January 21, 2018 @ 6:00 pm
- January 21, 2018
- Books & Books in Coral Gables
265 Aragon Ave
Coral Gables, FL 33134 United States
One of These Things First is a wry and poignant reminiscence of a 15 year old gay Jewish boy in Brooklyn in the early sixties, and his unexpected trajectory from a life behind a rack of dresses in his grandmother’s bra and girdle store, to Manhattan’s fabled Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic, a fashionable Charenton for wealthy neurotics and Ivy League alcoholics, whose famous alumni include writers, poets, madmen, Marilyn Monroe, and bestselling author Steven Gaines.
With a gimlet eye and a true gift for storytelling, Gaines captures his childhood shtetl in Brooklyn like an Edward Hopper tableau, with all its dramas and secrets: his philandering grandfather with his fleet of Cadillacs and Corvettes; a trio of harpy saleswomen; a giant, empty movie theater, his portal to the outside world; a shirtless teenage boy pushing a lawnmower in front of a house on Long Island; and a pair of tormenting bullies who own the corner candy store whose taunts drive him to a suicide attempt.
Steven Gaines also takes the reader behind the walls of Payne Whitney, the “Harvard of psychiatric clinics,” as Time magazine called it, populated by a captivating group of neurasthenics who subtly begin to change him in unexpected ways. The cast of characters includes a famous Broadway producer who becomes his unlikely mentor, an elegant woman who claimed to be the ex-mistress of newly elected president John F. Kennedy, a snooty, suicidal Harvard architect, and a seductive young Contessa. At the center of the story is a brilliant young psychiatrist who promises to cure a young boy of his homosexuality and give him the normalcy he so longs for. Through it all, Gaines weaves a tale that delights and disturbs with his trademark raconteur panache.
About the Author:
STEVEN GAINES is the bestselling author of Philistines at the Hedgerow: Passion and Property in the Hamptons; The Sky’s the Limit: Passion and Property in Manhattan; The Love You Make: An Insider’s Story of the Beatles; and Simply Halston, the biography of the fashion design, among other books. His journalism has appeared in Vanity Fair, the New York Observer, the New York Times and New York magazine where he was a contributing editor for 12 years. The co-founder and past vice-chairman of the Hamptons International Film Festival, Gaines has lived on the east end of Long Island for more than 40 years.