Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Book Review: One Gay American

Title of Book: One Gay American
Author: Dennis Milam Bensie
Publisher: CoffeeTown Press
ISBN-10: 1603811532
ISBN-13: 978-1603811538
Price $13.95
Publication Date: September 2012
Genre of Book: Memoir

About the Book:  Dennis Milam Bensie is One Gay American. Born in the 1960s and raised with traditional values in Robinson, Illinois, Bensie desperately wanted romance, a beautiful wedding, and a baby to carry on the family name. He denied his sexuality and married a woman at nineteen years old, but fantasized of weddings where he could be the bride. The newlyweds "adopted" a Cabbage Patch Doll and ironically witnessed a Cabbage Patch Doll wedding (a successful fundraiser staged by a local women's club) where the dolls were granted the type of grand ceremony off-limits to gay couples.
In search of his identity as a gay man, Bensie divorced his wife and stumbled through missteps and lessons that still sting his generation: defending against bullies, "disappointing" his parents, and looking for love in gay bars, bath houses and restrooms. He helped his straight friends plan their dream weddings and mourned his gay friends dying of AIDS.
Although true love has not yet come his way, Bensie has learned to love himself. Bensie is the author of the much-lauded memoir, Shorn: Toys to Men, which recounts his battle with paraphilia. One Gay American tells the rest of his story and draws parallels to gay history, decade by decade, with newspaper headlines and quotations. Bensie is the gay neighbor that you either love or hate. Either way, he's got a lot to say and says it with no apologies.


Overall Thoughts:
We loved this memoir with its straight forward, yet edgy verbiage. Dennis doesn’t hold anything back when sharing about his life growing up in as he put it…An America Coming Out. All of us here at WOI were also growing up as kids or teens during those years and remember many of the headlines shared at the beginning of each chapter.
What is interesting is how much America has changed and how much it hasn’t on some topics within the LGBT communities. Since the release of One Gay American, we have all seen some new leaps toward marriage for the Gay community and more open conversation about untraditional families. Dennis’ book is timely and also hits not only on growing up Gay, but also makes us all realize we each have our struggles, dreams and successes in life. Dennis helps open our eyes to loving ourselves and in doing so and accepting we are all different, yet alike, we can learn to love each other for who we all are.

About the Author: 
Dennis Milam Bensie grew up in Robinson, Illinois where his interest in the arts began in high school participating in various community theatre productions. Bensie’s first book,  Shorn: Toys to Men was nominated for the Stonewall Book Award, sponsored by the American Library Association. It was also a pick in the International gay magazine The Advocate as “One of the Best Overlooked Books of 2011″. The author’s short stories have been published by Bay Laurel, Everyday Fiction, and This Zine Will Change Your Lifeand he has also been a feature contributor for The Good Men Project. One Gay American is his second book with Coffeetown Press and it was chosen as a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the Indie Excellence Book Awards. He was a presenter at the 2013 Saints and Sinners Literary Festival in New Orleans. Dennis lives in Seattle with his three dogs.

You can find out more about Dennis Milam Bensie, his memoirs and World of Ink Author/Book Tour at

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1 comment:

  1. Coming out on the heels of Gay Pride week, this book is certainly timely.