If you are looking for a fun-to-read, breezy, and romantic coming-out story, Ryan Field has got a good one for you. Dancing Dirty is very loosely based on the hit movie of the late 1970s era, Dirty Dancing — but with a gay romance at the center. It is a very well written and enjoyable young gay romance that all ages will enjoy.
The story unfolds in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. But Northern New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Newark are featured prominently for those of us in the area looking for local interest. I found myself, more than a few times, thinking about where in the Poconos author Field got his inspiration.
Plenty of quirky personalities brighten the story. The main character, Junior, just graduated from high school in suburban Philadelphia. As the story opens, he is going to be attending college in the fall at Yale University. He is a bit confused, as so many of us are at that age, about so many things. His sexual orientation features prominently in his struggle.
Meanwhile, his parents have decided to spend the summer at their country club home in the Poconos. While there, we meet his sister and her invisible dog — yes, invisible. We also meet his father, the doctor; his quiet and demure mom; some very interesting summer residents that loosely resemble folks from country club communities; and most important, Junior meets Carlo, with whom his relationship becomes the center of this love story.
Field tells a good story. The writing is well done. His character development is concise, with short explanations that paint a very quick image as to who they are — and where they are coming from. His words are chosen carefully and make Dancing Dirty easily accessible for any age group. It would be a fine gay book for any young person looking for a diversion and a few pointers on how to navigate the coming-out process while feeling more comfortable about being themselves in their own skin.
Dancing Dirty by Ryan Fields is available from riverdaleavebooks.com.