Out in Print
âGot til itâs Goneâ by Larry Duplechan
c.2008, Arsenal Pulp Press $17.95 U.S. and Canada 207 pages
It starts around 45.
First, you notice that you need glasses. Then, you donât remember things quite like you once did. You get up one morning, and everything creaks from head to toe. Pretty soon, your bathroom cabinet has sprouted a garden of bottles, each one staving off or tamping down some symptom that wasnât there before.
Youâre falling apart. Youâre suddenly eligible for a Senior Discount. Face it, youâre no spring chicken anymore, and in the book âGot âtil itâs Goneâ by Larry Duplechan, Johnnie Ray Rousseau is feeling it, too.
Staring straight down the middle of middle age, Johnnie Ray Rousseau knows things could be worse. Although many of his friends have died of AIDS or diseases of living, Johnnie Ray is in shape, strong, and healthy. Heâs also avoided becoming an Auntie, which he fears is his destiny as a going-on-older gay man. And slowly, though itâs been fifteen years since Johnnie Rayâs husband, Keith, died, Johnnie Rayâs just beginning to believe in having something more than a friends-with-benefits relationship.
He wasnât prepared to get caught in The world-wide Web.
Joeâs profile on dudes.com was yummy, but Joe in-person was even better. Seventeen years younger than Johnnie Ray, Joe was caramel-colored and baby-faced with a pin-upâs body, literally: he was a centerfold model once, a porn star, and a call-boy. Heâd had dozens of men in his short lifetime, and because of that, he was HIV-positive. But Johnnie Ray knew that people could live for years with a diagnosis. He let himself fall in love, hard.
And life would be good, if it werenât for what was happening back home. Clara, Johnnie Rayâs mother, was dying. She had a brain tumor, and although she asked Johnnie Ray to lay his hands on her (healing she believed in, and that Johnnie Ray wasnât sure about), the tumor grew and shrank and grew again, putting the entire family on a Tilt-a-Whirl of emotion.
So how does a man whoâs about to find love prepare for losing his beloved mother? Johnnie Ray isnât sure, but he knows heâs going to have to learn the meaning of âgoodbyeâ real soon.
âGot til itâs Goneâ is the kind of novel that will make you wish Johnnie Ray Rousseau was a flesh-and-blood person so you could find him and spend an evening in his company, such is author Larry Duplechanâs deftness with fiction. Itâs the kind of novel that will have you calling your friends so you can read bits of it over the phone. Itâs the kind of novel that will make you laugh at the top of the page and blink tears away at the bottom.
From the hint of a tease cover to the why-didnât-I-see-that ending, this book is a wonderful mix of character and unforced, conversationally-real dialogue, and I loved every page of it.
When itâs time to relax and rest your bones, this is the book youâll want to take with you. âGot til itâs Goneâ will have you gone over the moon.