~by Tom Spanbauer
1992 ALA Stonewall Book Award Nominee
"A crazy story about crazy people told by a crazy. Should only make you wonder."
Out-In-The-Shed, usually shortened simply to Shed, is just one of the many names held by the narrator of this story. He shares his "human being story" as well as the human being stories of those closest to him: Ida Richilieu, proprietress of the Indian Head Hotel. Alma Hatch, bird-woman and sought-after whore. Dellwood Barker, cowboy and lover. While much of the book is about Shed's search to understand himself, it is also about much more. It is about race and hatred, religion and hypocrisy, sex and sexuality, life and death, family and love.
As a bit of a warning, there is quite a bit of tragedy lurking in this book. Although it was expected (readers are told virtually at the beginning that it ends bad), I found myself hoping over and again that it wouldn't. There is plenty of life in this novel, but ultimately it is not a happy one.
I will admit that the writing style, which was very colloquial, took me some time to get used to, and the very very ending didn't really seem to work very well. However, this is one of the best books I've read in a while, even if it's difficult for me to identify exactly what made this so. But, despite its flaws, I really, really enjoyed it.