Series: Gay Youth Chronicles, book #1
Author: Mark A. Roeder
Publisher: iUniverse, Inc. (June 8th, 2005)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts ~ loved it
Blurb: Outfield Menace is the tale of Kurt, a fifteen-year-old baseball player, living in a small, 1950s, Indiana town. During a confrontation with Angel, the resident bad boy of Blackford High School, Kurt attacks Angel, earning the wrath of the most dangerous gang in town. When Angel finally corners Kurt, however, something happens that Kurt wouldn’t have imagined in his wildest dreams. As the murder of a local boy is uncovered, suspicion is cast upon Angel, but Kurt has learned there’s more to Angel than his bad boy image. Angel has a secret, however, that could get both Kurt and himself killed. Outfield Menace is a story of friendship, love, adventure, and perilous danger.
Review: Outfield Menace is a story set in the 1950’s, following Kurt, a fifteen year old boy whose interests are different from those of other boys his age. That doesn’t seem to be an issue for him, until he sees Angel at the school dance and his whole perspectives change. One thing is certain and clear for him, Angel is beautiful. The moment he realizes his attraction to Angel, to a boy, Kurt is devastated. His mind is in turmoil and when Angel tries to talk to him, his instant reaction is to punch him. That did it. Angel is part of the baseball varsity team, or more accurately, he’s part of Adam’s gang. Life dramatically changes for Kurt; his mind is attacking him from the inside while Adam and Angel are trying to get him from the outside.
This story is narrated from Kurt’s point of view. We see as the author gives full credit to his teenage protagonist, emotions are exaggerated in the unique way teenagers see the word. Drama heightens while the story goes on.
Kurt experiences terror that is multiplied even more in his own head and when everything seem to him doomed, life take another turn and happiness awaits him in the corner. When Angel finally gets to him, Kurt is in it for a big surprise. Angel’s feelings match his own, what’s more Angel makes him see that being homosexual is not a disease, and it’s not wrong or perverted. After all, how can love be wrong?
From sheer terror to ecstatic elation I fully experienced an emotional travel back in time, to my own teen days. The insecurity, the twisting of facts and the emotional charge that are so characteristic in a teenagers mind were not lost in this book. The way we fall in love and dramatize everything about it, the emotional attachment that is so pure in those early days is completely palpable in Outfield Menace.
This book is very intense and the plot twists and changes in every corner. I loved Kurt’s character, his naivety and sheltered life, his sensitivity and guilt that follow him around like his own shadow. But I loved Angel’s character even more. I’m not sure how realistic his approach was, he seemed very intellectual for his age, no matter, I totally adored him. His love for Kurt was amazing, so very beautiful and romantic and his final deed to prove that love nearly broke my heart.
I found Outfield Menace to be a great book; if it wasn’t for the constant repetition of some things I’d be even greater. At some point I found that repetition quite a bit tiresome, however the story, the plot, and the characters make up for it. This is a must read book in my opinion, totally worth it.