot of hypocrisy. Where do sixteen year olds get their prejudice from? The adults around them. The football coach who wouldn't want a gay football player in his team. The mother (of Bryce) who wouldn't want a gay son, but happily has sex with a fourteen year old! As Bryce said himself, the only guy with any balls was Shayne, the gay towel boy, and he got so fucked up by the toxic town he took revenge with a school shooting and killed himself. The moral of the story, you reap what you sow and that doesn't just apply to Bryce, but all the rest. 

Re: Secrets  [message #78577 is a reply to message #78576] Sun, 06 August 2023 23:16 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Mark

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Registered: April 2013
Messages: 276



In some ways, I do understand that the author wishes for us to see a worst case scenerio of prejudice (the story is, after all, set within the past 30 years, which I'm sure is well within the lifetimes of most, if not all, of us here).  Certainly at first I want to say that the ending could never happen in this day and age in the U.S., but then I'm sure that both the author and others would be quick to point out that there are still places where something like this could happen, even today (with homophobia being so bad that learing that someone was gay would not only be sufficient to turn a gay-but-closeted person's best friend into one of their worst enemies almost immediately off of that fact alone, and that being gay would also cause others - or at least be a major part of - to lynch the gay person).  So yes, in that way Bryce is a victim in that he grew up in an environment that was not fully accepting of who he was.

But then, Bryce wasn't exactly a completely sinless victim himself.  Things initially get set into motion over something that has nothing to do with anyone's sexual orientation.  Bryce decides he wants to be the new starting quarterback for his high school's American football team the following season, and decides to eliminate the one person he considers to be his only serious competition by somehow finding out that the guy has been using illegal performance-enhancing steroids, and using said information to blackmail the other player into essentially removing himself from competition, and then later trying to use the town's homophobia to his own advantage by forcing that player and another boy to perform sex acts on each other (while filming it) to use as backup insurance.  Brcye's only downfall is that it could be argued that he wasn't quite careful enough in taking further advantage beyond that by later forcing himself on that rival player without taking sufficient precaution to make sure no one else would find out (and thus allowing his best friend to walk in on them in the act, and presumably this is how the author intended to explain how the the letters and video tapes Bryce left around with others were retrieved by his victims).
Re: Secrets  [message #78580 is a reply to message #78548] Thu, 10 August 2023 19:55 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Victor is currently offline  Victor

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I thought I had sent a reply for all this but I guess I messed up somewhere and it didn't go through.  Anyway, I know this was a rough story for most of you, just as it was for me to write, and I apologize.  I have no plans to ever write something like this again, all the rape scenes and other stuff like that.  I do have another long story coming up probably toward the end of Sept or early Oct that will be violent, including some killings, but I promise nothing like Secrets.  That was a one time thing.  I'm actually glad it's over with and that some of you seemed to like it, at least somewhat.

Victor
Re: Secrets  [message #78581 is a reply to message #78580] Thu, 10 August 2023 21:27 Go to previous message
timmy

Has no life at all
Location: UK, in Devon
Registered: February 2003
Messages: 13756



"Victor wrote on Thu, 10 August 2023 20:55"

I thought I had sent a reply for all this but I guess I messed up somewhere and it didn't go through.  Anyway, I know this was a rough story for most of you, just as it was for me to write, and I apologize.  I have no plans to ever write something like this again, all the rape scenes and other stuff like that.  I do have another long story coming up probably toward the end of Sept or early Oct that will be violent, including some killings, but I promise nothing like Secrets.  That was a one time thing.  I'm actually glad it's over with and that some of you seemed to like it, at least somewhat.

Victor

--
It made an uncomfortable read, and I feel both relieved that it is resolved and sad for those who might have loved our anti-hero.



Author of Queer Me! Halfway Between Flying and Crying - the true story of life for a gay boy in the Swinging Sixties in a British all male Public School
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