Rating: 2.5 stars
Buy Link: Amazon
Length: Short Stories
The Centrefold and Other Stories of Working Men begins as a letter from a fan to the author. This fan, Marcello, was a married policeman who was caught stealing a gay porn magazine while investigating a break in. That one event changed his perspective on his own life and set him on a journey to discover himself and openly explore his sexuality.
The three remaining stories describe events in the author’s life that revolve around his own fantasies involving several working men. The author describes his fantasies about a garbage collector he spots while people-watching on Saint Valentine’s Day. He tells a story of a fire fighter he sees while on vacation, who also saved him from a fire. And he remembers a brief one-off with a stranger he spotted in the market.
The Centrefold and Other Stories of Working Men is a collection of four stories that read more like blog entries than an actual story. Whether true or not, the stories described the fantasies of a man over a span of several years of his life. To me, some of the wording in the book felt a little clinical, especially when describing sexual acts. Whereas, the stories were interesting and showed that the author did not lead a boring life, I’m not sure I would say that they were “book-worthy.” I could see each of these stories actually posted on a blog, but as a book it fell flat.
I do like that the stories involved normal men. The characters were all men who worked ordinary jobs. Both the garbage collector and the fireman were simply objects of fantasy for the author and may very well have been straight men, for all I know. Still it was refreshing to see a main character dreaming about the average working man.
There were a few disturbing details in the story that I tried to get past, but couldn’t. Within the letter in the first story, Marcello describes watching his son masturbate in terms that made me a little uncomfortable. And in another story, it describes the author listening to a man masturbate in a bathroom stall and then entering that stall after the occupant left, finding the leftover ejaculate, then tasting it. It could just be the difference between American and European cultures. I don’t consider my sensibilities to be terribly delicate but both of these events caused me to cringe a little.
All in all, the book itself didn’t work for me. I still feel the separate stories would have been more effective as blog posts.