FSB, Apr 2002, 23.95, 304 pp.
In 1978 Newell leaves his hometown of Pastel, Alabama for New Orleans where he wanders the streets until he stops at a store intriguingly named Hendeman's Rare and Used to learn what they sell and to borrow a phone book. Newell mentions the YMCA and the woman, as handsome as a man, Louise Kimbro likes his look and offers him a room, which he takes. Broke, Newell obtains a busboy job at the nearby gay restaurant, which he loses when he rejects the manager's advances. His appearance enables him to score a new job at an adult bookstore.
The job lasts more than just a cup of soup and soon Newell explores the city. He begins to meet other males and hooks up with his boss who introduces him to the drug scene. Eventually his baby face and naive demeanor become the target of a nasty gay person who plans to teach Newell the “finer” things in life.
BOULEVARD is an insightful look at the gay scene in New Orleans through the eyes of the lead character and the cast that supports his urbanization. The story line is insightful and interesting and worth the read for those who want a different type of character study. However, the problem with this powerful relationship drama resides with Newell, whose ability to attain what he needs instantly takes away from the depth of observing an ingenuous newcomer struggling to adapt to a “foreign” lifestyle. Jim Grimsley's tale is actually carried by the support ensemble.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner