The author of New York Times bestseller Philistines at the Hedgerow, Steven Gaines, has written a funny and touching memoir of a young boy's coming of age in a Manhattan psychiatric clinic, described as a hybrid of Running with Scissors and Girl Interrupted.
In March of 1962, the author, who was fifteen-years old, managed to "escape the hawk-eyed scrutiny" of three saleswomen in whose care he'd been left, went to the back of his grandfather's store, punched the glass pane out of a window and sawed his wrists and forearms on the shards of glass remaining in the frame. Narrowly avoiding death, he was hospitalized and, on the brink of being committed to a state hospital, begged his grandfather to bankroll a stay at the exclusive, private posh Payne Whitney located on Manhattan's upper eastside. With self-confessed delusions of grandeur, Gaines, as a patient, comes to understand that his homosexuality is the underlying cause of his suicide attempt. While he undertakes conversion therapy with a young psychiatrist, he becomes the willing apprentice of various celebrities who are also patients at the hospital. With a rare mix of poignancy and humour, Gaines shows an uncanny ability to conjure up a rollicking narrative woven with great moments of insight, separating himself from other memoirists by his sheer ability to tell a story.
|Title||:||One of These Things First|
|Number of Pages||:||272 pages|