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Monday, February 24, 2003

Book review: Uncle Sean, by Ronald L. Donaghe

While much shorter than Ronald L. Donaghe's “Common Threads in the Life” novels, Uncle Sean is certainly no less realistic, thought-provoking, or intriguing. Though told entirely in first person, the narrative actually uses three different voices. The first voice is that of a man who finds the materials and instills in readers a desire to learn the story they hold. Another is of the young man Will Barnett, who realizes that he wants a boyfriend. And the third voice is of Uncle Sean himself, the object of Will's affection. Donaghe uses each voice as a different way of exploring the complexities of same-sex attraction and, more universally, the frustrations of feeling isolated and rejected. The Salvation Mongers remains my favorite of Donaghe's novels, but Uncle Sean is perhaps his most touching novel, and I think countless readers will relate to Will's desire to find someone "pretty" to love forever.