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Object Of Desire [Hardcover]

William J Mann
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

June 23 2009
Danny Fortunato was the hottest go-go boy in West Hollywood. Determined to make it big as an actor, he was supported by his terrific boyfriend, Frank. But even with so much promise, Danny couldn't escape memories of the childhood he spent traipsing after his mother in her ceaseless quest to find his sister, who had disappeared years before. Fast forward 20 years and Danny is living with Frank in Palm Springs, struggling with a mid-life crisis and about to meet a young man of breathtaking beauty who leads him to confront his choices, his past and the nature of love.

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About the Author

William J. Mann is the critically acclaimed author of Wisecracker: The Life and Times of William Haines, Hollywood's First Openly Gay Star, as well as The Biograph Girl and the novel The Men from the Boys. He is a contributor to Architectural Digest, The Boston Phoenix, and The Advocate.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "You just have to believe you can do it" July 27 2009
Format:Hardcover
A midlife crisis can be problematic, especially for a forty one ex-exotic dancer from West Hollywood who also harbors deep insecurities about his family, his partner and his current place in life. Photographer/illustrator Danny Fortunato is well aware that isn't wearing a thong anymore, but this doesn't stop Danny quivering with an unfocused energy as he battles forces that seem to be annihilating his quiet life, especially that of the night his sister Becky disappeared twenty-seven years before, the night when everything in his world changed and the night Danny came to understand that he would never grow up to be the man he had expected to be. Now living in Palm Springs with his older partner Frank, over the years Danny has worked hard to erase the boy he had left behind in East Hartford Connecticut and the tattered and terrible memories of his family, particularly his mother Peggy as she frantically searches for her daughter while wrapping herself in an extravagant solitude while in turn Danny is forced to tag along with his mother through motorcycle bars and strip clubs, looking for Becky. Peggy had operated on the belief that Becky's return was imminent.

From Danny's childhood in East Harvard to the present, Mann covers Danny in every manifestation, reflecting a man who comes full circle, while standing on the mother side of the divide. Dreams he realizes are not enough to distance himself from the enormity of his failures except of course when he snorted that wonderful magical powder up his nose.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book of Desire July 10 2009
By Frank Berkeley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In the past I've been critical of author William J. Mann. While I've found his prose to be beautifully written, I've found his stories to be weak on plot and short on action. Well, he either listened (ha ha) or figured it out on his own because Object of Desire is beautifully written, has an intriguing plot and is full of action.
Danny Fortunato's sister disappears on his 14th birthday and Danny's life is changed forever. Cleverly, very cleverly, told in flashbacks to three phases of Danny's life, we learn about his painful, yet surprisingly sexy high school years, to his early years in West Hollywood, to his mid-life years with a husband in Palm Springs. Despite the husband, Danny falls in love with the gorgeous Kelly (if you're reading this you already know that Kelly is a he) and it is here where Mann's book takes a wild right turn. At first, I was unwilling to accept it as simply incredulous, but then the quality of the writing took over and I was hooked once again.
This is a terrific story, beautifully written and compellingly readable.
There are a few minor problems. St. Francis Xavier High School in East Hartford, CT (even fictional) would be a Jesuit school and the principal would be a priest, not a brother. Who cares?
You want to read this book. It will be the highlight of your summer. And, Mr. William J. Mann, bring it on!
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "You just have to believe you can do it" July 27 2009
By Walter Hypes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A midlife crisis can be problematic, especially for a forty one ex-exotic dancer from West Hollywood who also harbors deep insecurities about his family, his partner and his current place in life. Photographer/illustrator Danny Fortunato is well aware that isn't wearing a thong anymore, but this doesn't stop Danny quivering with an unfocused energy as he battles forces that seem to be annihilating his quiet life, especially that of the night his sister Becky disappeared twenty-seven years before, the night when everything in his world changed and the night Danny came to understand that he would never grow up to be the man he had expected to be. Now living in Palm Springs with his older partner Frank, over the years Danny has worked hard to erase the boy he had left behind in East Hartford Connecticut and the tattered and terrible memories of his family, particularly his mother Peggy as she frantically searches for her daughter while wrapping herself in an extravagant solitude while in turn Danny is forced to tag along with his mother through motorcycle bars and strip clubs, looking for Becky. Peggy had operated on the belief that Becky's return was imminent.

