The Boy With the Thorn in His Side

The Boy With the Thorn in His Side This very moving memoir tells the story of a dramatic adolescence Sixteen year old Keith Fleming s life is literally saved when his young uncle Ed the writer Edmund White impulsively agrees to adopt

  • Title: The Boy With the Thorn in His Side
  • Author: Keith Fleming
  • ISBN: 9780688168391
  • Page: 254
  • Format: Hardcover
  • This very moving memoir tells the story of a dramatic adolescence Sixteen year old Keith Fleming s life is literally saved when his young uncle Ed, the writer Edmund White, impulsively agrees to adopt him.Installed in the maid s room of his uncle s busy apartment on Manhattan s Upper West Side where the phone never stops ringing, Keith soon finds himself transformed asThis very moving memoir tells the story of a dramatic adolescence Sixteen year old Keith Fleming s life is literally saved when his young uncle Ed, the writer Edmund White, impulsively agrees to adopt him.Installed in the maid s room of his uncle s busy apartment on Manhattan s Upper West Side where the phone never stops ringing, Keith soon finds himself transformed as Uncle Ed whirls into action arranging treatment for Keith s disfiguring acne enrolling him in prep school despite huge gaps in Keith s academic record caused by time spent in mental hospitals and a hippie free school and instructing his nephew in a worldly view of life and love an early assignment reading Lolita and Lord Chesterfield s Letters to His Son.Five months later Uncle Ed, who is both strapped for cash as well as completely caught up in the beehive of social and sexual activity of 1970s gay Manhattan, must decide if he can afford to adopt another child Keith s fourteen year old Mexican girlfriend, the beautiful Laura, who has just run away from her convent school.Though Keith s new life in New York forms the heart of the story, this powerful, entertaining memoir begins by tracing how young Keith evolves from being a member of a seemingly ordinary suburban family into a teen so miserably defiant that he is put in the hands of a tyrannical psychiatrist Here, on a locked adolescent psychiatric ward, Keith meets the bewitching Laura The two teens begin a passionate love affair only to be separated and placed in different hospitals.By turns lyrical, funny, and poignant, and always informed by touching candor, The Boy with the Thorn in His Side is full of fascinating characters and unexpected twists at once an odyssey into the extremes of the American 1970s, a universal tale of star crossed teenage love, and an account of a deeply sensitive young person s struggle to find his place in the world It marks the debut of a poised and compelling writer.Keith Fleming had been a pretty ordinary Midwestern kid Little League, Boy Scouts but the year he turns twelve, his family is torn apart by divorce when he learns that his mother and his Uncle Ed are both gay By the time Keith is fifteen he has become disfigured by severe acne and is so wild that his father and stepmother place him in a draconian adolescent mental institution Here he meets Laura, a pretty Mexican girl with whom he begins a passionate love affair.Keith s mother finally demands his release after a series of hospitalizations and sends him off to live with his uncle, Edmund White, in New York Keith is soon transformed by his young uncle He is sent to a dermatologist, to Barneys Boy s Town for new clothes, and to prep school He receives a broad cultural education from Uncle Ed at home all this despite Ed s being poor as well as completely caught up in the beehive of social and sexual activity of 1970s gay Manhattan In the tradition of This Boy s Life and Girl, Interrupted, The Boy with a Thorn in His Side is a beautifully rendered saga of a deeply sensitive and alienated teen struggling to find his place in the world and at the same time a very modern tale of teenage love and a young person s touching and complicated bond with an unlikely hero.

    One thought on “The Boy With the Thorn in His Side”

    1. I enjoyed this book even more than the one I read earlier this year that was written by its star "character," Edmund White. Though not as fancy with words, Mr. Fleming does a great job giving the reader a clear visual of how he saw the world. It does a really good job peering into adolescent isolation, which is something I'd forgotten a lot about, and made me glad for the parents I had back then, as rocky as that relationship had been.

    2. Handed to me by my little brother who convinced me that the author was related to famed James Bond creator, Ian Fleming, (he isn't!), I read this book with very little expectations. However, after the first ten pages, I was hooked. Keith re-hashes his incredible life story with compelling words that made me not want to put down this book. A touching autobiography that takes its reader through the thoughts of Keith as a teenager, this book has everything it needs to be classified as a great read. [...]

    3. I have a habit of wandering around the nonfiction aisle if our local library and checking out random memoirs that managed to catch my interest. Keith Fleming'sThe Boy with the Thorn in His Side was one of this memoirs and I cannot emphasize enough how glad I am I stumbled upon this rare gem. It followed the crazy roller coaster ride that is Fleming's adolescent life, and every page of the book is a wild loop that one simply cannot get enough of. This was indeed a thrilling ride from start to fin [...]

    4. How did an otherwise unknown young writer named Keith Fleming come out of nowhere to get his memoir published by a major publisher (William Morrow) back in 2000? Well, it really helped that Fleming’s uncle is noted author Edmund White, and even moreso that Fleming lived with White for a time during his quite turbulent adolescence in fast and easy mid-1970’s gay New York. Fleming is no Ed White but he’s a skilled and engaging writer nonetheless, and his book is a quick, entertaining diversi [...]

    5. Found this book donated to my bookshelf, by whom I'm not sure. So glad I read it. The author is the nephew of writer Edmund White, with whose work I am not (yet) familiar. It is a coming of age memoir written in 2000 by a young boy whose adolescence was notable for not being loved by anyone, including himself. Dumped by his father in an inpatient psychiatric unit, (a cheap stay if you have insurance), he meets the sadistic Dr. Schwartz and spirals deeper into depression. Aided by his mother, he [...]

    6. Honestly, I was drawn to the Smiths' title of this memoir and was awarded the bonus surprise of this being about the nephew of Edmund White. While being pulled between divorced parents whose lifestyles did not include Keith, he accepts the invitation from Uncle Ed to live with him in NYC via the Chicago suburbs. Finally escaping the bughouse, Keith must adapt his academic and social life to mold into his new NY digs. All in all, this memoir was less about Keith and more about furthering the read [...]

    7. I found it disturbing to see how easy it was in the 1970's to put a child into mental institution for simply being a non-compliant teenager. Fleming's tale of his father's negligence and his uncle's giving spirit made this an interesting read. His uncle, Edmund White, is a writer, and after reading this memoir, I would love to read his novels.

    8. Ah, adolescence. More people would survive it intact if they had an Uncle Ed to take them in when everything gets to be too much. Those who didn't have a golden youth (this includes me) will be able to identify with many of Keith's experiences. Not an all-loose-ends-tied-neatly feel-good book, but full of hope anyway.

    9. This is a solid memoir, but (perhaps unfairly) one cannot help compare Fleming's book about his childhood and his relationship with his uncle, the brilliant Edmund white; he is not nearly the caliber writer his uncle is.

    10. someone once said this was a "best friend of a book," and as oblique as that sounds, I'd have to agree. It's like someone confiding in you when they're at their lowest low, but you still love them.i'd read it again if i had a copy lying around.

    11. This is one of the first books that i ever read, after this book i fell in love with reading, It helped me understand the world better looking at it through somebody else's eyes.

    12. One of the more engrossing books I've read in a few years. In less than 200pp the author tells the story of a good chunk of his childhood honestly and vividly. Recommended for kids of all ages!

    13. Interesting memoir from Ed White's nephew. Show Mr. White as a very kind man helping his nephew through a very difficult adolesence

    14. I have read some of Edmund White's book. I stumbled upon this book at Savers or Goodwill. It's a good read. The book interesting so far.

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