Thursday, February 3, 2011

Book Review: Baby Doll by Mykola Dementiuk

Reviewed by Alan Chin
Published by Synergy Press
Pages: 56

A fourteen-year-old boy growing up in New York City discovers that, after a flirtation with a middle-aged woman, his sexual longings are surging and beginning to consume his life. He soon meets a man in a public restroom at the East River Park, and they have sex.

A few days later, after the boy has tried everything to find this man again, the boy ends up following another man home. This new man introduces the boy to cross-dressing, and also to unprotected sex. As the boy returns to the man’s apartment daily, his appetite for cross-dressing blossoms into something utterly consuming, something more enthralling than sex with this dumpy, older man.

Just when it looks like they will fall into a younger/older relationship that will continue on, the older man pushes the relationship in a different, darker direction.

This tale delves far deeper than an adolescent’s sexual experimentation with cross-dressing and sex. It peels back the layers of a brash teenager as he discovers new wonders about the world of sex and about himself. The reader feels his desires and yearning to be pretty, to be wanted and admired; feels the thrill of slipping on sexy silk undies, and walking in heels; and also feels the pain of an abusive relationship as payment for the prospect of continuing to dress up. The author has done a splendid job of getting into a boy’s head and making the reader live his life.

The story is sensual, and perhaps heartbreaking. It has dark underpinnings as well as the joys of discovery. It not only delves into cross-dressing, but also cross-generational relationships, and ideas about what’s masculine vs. what’s feminine.

Beneath these characters and themes, is the author’s superb writing that seamlessly presents the story and draws the reader into this seedy world. This is by no means a feel-good story. It hit me in the pit of my stomach, rather like watching a fatal car crash and not being able to turn away. It is a bold and courageous work that I can highly recommend.

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