Two adult gay men reckon with being part of the community now that's out and proud and more accepted in modern culture—with vastly different results. With a sharp focus on the generation of cis white men who grew up with the fear and the secrecy and never expected to be thrust into the mainstream, this was an interesting and thought provoking read.
Plot/Pacing: ★★★★ 1/2
Character development: ★★★★
Scope: This was focused on cis white gay men and their experiences
Sebastian and Oscar grew up as friends. Both gay, cis, and white, they experienced several early moments together and were relatively close. But as adults, they drifted apart.
In Let's Get Back to the Party, author Zak Salih invites us to tag along with Sebastian and Oscar as they go their separate ways in adulthood. While they started out with similar childhoods and share a gay cultural identity, the two have manifested those experiences very differently as adults.
Sebastian looks at the modern world around him in awe. A teacher, he finds himself increasingly obsessed with one of his young male students. The student has been out and proud for years, has a boyfriend, and has enjoyed being a gay man in modern America. Grappling with his odd place as being too old for that type of generational freedom of expression, Sebastian watches it unfold in the younger generation and muses on the pasts and futures of the gay community.
Oscar looks at the modern gay experience with more negative feelings. Seeing the assimilation of the community into the straight culture—and the number of gay men doing the "straight" thing and getting married and settling down—he sees the lifestyle that the community carved for themselves disappearing before his eyes. He becomes obsessed with the past, and fixates on a famous gay author's past works instead.
A deep dive into the complicated intricacies of generational loss and growth, Let's Get Back to the Party is a read that is hard to forget.
I really enjoyed the messy and complicated truths that the author presented for us in the archetypes of Sebastian and Oscar. While it's true that both of their experiences reflected the white, cis male gay experience and do not speak to the intersectionality at play in other conversations, this was still an intimate portrait of how modern times have fundamentally changed that community for better and for different. Really appreciated the read.
Thank you to Algonquin Books for my copy in exchange for an honest review.
Amy Imogene Reads
Just someone looking for her own door into Wonderland.