Jack Bank A Memoir of a South African Childhood
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Description: An introspective and fascinating memoir about a gay, privileged white boy coming-of-age against a backdrop of a political and cultural landscape in transition. The Jack Bank explores what it was like to grow up in a rapidly changing, often violent society. Glen Retief's childhood was at once recognizably ordinary--and brutally unusual. His unflinching story of South Africa in the early 1970s explores not only issues of race and sexuality, but abuse, violence and retribution. Raised on the edges of a game preserve where his father worked, Retief's warm nuclear family was a haven against chaotic forces just outside its borders: lions lazing on the school yard's basketball court, a childhood friend whose uncle led a death squad, and Glen's cultured grandfather who quoted Shakespeare at barbecues yet abused Glen's sister in an antique-filled, tobacco-scented living room. But it was when Retief was sent to boarding school, that he was truly exposed to human cruelty and frailty. When the prefects were caught torturing younger boys, they invented "the jack bank," where underclassmen could save beatings, earn interest on their deposits, and draw on them later to atone for their supposed infractions. Retief writes movingly of the complicated emotions and politics in this punitive all-male world, and of how he navigated them, even as he began to realize that his sexuality was different than his peers'.
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List price: $21.99
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 4/24/2012
Size: 5.75" wide x 9.00" long x 1.00" tall
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