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by Patricia Nell Warren


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To have runners like those three on my little team had been the hurting dream ever since I'd left Penn State. I was ready to get mad at them for breaking into my peaceful exile. I made one last attempt to put up a front.

To have runners like those three on my little team had been the hurting dream ever since I'd left Penn State. I felt overcome by memories and pain. The moment I first saw the Oregon three, I felt a vague unease. What makes you think I'll understand? What makes you think I won't give you a big lecture on the morality and purity of the American boy?"

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Patricia Nell Warren is the landmark author of some of the most popular gay novels of all time. Each of her books has been a milestone in America’s understanding and acceptance of GBLT themes

Patricia Nell Warren is the landmark author of some of the most popular gay novels of all time. Each of her books has been a milestone in America’s understanding and acceptance of GBLT themes. The first modern story about gay love to become an international bestseller, Warren’s celebrated saga of an ex-Marine track coach and his Olympics-bound athlete has engaged and inspired both gay and mainstream readers for over a quarter of a century. Warren’s novels have also sold heavily to libraries and.

The Front Runner is a 1974 novel by Patricia Nell Warren. A love story between a running coach and his star athlete, The Front Runner is noted for being the first contemporary gay novel to achieve mainstream commercial and critical success

The Front Runner is a 1974 novel by Patricia Nell Warren. A love story between a running coach and his star athlete, The Front Runner is noted for being the first contemporary gay novel to achieve mainstream commercial and critical success. Harlan Brown is the athletic director at the fictitious Prescott College, a progressive, experiential, private liberal arts college in New York.

Dear Front Runners, Fans, Friends and Family of Patricia Nell Warren .

Dear Front Runners, Fans, Friends and Family of Patricia Nell Warren, The executor of Patricia’s estate notified me today that Patricia exhausted all financial resources on medical treatments in her battle with cancer. Imagine your life if there had been no trailblazer like Patricia Nell Warren, no book called the Front Runner, and no community or family called the Front Runners and consider making a donation to help publish Patricia’s final book, completed just before her death. A donation page has been set up to cover these costs.

Patricia Nell Warren (June 15, 1936 – February 9, 2019) was an American novelist, poet and journalist. Her first novel, The Front Runner, was the first work of contemporary gay fiction to make the New York Times Best Seller list. Patricia Nell Warren was born in Helena, Montana on June 15, 1936 and grew up in southwest Montana on the Grant-Kohrs Ranch near Deer Lodge.

Patricia Nell Warren. Why should it matter, anyway? I asked myself. Why should it matter, anyway? I asked myself thetime I was spending with Vince, but I reassured hi. he rootless days passed. Every day Billy came, seeking that peace that kept him moving

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Patricia Nell Warren was born in Helena, Montana on June 15, 1936. She attended Manhattanville College. She wrote several books including The Last Centennial, The Front Runner, Harlan's Race, The Wild Man, The Fancy Dancer, and The Lavender Locker Room. Billy's Boy won the Lambda Literary Award in 1998. She also wrote four books of Ukranian poetry.

First published in 1974, The Front Runner raced to international acclaim - the first novel about gay love to become popular with mainstream.

In 1975, coach Harlan Brown is hiding from his past at an obscure New York college, after he was fired from Penn State University on suspicion of being gay. A tough, lonely ex-Marine of 39, Harlan has never allowed himself to love another man.

Then Billy Sive, a brilliant young runner, shows up on his doorstep. He and his two comrades, Vince Matti and Jacques LaFont, were just thrown off a major team for admitting they are gay. Harlan knows that, with proper training, Billy could go to the '76 Olympics in Montreal. He agrees to coach the three boys under strict conditions that thwart Billy's growing attraction for his mature but compelling mentor. The lean, graceful front runner with gold-rim glasses sees directly into Harlan's heart. Billy's gentle and open acceptance of his sexuality makes Harlan afraid to confront either the pain of his past, or the challenges which lay in wait if their intimacy is exposed.

But when Coach Brown finds himself falling in love with his most gifted athlete, he must combat his true feelings for Billy or risk the outrage of the entire sports world - and their only chance at Olympic gold.


Comments: (7)

Wal
I first read this in the mid-1980s when trying to find my way as a lesbian in her early thirties. I have never forgotten this novel. I actually found this at a paperback-trade rack in the local supermarket--you put up a book you didn't mind sharing with others and then took one or two home to read. I was absolutely blown away by this book as this was the first gay or lesbian love story...that presented love and even marriage as something worthwhile and of which GLBT people are equally deserving as straight people. There were parts that just blew me away--and the ending, well, I could see this happening, unfortunately with all the hate in the world. I have to say I shed a lot of tears when reading THE FRONT RUNNER.

I saw Harlan Brown evolve from an uptight, ex-Marine Jock who hated women, to a man who could at last appreciate Betsy, who carried Billy's child for them. He actually grew and evolved...just like many of us have had to. You see him warm and in a way blossom with the love Billy and he have for one another, as well as the support of the founder of the college and other straight allies. And if people think that only gay men don't like women...well, it goes the other way as well. There are lesbians who hate men (in many cases for valid reasons). Remember, he got treated pretty rottenly by his ex-wife, who even turned his sons against him. And in that era, there was (and I suspect there still is) in some quarters,hyper-macho men who really do not like anything remotely feminine. I've known a few but never met one, though, who truly HATED women.

