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The Catch Trap
by Marion Zimmer Bradley | Gay & Lesbian
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Thursday, April 24, 2003
Average 7 star rating by BookCrossing Members 

status (set by WhiteRabbit): to be read


3 journalers for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Thursday, April 24, 2003

This book has not been rated.

Pre-numbered label used for registration.

Haven't read this one yet. It sounds good, though - and seems a bit of an unusual subject for Bradley, who's best known for fantasy and SF. This book's "a magnificent, colorful novel of the circus world of the 1940s and 1950s" and "a rich family saga," according to the back cover. It's also about the relationship between the central characters, Mario Santelli, youngest son and most promising member of a family of trapeze artists, and his protege Tommy Zane. Will write more when I've read it.

*** Later: about halfway through now [this is one of those sweeping-saga books]. Lots of detail about circus life in that period. Spoiler [to see the text, select the following whitespace]: I was interested to find that the author's playing fair with the questionable ethics of the romance between 20-something Mario and barely-15 Tommy. All the passionate highs and lows of teenage love added to Mario's guilt for taking advantage of the boy's affection and depriving him of his innocence, plus the stress of the ongoing need to keep their relationship secret - something's gotta give...
To be continued... 


Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Sunday, June 27, 2004

7 out of 10

I attribute the gap between starting this book and finishing it to several factors: one, I started the book as my "hammock read" last spring, and when hammock season was over somehow never switched it to "comfy-chair read"; two, after I got about halfway through it I began to sense the approach of some serious angst, and just couldn't convince myself to read about it; and three, so many other books kept cutting in line {grin}. But I finally combined timing and mood, and dived into the remaining half of the book, angst and all.

I'd have to say that this is definitely the best of the "gay coming-out story/circus-family saga" genre {grin}. I liked the characters and wanted to find out what became of them - but the book had its flaws, including managing to go on too long and at the same time to skip over what might have been a fascinating segment of the characters' lives. It surprised me in many respects, not least in the way it addressed the controversial subject of same-sex relationships - and in the '40s and '50s, yet - but also the more controversial subject of underage sexual relationships. While it's clear that young Tommy is more than willing to get close to Mario, the author doesn't hide the difficulties that this presents, nor its cost; Mario himself recognizes that he's stolen some of Tommy's youth, and agonizes over this. Mario also has a tendency towards moodiness and depression, with violent outbursts - not the best candidate for a long-term relationship with an open and loving teenager. The focus of the story is as much on the high-wire work as it is on the relationship, and for these two, they're intertwined; neither of them feels whole unless they're working on the trapeze, and it seems likely that if anything can save them it's that. But nobody flies forever...

I found the "five years later" segue annoying, although I'd been expecting something of the sort as Mario's temper got worse. The incidents that led up to it included some rather serious abuse of Tommy by Mario; if this were real life and not a novel, I'd be warning Tommy to get out and never look back, but in books one tends to give the Heathcliffs more latitude in the hope that romance will out. The way the family members and the ups and downs of circus life affected Mario and Tommy seemed realistic and appropriate, though (for me) a bit claustrophobic; to continue the life they'd chosen, they pretty much had to be hand-in-glove with most of their family nearly all the time, and the stress of that on their still-hidden relationship was severe. On the other hand, having the family to support them and to need their support lent strength - and in this case it seems that acceptance, though sometimes grudging, is going to be given... 


Journal Entry 3 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, July 07, 2004

This book has not been rated.

Controlled release: This will be on its way to BCer FutureCat in New Zealand very soon (although it may not arrive very soon, as it will be taking the scenic route!). 


Journal Entry 4 by wingfuturecatwing from Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand on Tuesday, August 31, 2004

This book has not been rated.

Arrived safely in New Zealand today, along with Banvard's Folly. Thanks again, Gory!

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Journal Entry 5 by wingfuturecatwing from Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand on Saturday, November 20, 2004

8 out of 10

Really enjoyed this book, although, as GoryDetails says (aside: I hate writing journal entries on Gory's books - she writes such wonderfully detailed reviews that I always feel intimidated into a "I liked the book, it was good" tonguetiedness - plus, she's always already said everything I want to say!!!), it does go on a bit long in places (especially around the third quarter - I was beginning to wonder how many more ways the gay characters would find to say (or think) "I wish I could come out, but I can't" - it was all getting a bit broken record for a while there (this is not at all intended to belittle the incredible strain that gay men must have lived with at the time - it's just that it felt like the author was trying to ram the point home with a sledgehammer)). But despite the slow patches, there was plenty to keep me reading.

I liked this book. It was good. :-)

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Journal Entry 6 by wingfuturecatwing from Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand on Friday, December 10, 2004

This book has not been rated.

Given to WhiteRabbit at the picnic today.

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Journal Entry 7 by WhiteRabbit from Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand on Monday, December 13, 2004

This book has not been rated.

Picked this up at our Christmas picnic in the park last Saturday. 




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