Larry Kramer’s Faggots when first published in the 1970′s provoked a lot of criticism by some in the gay community. The book was even banned in Manhattan’s only gay bookstore at the time. The criticism comes from its satirical (and some say negative) portrail of an aspect of gay life in the 70′s.
My look on it today is not objective. I was not there in the 70′s. I did not grow up part of an oppressed generation which experienced unfathomable freedom after the stonewall riots. Sex was a way to express this freedom. And a lot of gays at that time thought the more the better. I come from a generation that grew up in a time when AIDS was still decimating the gay population. I grew up in a time of fear of STI’s and the stigma of HIV/AIDS.
Larry Kramer’s book of course does not criticize gays for having unsafe sex, but its subculture of recreational drugs and promiscuity. It was after all written before the advent of AIDS or the “plague” as Kramer calls it. The main character of the book, Fred Lemish, tries to find love in such world, but the other characters are more concerned about where, when and with whom they will be having sex with next. Something that the since the coming of Grindr and other “dating sites” is again all the rage.
I do not perceive the book as negative. It is written in a smart, funny, and witty way. I enjoyed its jewish and New York area references. I look forward to reading Larry Kramer’s latest book to come out this year: “The American People, Volume I, Search for my Heart”.