I have discussed the book with gay friends and they seem to think that Patricia Nell Warren understands gay men quite well. As for the datedness of the book, it was written in the late 70s and takes place just a few years earlier, so of course it feels "dated". I lived through that time and thought she did a great job of capturing gay life. I remember the big clubs and dance bars and well, the Continental Baths were legendary. This was not all of gay culture in the 70s but it was a lot of it. AIDS has changed so much...life is different now. My life is different...came out and married in Canada. When I reread the wedding scene, it reminded me of my own wedding, but of course in the changed world of 2007. I suggest this book as a great love story and a peek into what those heady years following Stonewall were like--so much hope, so much struggle.

All in all, I recommend this book.
Agantrius
I first read this book twelve years ago, having heard it was the first big breakthrough mainstream gay novel. It wrecked me. I remember sitting in my bed crying my eyes out and marvelling that this was written by a woman. The love story of Olympic track hopeful Billy Sive and his coach Harlan Brown still manages to hold up after twenty seven years.Not only is the love story effective, but the book now almost reads as a primer for the gay rights movement. Paul Newman had bought the rights originally to adapt the book into a feature, but apparently no actor wanted to take on the then controversial role of Harlan. Times have changed. Now it would be considered a career boon for an actor. Better late than never. And if you've never read this book, the same adage applies.
Otrytrerl
I read this book when it debuted in paperback in the late 70's, I think. I was battling with coming out and was sometimes bored with it, although titillated by the sex scenes, as I was still a virgin at the time. Rereading it was a different experience all these years later. It was like reliving the times insightfully, and had a believable and detailed sports theme running through it was engaging. Highly recommend this to gay men who missed it and to other humans who are interested in how thing were in the early 70's and even the 60's for gay people, when they had to remain in the closet. A brilliant book.
Vishura
Incredible Love story! Read the whole series!
I fell in love with the four main characters 44 years ago and it still warms my heart today!
Rit
The Front Runner is a love story involving an athlete and his coach that was the first positive portrayal of gay life to reach #1 on the New York Times bestseller list in 1974. The novel dates from just a few years after Stonewall, when the nascent consciousness of gay liberation was still making its way around the country. The lead characters, Billy and Harlan, are exemplars of a steadfast and self-conscious pride that sustains them through overwhelming adversity attributable to homophobia. They are attractive, engaging role models for living and loving as openly gay people, when such images were still transgressive.

The novel suffers from the device of having been written about the near future from the vantage point of 1973. Warren has the Supreme Court invalidating sodomy laws in 1975 and the title character, Billy, winning a gold medal as a runner in the 1976 Montreal Olympics. She has Billy and Harlan appear on the cover of Time and become the most famous gay couple in the world. They accomplish positive awareness-building and image-enhancement for the LGBT community on a scale barely conceivable for the mid-70's. Warren conjures demonstrations too easily to keep the plot moving; community organizing is an accessory to the plot. It looks a little contrived that Billy's dad is a gay civil rights lawyer and pioneer advocate so effective as to get a positive result from the Burger Court, which ruled against the LGBT community in 1986, only to be overruled in 2003. She makes the hard work of advancing fairness and equality for gays look, ultimately, a lot easier than it has actually been, and proffers an inappropos "superstar" model for the LGBT movement. (The LGBT community has never had a figure as major as Billy would have been; the movement has always characteristically been decentralized, and almost all of our heroes are unknown to history.) So from an activist's or an historian's perspective, the plot misrepresents the profound and immense work of achieving social change for LGBT Americans as it has unfolded in the last 40 years.

Nevertheless, the novel offered people in the 1970's a vision of gay heroism to uplift the spirit, nourish our collective self-esteem, and spur a transformation in the gay Weltanschauung. The book imparts the commodity of hope for a happy gay life that Harvey Milk was so focused on disseminating. At a critical time, it was an instrument for revolutionizing consciousness among gay people, and held up the work of the movement as something making a difference in people's lives. The Front Runner must have inspired countless activists.

Whether the book passes muster as gay-positive in the 21st century is debatable. A homosexual character in the book is killed in a spectacular hate crime that would not have happened were he in the closet. It's a minus in my view that a book has one or more homosexual characters come to a bad end because they embrace homosexuality; it smacks too much of an implicit morality tale that says "the wages of sin is death." I wouldn't describe the literary quality of the book as particularly notable, and the character development (other than Harlan the narrator) is weak. Billy is more mythic than believable. Still, the story draws you in, and the climax will not fail to blow the reader away. I can only imagine what reading this book was like to a gay man coming of age in the mid-70's. While it's easy to see the story as a little hackneyed by present-day standards, it bears remembering that The Front Runner was a prototype of gay coming-of-age romance. It was the genuine article before the others came along. Fiction was one of the means harnessed in the cause of gay liberation, and The Front Runner is an early standard bearer.

I can't wait for the movie!
Chillhunter
one of my favorite books,
Fato
Great book and educational for someone who might not have known much about this time in sports.
The Front Runner download epub
Literature & Fiction
Author: Patricia Nell Warren
ISBN: 0854491333
Category: Gay & Lesbian
Subcategory: Literature & Fiction
Language: English
Publisher: Gay Men's Press; New Ed edition (August 30, 1990)
Pages: 352 pages