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Out East by John Glynn

Thank you to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for providing this eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Trigger Warning: This novel and review discuss the following: LGBTQ, sex, partying, drinking, drugs, depression.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars

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.

Expected Publication Date: May 14, 2019

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

TL/DR: Out East by John Glynn is a memoir about a man’s summer in Montauk, and the year he came to terms about his sexuality and identity.

Read it? Yes, especially if you are looking for a diverse summer read.

Recommend it? Yes, to fans of memoirs and LBGTQ friendly books.

Buy it? I personally wouldn’t buy a copy of this book. Though I found Glynn’s novel relatable in general ways, I don’t think I’d reread or flag up for reference. However, if his story reflects your own, you may want your own copy- and the cover is shelf-worthy.

If you liked this novel or review, check out these similar reads:

  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
  • Southernmost by Silas House
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Categories: Book Review, Memoirs, Nonfiction

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 replies

  1. I am almost finished with the book. It’s a quick, superficial read. I know Montauk extremely well, having first gone there in the late 70s and continuing in the late 90s. I probably would not recognize it today. This book is written by an entitled twerp who lives in the West Village thanks to Daddy’s money. He has a job as an assistant editor in the dying field that is book publishing. As a result, he probably does not make anywhere near the salary he would need to finance summers in Montauk, except for a minuscule inheritance from a grandmother with some WASPY nickname. His friends are pretty much all entitled boors, like himself, and from the sound of it, are all borderline alcoholics who are deeply in love with — themselves. There is a lot of name dropping of brands, like swimming trunks that coast 300 dollars a pair, and, again, lots of drinking and superficial conversation that gets incredibly tedious to read. Sometime there is a mention of mildly interesting people, such as CFA who is 25 and supposedly give financial presentation in Vegas in her bikini. I did not believe this to be real for a moment, but as I said, it relieved the boredom of reading about a group of incredibly shallow individuals who seem to think that life is about pregaming (a term I had never heard of till I read this book), casual sex with strangers, drugs, and boozing all weekend while dancing at places like the Memory Motel. I have been to the Mem Hotel. It’s a complete dump, or at last was for over 20 years. Nowhere in this book does the author seem to show any recognition of the forcibly disappeared Montauket Native Americans (except for a passing mention of the Stephen Talkhouse venue, name after a 19th century Native america whose history the author is oblivious to) and how English settlers in the 1600s (one of whom was one my wife’s ancestors) in East Hampton willfully destroyed a vibrant North American Indian culture on Long Island in order to steal their land. Instead, we get the diary entries of some frou frou guy whose message about gayness seems to be that — for him at least — it’s about acting like some giddy 14 year old schoolgirl with a crush. It was embarrassing to read, for his sake, and frankly I felt sorry for the guy, or whatever it is that he think s he is sexually. By now he has probably outgrown this unbelievably immature (for his age) phase, and he is still probably young enough to embark on a career that may actually allow him to continue living in Manhattan after Daddy kicks the bucket.

    • Wow. Personally, I believe a memoir is whatever the author wants to share with their audience. What may be ‘diary entries from a frou frou guy’ to one person may be someone else’s display of vulnerability. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I’m sorry Out East wasn’t up to your standards. However, and you may not realize, but in the book blogger world, we try not to tear apart and personally attack the authors or the publishers who support us.
      Respectfully, I’d appreciate it if you took your negativity elsewhere.

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