Tag Archives: coming out

Adrian and the Tree of Secrets – Story by Hubert & Illustrations by Marie Caillou

Title: Adrian and the Tree of Secrets
Story by Hubert
Illustrations by Marie Caillou
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press
ISBN: 978-1551525563
Genre: Graphic Novel
Pages: 128
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5 Stars

This book is for anyone who has had a problem fitting in while growing up. When you know that you aren’t like what most people are and yet cannot tell a soul. I love coming of age books and more so when they are in the graphic more and especially more so if it is about being gay and coming out as well – more to yourself than anyone else and “Adrian and the Tree of Secrets” is just the kind of book that you need if you are struggling with it. It is the perfect graphic novel for teenagers struggling with their sexuality or even not – maybe they just will come to know who they really are.

Adrian’s experiences as a teen gay boy are universal. We have all gone through it – been that road – not only for LGBT teens but also the straight ones – to know oneself and to make peace with it is not easy – no matter what your orientation. There is also the angle of bullying at school and how Adrian meets someone special and what happens thereon. At the same time there is Adrian’s mom who is a devout Catholic – you get the drift, don’t you? Well, this in short is the plot of the graphic novel.

The story by Hubert and the illustrations by Marie Caillou go superbly hand in hand. The graphic panels are sparse and minimal and that lends to the story in more ways than one. I will not talk about the ending or else I would be spoiling it for you. The story is touching, will touch a nerve and I hope will make you see the LGBTQ community differently, because at the end of the day we are all the same kind of people looking for the one true thing: love.

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An Interview with Eddie Sarfaty

Ok folks, here you go, An interview with Eddie Sarfaty, author of Mental. I got this via email. Enjoy!

I could not stop laughing when I read the party balloons incident. Is there anything funnier than that which you would like to share?

Well, actually, no.   The balloon incident was pretty much the funniest – and most bizarre – experience I had while meeting guys online.  If there had been anything funnier, believe me it would have been in the story.

Tell me something, have you ever been attracted to a straight man and if yes then how did you deal with it, considering that he was not up for or rather up to it?

Of course I’ve been attracted to straight men – that is to say that there are straight men I’ve found attractive – but I’d never pursue anyone unless I knew that they were gay.  Why would I bother?  What would come of it, other than making them feel uncomfortable and making me frustrated? I’m currently in a relationship, but if I weren’t, there are plenty of gay guys out there who are handsome and smart and funny.  There’d be no need to waste my time barking up the wrong tree.

I like the candor with which you speak about your sex life. It is not only refreshing but also makes me think about mine. So is this how you also are on stage?

Everyone has sex – or at least thinks about it a good amount of the time – so, it always strikes me as ridiculous when people feel like it’s something you’re not supposed to talk about.   One of the things I appreciate most about being gay is the atmosphere of sexual frankness.   As a stand-up comic, part of connecting with the audience is talking honestly about stuff that they can identify with.  Sex, the concerns surrounding it, and the attitudes of society about it, are issues everyone can relate to. 

How does the so-called straight audience handle the gay gags and jokes when you are up there on stage?

I think that “straight” audiences are generally appreciative of the honesty – and the comedy.  My humor is smart and I’m not just talking about sex to shock people.  Plus, it’s not the focus of my act, just part of it.  It also helps that I’m always quick to laugh at myself as well as others.  Sure there might be some folks who are prudish and uncomfortable hearing about sex, but you can’t please everyone, and besides, if we didn’t talk about things just because some people might take offense, we’d never talk about anything!

 Besides the title being so self explanatory, what makes you blue?

What makes me blue?  Well aside from the obvious – sickness, death, global warming – I find the autumn and winter hard. I definitely suffer from seasonal affective disorder.  Plus, I’ve had bouts of depression since I was a kid.  Sometimes the chemicals in my brain just get out of whack.

I loved the first chapter of the book. I think that’s my favourite by far. May be because when I came out to my family, I did not get the support I expected. Was that ever a concern with you?

I wasn’t 100% sure how my family would react – homosexuality wasn’t really something that was ever discussed at length – why would it be?  I do recall one time when I was a kid and there was something about gay people on the news, and my mom remarked how sad it was.  That stayed with me for a long time.  But that was decades ago, before people were exposed to all of the information that’s available now.  My family has been extremely supportive right from the beginning.  I’m very lucky.

One moment that is ingrained in your memory about someone you love/d.

Well unfortunately the moments that are the most deeply embedded in my memory aren’t from happy occasions.  There were a lot of tragedies in my family when I was growing up, and there are faces full of grief that I saw as a child that are still crystal clear.  The upside to that is that I – and the rest of my family – have developed a very strong sense of humor.  Humor’s helped me get through some awfully difficult times.  You can’t control so much in your life, and In the end, there’s often nothing you can do but laugh.

Mental by Eddie Sarfaty

Hmmm…So once in a while there is a book which you can truly relate to and that happened to be “Mental” for me this year. I have loved it and yes I cannot stop raving about it. Why you ask? Let me tell you why and this review will be different. It will be in points. Come along with me then!

  • Mental is not preachy at all. It does not judge nor does it take sides – both straight or gay. It is funny and in-your-face and I love it.
  • Mental is about experiences of a gay man who is coming to terms with a lot of things and it is spiced with humour and lots of wit. Hats off to you Eddie! Keep writing.
  • Eddie is a natural writer. The thoroughly engaging Mental far exceeded my expectations for a book written by a funnyman, being not only funny but solidly well-written. Describing his mother’s plan for a European trip, he captures the wistfulness and homeliness of family life in one sentence: She slips the faded travel brochures out of the fruit bowl on the sideboard where they’ve been cushioning the bananas for the last six years.
  • While Mental is funny, it also has a heart. The Eton-Club chapter and not to forget the first chapter of his coming out contains a good measure of hard-won sentiment.
  • Mental made me realize a lot of things about myself as a gay man and I was surprised. Thank you Eddie.

There is only one thing I have to say to Eddie: Keep writing.