Thank you to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for providing this eARC in exchange for an honest review.
While perusing NetGalley, the cover of Out East caught my attention, and I decided to look into the book. After reading the description- a memoir of the author’s summertime in Montauk- I thought it sounded like it would be a fun pick-me-up style read. I’ve been reading some heavier novels and thought this sounded perfect.
As I read, the author shared about how he came upon the opportunity to live in The Hive, a sharehouse filled with somewhere between 20 and 30 people each weekend. The group was lead by house leaders who controlled the property and finance deals, and all John had to do was come up with the money to reserve his place- in which, like a sign, he did. From there, he becomes part of this party group, which was also collectively called the Hive. If you’re my age, think Jersey Shore but on Long Island, with more people, money, and a tad more class… or as John’s friends called it, summer camp for adults. Although there was always a good time to be had over the weekend at the Hive, John still felt a little on the outside and alone.
Dealing with a lack of relationships and interest in the girls of his circle, he thought maybe things would be different in Montauk. However, he finds himself wrestling inner turmoil about his friendship with a guy named Matt. There were strange emotions that John couldn’t understand that came to the surface when he was with Matt, and often, when he wasn’t. Taking the course of the summer to explore his feelings, John finds that he is capable of not being alone in the world, if he’s honest and true to himself first.
Though this memoir is mostly about the author’s personal journey to acceptance of his sexual and personal identity, there is also a lot of relatable experiences with love, making friendships, finding acceptance, and stepping outside of comfort zones. I find myself relating with not only the author, but many of the other people in his memoir that expressed universal emotions such as self esteem, work stress, and the desire to lose yourself in a good time.
Though there was a lot of emotional reflection, there were also plenty of observations and relaying of conversations that not only made me laugh, but made me feel like I was part of the group party. I’ve highlighted many sections that I wish I could share (and maybe I will in the future), but the gist is that this group overall sounded like the fun-loving people that I would want to surround myself with (or have). They look out for each other, support and celebrate during important moments, and have each other’s back. Even for recent additions such as John, those in the Hive accepted him as if he had always been a part of the group.
Overall, I would definitely recommend Out East, and especially to those who are interested in LGBTQ novels, wrestling with their personal identity, or who just need to escape into the Montauk life.