Gerry B's Book Reviews

Park Dwellers, by Mal Tempo and Nathan Scott

An interesting idea, but otherwise it leaves a lot to be desired

Blurb: Public cruising across America remains the least discussed of all gay activities. Meeting in public parks is for many gay men perfect for twenty minutes of fantasy and fun. Interviewing dozens and dozens of men over three years, the authors compiled a series of profiles of park users and cruisers with a focus on sexual habits, strange sights, and their success in pursuing this unique American fantasy. Men have come to public parks, creating a secret society of gay cruisers thriving for centuries. These stories are true. If the tales seem familiar, you must remember that they have been told many times.”

Available in eBook format – 555 KB.


Review by Gerry Burnie

Park Dwellers by Mal Tempo and Nathan Scott [Long Time Ago Press, 2010] is an interesting idea, but otherwise it leaves a lot to be desired. For one thing, the blurb suggests that this is a “series of profiles” based on interviews from “across America”, but it is, in fact, based on one park somewhere in United States, and consists primarily of observations that are neither in-depth, nor particularly unique—except for the idiosyncrasies of the individuals described.

Indeed, as a gay man it comes as no surprise that public parks are used for cruising, and also for furtive, impersonal sexual encounters, but what I would like to have known (from the interviews) is the psychology of park cruisers—i.e. not just the methodology. Is this their only form of socio-sexual activity, or is it merely one segment of it? And why?

Alas, for me Park Dwellersfalls short in just about every category I could have hoped for. It is too superficial to be a study, too shallow to provide any meaningful profiles, and worse, by not making clear that park cruisers are a miniscule part of GLBT society, it perpetuates the myth that gays are a ‘slutty’ lot with only one focus in life.

Journalistically, the syntax and writing are solid enough, but the overuse of clichés, metaphors and campy phrases gives it a gossipy overtone. This is also accentuated by the less-than-complimentary pseudonyms assigned to the various denizens, i.e. “Quasimodo,” “The Frog Prince,” and “Winnie the Poo-Poo.”  Moreover, although it is the responsibility of the publisher, the formatting truncates sentences and runs paragraphs together in a difficult-to-read manner.

As I have said above, Park Dwellersis an interesting idea, but it leaves a lot to be desired. Two Gerry Bees.


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I’m excited–and that doesn’t happen very often at my age. However, my interview with Charlie Cochrane (“Cambridge Fellows Mystery Series”) is published today. Do drop around and share our thoughts.


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October 23, 2011 Posted by | Gay non-fiction, Non-fiction | Leave a comment


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