LITERATURE

Man of the Year

Flatiron: Macmillan. May 2017. 320p. photos. ISBN 9781250123961. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250123978. MEMOIR
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On the surface, this book has all the trappings of a gonzo memoir—Playgirl magazine, porn stars, a flamboyantly gay tenant. Yet, Cove's debut offers a profound narrative of one family's undoing. Handsome and confident Howie Gordon, a college friend of the author's father, comes to visit the Coves in the fall of 1978. He's intent on a showbiz career, and his first goal is to win Playgirl's Man of the Year Award. Howie's carefree and genuine personality contrasts sharply with that of Cove's father. But as a 12-year-old, the author takes immediately to Howie and they become pals. Cove's mother also appreciates Howie's attention. The writing here builds just enough suspense and adds detail to detail to keep readers intrigued and engaged. The memoirist's handling of the many characters and characterization in general is also to be noted.
VERDICT A very fine family memoir that proves, in a variety of ways, that things are not always what they seem.

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