From Danny's childhood in East Harvard to the present, Mann covers Danny in every manifestation, reflecting a man who comes full circle, while standing on the mother side of the divide. Dreams he realizes are not enough to distance himself from the enormity of his failures except of course when he snorted that wonderful magical powder up his nose. Mann fully embeds us into Danny's life, his journey to West Hollywood where he's determined to become a famous actor but where he ultimately finds a life dancing in sleazy g*y night clubs, dressed only in a thong, up on his box swinging his slender hips to the music, on the hunt for one sexual thrill after another as he and his colleagues snort lines of coke, "believing that someday he'd be somebody."

Danny's rock is his of love of Frank, now married for 20 years, yet the last four have been a string of silent nights. All this changes on his birthday, when Danny lays eyes on a bartender while drinking one night, the man moving with a determined concentration, his hair almost black, his cheeks covered with carefully clipped dark whispers. Hoping for a chance to speak to him and to peer into his eyes, Danny can no longer deny how hungry he really is. An artist, Kelly, seemed at first to be the personification of innocent youth and Danny is on fire for him to take his staid, stale routine and turn it around, even stand it on its head. Ostensibly meeting to look at his sketches, Kelly's face "stops Danny's breath, his eyes making his heart freeze." Danny realizes that he wants to change Kelly's life, and jumpstart his future for him.

It is Kelly who ultimately challenges Danny in a way that causes him to question his life with Frank, his personal priorities and unquestioning acceptance of the steps that have bought him to this time and place. For the first time in years, through his eyes, Danny realizes his life crisis, aching for the world of sex, for love for life, and the savoring of the necessary fiction of youth. The novel is essentially about a man who comes full circle where the dreams he realizes are not enough to distance himself from the enormity of his failures. Although Danny's present day dilemmas give Object of Desire a feel of immediacy, it is the author's depiction of Danny's past that fuel much of the emotion, that of Danny's furtive attraction to Becky's boyfriend Chipper Paguni and the realization that Peggy never liked his influence on her daughter, and also that of Danny's high school affair with the flame-haired Troy, and the inevitable collapse of his family into drunkenness and failure. Danny remains haunted by the fact that he's never told his mother what he had seen the morning of Becky's disappearance. He knew that Becky was never coming back and that for the rest of his life, he would carry the blame. Although Mann portrays an array of eccentric, believable and multi-faceted characters, that complement Danny's life in both the present and the past, I'm not sure I like Danny's world, from his kind-hearted friends to the phony Palm Springs society elite, who seem content to bleed and then lead-on the like of Danny and his ilk. The novel is often over-written, each melodramatic incident piled on top of the other and in the end Danny himself remains a rather vacuous, painfully pathetic character even as he struggles to find a voice, to reconcile his past and to ultimately remain desirable. Mike Leonard July 09.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars God bless America April 15 2013
By Justme - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Only here( or maybe not) could Mann be considered any sort of an author of distinction . His books are typically shallow and even go so far as to suggest that this hedonism is the essential character of gay men. If the name ( Mann) seems familiar wipe it out of your mind because he is no relation to Thomas.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book and Good Read Oct. 8 2011
By ChristophrMichael - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I really liked this book and it was a really great read for those of you interested in Gay Fiction, not erotica. The book had a good story line and could be followed easily and was hard to put down. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes gay fiction.
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! Gay Lit that isn't just about being gay! Sept. 7 2010
By Jay Pee Zee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Let me start of by saying, I love reading gay fiction. I'm a habitual gay reader, and it's nice to read about characters are like me. That being said, I have been growing tired of reading the same novels over and over again about the same gay stereotypes and cliches. I couldn't find a good book with gay characters that didn't revolve soley on their sexuality.

Object of Desire was just was just what I was looking for. In it I got my dosage of man on man romance, but the parallel plot of Danny's missing sister, and more importantly his obsessed mother was my favorite of the three ongoing stories. However, I was not spared any of the other goodies one expects in their typical gay novel nor was it trying to pretend to be something it wasn't. Object of Desire was filled with rich characters, intricate plot points, and literary gems. The end is left ambiguous, but I understand it from a literary stand point. I will definitely keep reading from William J. Mann!
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