Owen Keehnen, Wilde City Press

Owen Keehnen Shows Some Swank In “Young Digby Swank”

“Growing up is all about getting hurt. And then getting over it. You hurt. You recover. You move on. Odds are pretty good you’re just going to get hurt again. But each time, you learn something.” ― Jim Butcher

Blurb: Meet Young Digby Swank…a gay boy in a very Catholic world. Thisis his story—from his miraculous birth, his troubled childhood and his quest for popularity, all the way to his dreams of becoming Pope and/or a beauty queen. Follow Digby through Cub Scouts, through his stint as an altar boy, a prankster, an outcast, a cross dresser, a vengeance seeker, a hell-bound sinner, and more. But it’s not just Digby you’ll meet on this journey! Say hello to Digby’s overbearing relatives, a few bullying nuns, some eccentric neighbors, and oh, let’s not forget the parish gossips of Running Falls, the small blue collar town in which Digby lives.

Yes, meet Digby Swank. A boy searching for love, belonging… and maybe even a halo. Surely those devil horns will help keep it propped up!

Review: Young Digby Swank was originally not on my list for review. I picked it up after my colleague could not get through it. I was a bit apprehensive in taking it on. But I wanted to help out a friend. Did I like it? Not quite sure.

Where do I start? Let me say this, Young Digby Swank won’t be for everyone. It’s not your typical m/m novel. It’s pretty long, so it’s not one of those books you can read in one sitting. The book is a biographical satire of a boy who isn’t considered normal, a boy who lives in his own world and thinks nothing of it. The story is told in a stream-of-consciousness manner. It moves from one train of though to another. I found this a bit distracting and long winded at times, though it was very well written and not what I usually go for.

The story starts out with Digby’s conception. His mother’s state of mind is not what the usual fantasy of finding out that your pregnant is. She wasn’t too thrilled about it. His father copes by drinking. This is the setup to Digby’s home life. The conception is followed by birth, then toddlerhood, and so forth, and so on.

Digby is a lonely boy but has a rich imagination. It kept him sane in his family’s crazy house. His family is another can of worms. His parents loved him but were distant. His paternal grandmother, Grandma Swank, was a bitter woman who didn’t understand Digby and thought he was an idiot. His only loving connection was to Grandma Rose. She loved him unconditionally. His relationship with Grandma Rose made him feel loved, accepted and normal. Religion was also a huge part of the story. His parents used religion to deal with the death of a family member, Grandma Swank used it to hurt Digby when she didn’t approve of his behavior, and Digby used it to feel normal.

Did I like this book? I thought it was okay, even if it isn’t something that I would usually read. What bothered me most was when the narrative started with one topic and morphed into another and another. By the time it cycled back, I found I’d lost interest, which was a little bit frustrating, so I really couldn’t get into it. You definitely need to be in a certain mood to read this type of story. If you are adventurous, give this book a try. It just wasn’t my cup of tea.

You can buy Young Digby Swank here:


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