Reviewer Michelle Kaye Malsbury:
Michelle was born in Champaign, IL. Currently, she resides in Asheville, NC
and is in her second year of doctoral studies at Nova Southeastern
University in Ft. Lauderdale with specialization/concentration in
conflict resolution and peace studies. She has over six hundred
articles published on the web and one book published thus far with
many more in the wings. Hobbies include; reading, writing, music, and
playing with her Australian Cattle Dog, Abu.
Publisher: Prospecta Press
Tony Cointreau’s book begins in France where is his father is from and his family legacy began. It takes twists and turns through WWI and WWII and ends up with his mother believing her husband is dead, fleeing Europe, and living in New York City. Tony and his brother were afforded every luxury, but what both young men needed most was the love of their parents. Neither would get it. The elder Cointreau was rebellious and abusive, especially to Tony. Tony always tried to be the perfect son, which was in the image of his mother whom he worshiped.
When the family learned that the father was not dead the father also came to America and sought out American citizenship. Because of their extreme wealth, especially during a time when many had nothing or had lost what they had, they were able to mix and mingle with the top people wherever they went. This life of privilege brought them in contact with some of the most influential stars of that era.
One of the first women that Tony admired was Lee Lehman of Lehman Brothers fame and fortune. She was glamorous and loving. She filled a void that Tony’s mother did not. However, she was a troubled woman who tried many times to commit suicide. Her daughter became one of Tony’s first loves, but she realized that he was not right for her because he was pretending to be someone he was not, a heterosexual.
Tony struggles with his sexuality during a time when gays where shunned and AIDs came into full bloom. There was great terror and uncertainty at the transmission of this lethal disease and Tony walked strong where others would certainly have failed. He tries fervently to come to grips with who he really is and wants to be. He enjoys the companionship of lovely and talented women, but eventually finds his mate Jim and his life finally becomes fulfilling.
The book relates stories from some of the special people whom Tony came into contact with and his evolutionary relationships with them. Frank Sinatra, Ethel Merman, Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland, and more are not just characters in this book, but Tony’s friends and cohorts. There are touching descriptions of how lonely and alone he felt before all of these people came into his life and how each of them made him a better person.
This book is about coming of age and coming out of the closet and the feelings associated with this dilemma. Tony was confused, confounded, and eventually awakened. For anyone in the gay community it is a must read!