Joseph Chapman: My Molly Life – James Lovejoy (Independently Published)

A read for all seasons…

Out in Print: Queer Book Reviews

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James Lovejoy’s début novel is an impressively researched, charming story about a young man coming of age in 18th century London. As a portrait of lower-class strife, the story has the feel of a Dickensian tale with added subject matter on how gay men might have lived centuries before homosexuality was decriminalized.

Joseph narrates his own story, and he gets off to a compelling start with a childhood that sounds as sordid to the reader as it seems quite normal to the narrator. His father was a “waterman,” ferrying passengers on the Thames, an occupation that afforded their family of five plus a grandmother a two-room flat in a crowded renthouse.

A fever made worse by the misguided medical treatment of the time takes his father’s life. In a delightfully curious turn, his mother re-enters the boxing stage to make ends meet. Women’s boxing was in fact…

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