Big news! LibraryThing is now free to all! Read the blog post and discuss the change on Talk.
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of…

The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's…

by Alan Downs

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
294862,852 (3.63)2
The gay male world today is characterized by seductive beauty, artful creativity, flamboyant sexuality, and, encouragingly, unprecedented acceptability in society. Yet despite the progress of the past century, our intimate relationships are generally short-lived, and depression and suicide occur more frequently than among straight men. Although an entire generation of gay men has freely come out of the closet, we still find ourselves asking, "Are we really better off?" Through honest individual stories and compassionate analysis, this book explores the lingering, deep-rooted shame which can be traced to our childhood experiences of feeling "other" and perhaps emotionally abandoned by the first men in our lives, our fathers. Most of us rage quietly against this shame, masking it behind a façade of beauty, creativity, or material success. Therapist Downs outlines three stages to emotional well-being for gay men and offers strategies to stop the insidious cycle of avoidance and self-defeating behavior.--From publisher description.… (more)



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 2 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
While there were of course many generalized assumptions or observances about the gay community, for the most part this I book offered a very interesting and profound theory into the struggles of gay men that I came away from feeling so much more enlightened.
I have never in my life underlined, highlighted or written in the margins more in my life, then when reading this book. There was so much of myself I found in there, and so much for me to really think about and ingest.
I do think this is an important book, and even if you do not identify with everything Downs has to offer, it's still worth the read. I found insight into my friends, my past relationships, and of course myself throughout the entire book.
Insightful and in depth, Downs has really put forth a powerful theory that is worth knowing and discussing. I think every gay man should read this book. ( )
1 vote Kiddboyblue | Dec 23, 2018 |
This book gave me a lot of perspective on friendships I've had, into myself, and offered great suggestions on how to address complications and struggles as they may arrive. Insightful, touching, and sincere. ( )
  LaPhenix | May 3, 2016 |
As self-help books go (and I will admit that I am not a fan of the genre), The Velvet Rage is actually quite good. The problematic issue with many self-help books is that the underlying philosophy (or approach, or methodology, or treatment, etc.) is based on the assumption that everyone who reads the book is suffering with or struggling with the same condition (e.g., obesity, addiction, unhealthy relationship). This kind of essentializing or pathologizing of a condition usually results in overly generic (i.e., pretty much useless) strategies for correcting the condition. This book, however, is based on a more solid foundation—the belief that most gay men face similar challenges during the course of their development. These challenges result in deep-seated shame that often precludes any ability to maintain healthy, loving adult relationships with other men. And on this point, Dr. Downs pretty much gets it right.

I recognized more of myself than I care to admit in Downs’ descriptions of men crippled by a shame that dooms any attempt at a loving relationship with another man. The book is therapeutic and enlightening without being overly patronizing. In other words, Downs explains how and why our contemporary culture (20th century America, to be exact) makes it well-nigh impossible for a gay man to grow up as a healthy, self-actualized person, yet he does not excuse any of us for our failure to overcome these obstacles. He uses clear, frank language and relates anecdotes from his private practice to illustrate the various ways in which gay men sabotage their own relationships. (Unfortunately, Downs’ practice seems limited to middle-class or upper middle-class white men, so there is not much diversity within the stories he tells. We do not get, for example, a clear idea of what it might be like to grow up poor and gay or black and gay or Latino and gay or Asian and gay…). More importantly, he offers practical, specific advice for overcoming the various stages of shame many of us grew up with. Downs never explicitly draws the comparison, but the shame-redemption process he describes seems to closely parallel the coming out process in general. And for many gay men, coming out is merely the first step on the long road toward mental, emotional health and self-acceptance. ( )
1 vote jimrgill | Nov 30, 2013 |
This book on gay shame has done me a world of good. While some of the examples are really broad, the meat on this book still works for me. I can see how others wouldn't see it the same way though. ( )
  pewterbreath | Nov 3, 2013 |
Sorry, I cannot heap lavish praise on this book. What may be appropriate for one generation of gay men (as represented by people who can afford to see a psychologist) in America does not apply across the western world, never mind the globe he hoped it might. In fact, it barely makes it across the Atlantic or down to my generation (I'm 27 as I write this in 2010).

The book lacks any evidence beyond the anecdote presented as widely true - a grievous crime in any (social) science and no understanding outside that narrow evidence base. Add to that the stereotyping and judgemental attitude towards any non-normative relationships and you get a book that swings between disappointing and offensive.

Fuller review: http://www.penwing.me.uk/node/240 ( )
1 vote penwing | Sep 4, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Dedicated to Blake Hunter and Bob Ward | May I grow as young in spirit, as wise in life, and as steadfast in love as you.
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.63)
1 1
1.5 2
2 3
2.5 1
3 8
3.5 3
4 9
5 11

HighBridge Audio

An edition of this book was published by HighBridge Audio.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 146,603,631 books! | Top bar: Always visible