elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Personal Saviors by Wesley Gibson

I did try to do my homework to discover if the author, Wesley Gibson, shares the same Southern upbringing as Paul, but I was not really able to tell; my feelings is that yes, Personal Saviors is someway a fictionalization of the author’s own experience of growing up gay in a small southern community. So what we are reading are like the telling of someone going through some old polaroid, with the color so faded that everything seems green and orange… or maybe indeed everything WAS green and orange at the time! In any case I imagine the adult Paul wondering how he managed to go through that and escaping somehow “sane”.

Paul is a misfit, and he knows it. He knows he is gay, he knows he is in love with his pastor (even if I’m unsure if he is in love with him since he is a man OR since he is a pastor, and so, to his eyes, someone who is nearer to God). But all these discoveries, all this uncertainty, is not presented to the reader like a logical flow, but, as I said, like snapshots of self-consciousness, every step, to our eyes unrelated, is instead a step Paul is doing towards his adulthood.

There is a carousel of supporting characters, and all of them will contribute to Paul’s discovery journey, all of them, misfits like Paul, will give the feeling to Paul that he is not alone in this world. Again it’s important to pay attention to every little detail since Paul’s interaction with the other characters, is not plotted like a perfect intertwined cloth, but it’s more a plain canvas, where Paul is adding a spot here and there, and then he is trying to connect each other.

Personal Saviors is really a brainstorming of Paul’s memories, and considering they are the memories of an 11 years old boy, you cannot really pretend they are perfect lined up one after each other, and moreover, what stuck more in an adult mind of their pre-teen years, is what let you a scalding mark on your inner being.

Addendum: thanks to a suggestion by Christopher Bram, I check a review for Gibson's previous book, You Are Here, and it says "When 30-something novelist Gibson (Shelter) moves to New York from Virginia, he plans to establish himself as a writer"; so I have my answer, Wesley Gibson indeed shares the southern origins of his character, Paul.


Amazon: Personal Saviors
Amazon Kindle: Personal Saviors
Paperback: 188 pages
Publisher: Chelsea Station Editions (October 3, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0983285136
ISBN-13: 978-0983285137

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle

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Tags: author: wesley gibson, genre: contemporary, length: novel, review, theme: coming of age

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