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Westmoreland, Joe Tramps Like Us ISBN 13: 9781891305580

Tramps Like Us - Softcover

 
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TRAMPS LIKE US is a modern day Huckleberry Finn. It's an all-American story, albeit one that isn't told much, if at all. It's about the search for home, for a better life, feeling like a refugee in one's own country. It's about creating a family from a group of misfits. It tells what is was like to come of age in between Gay Liberation and the beginning of the AIDS crisis. In TRAMPS LIKE US we experience the narrator's life from the age of seventeen to twenty-nine, during the years 1974-1986. The book tracks his journey from leaving home in Kansas City, Missouri and hitch-hiking around the country from 1974-1977, then moving to New Orleans from 1978-1979, and finally to San Francisco from 1979-1986. The central theme of the narrator's odyssey follows his relationship with his father. It is a journey away from his dad who had "homicidal tendencies directed at me," toward a true sense of family and self.

The book is also the story of friendship. In high school the narrator, Joe, meets his friend Eddie, who changes his name to "Iqbal" after a brief stint in the Sufi Order of Meditation. They remain best friends, traveling together across the country, accumulating an extended family of friends, coming out, discovering themselves and the new gay world that was blossoming, till Iqbal's death in 1986. The book is a portrait of the times: Joe going to his first gay bar, The Ninth Circle (a famous hustler bar in New York); to being one of the originators of the Southern Decadence Parade in New Orleans in 1978; and finally to San Francisco of the late Seventies and early Eighties where gay liberation was in full force and where his friends started to die.

A lot of people who lived through that period have been embarrassed to admit that, yes, they were the ones indulging in all the practices that contributed to the spread of AIDS. With this novel, the author shows those times in a non-judgmental way. Throughout the book the author tries to balance adversity and humor and interject a little bit of hope. PUBLISHER: Painted Leaf Press

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From the Back Cover:
"Joe Westmoreland writes better than we deserve, and his simple sentences are each one a little marvel of sophistication and purity. Tramps Like Us has that American manifest destiny magic, crisscrossing highways, California sunsets, the endless search for spiritual truth in a benighted era. And its two heroes, one who's seen everything, the other a perfect beginner, will have readers thinking not only of Jack Kerouac and Route 66 but of Huckleberry Finn itself. In the annals of travel writing, Westmoreland's picture of a bygone, enchanted, troubling San Francisco and indeed the whole U.S.A. will live forever. I kept searching his book for his secret, but like the song says, Little Joe never once gave it away."-Kevin Killian

"Joe Westmoreland's book, Tramps Like Us charts an incredible moment in the 20th century, the 70s and 80s when the young roamed around America like wild dogs, randomly having sex and taking drugs, concerned about clothes and music and maybe enjoying the landscape. From "here" it seems fantastic. So much of that land is gone, yet this writer speaks like a sweet and unworldly citizen of a place you'd like to know. Sometimes it's just plain youth. As told to Joe."-Eileen Myles

About the Author:
Joe Westmoreland has contributed to many periodicals and to the anthologies Discontents (New Queer Writers), Best American Gay Fiction of 1996, Queer 13: Lesbian and Gay Writers Recall Seventh Grade, and Latin Lovers: True Stories of Latin Men In Love. He lives in New York City.

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  • PublisherPainted Leaf Pr
  • Publication date2001
  • ISBN 10 1891305581
  • ISBN 13 9781891305580
  • BindingPaperback
  • Number of pages386
  • Rating

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9780299194345: Tramps Like Us: A Novel

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ISBN 10:  0299194345 ISBN 13:  9780299194345
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press, 2003
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