Boys Like Us


167 pages
ISBN 0-00-223742-3
DDC C813'.54




Reviewed by Jeffrey Canton

Jeffrey Canton is Programming Co-ordinator at the Toronto Public


Boys Like Us is a rich and gossipy narrative of gay life in Toronto’s
Church-Wellesley community. This snappy comedy of manners is almost
entirely made up of dialogue. Using the kind of punchy one-liners that
we associate with sitcoms makes this bittersweet exploration of
relationships under the shadow of the AIDS crisis flow with a deceptive
ease that is the product of tightrope-taut technical skill.

Zero MacNoo gives us a walking tour of life in the late 1980s. His
narrative bounces from the sexual hijinks of the “new kid” in
town—drag queen Jesus Las Vegas, who is sleeping his way through
Zero’s entire circle of friends—to the trials of setting up a
support network for Zero’s best friend, Randy, who is dealing with his
first bout of AIDS-related illnesses. When you add to this the
complications inherent in Zero’s coming to terms with his current love
interest, Clay; his ex-lover David; and a zany visit home to Arkansas to
attend his mother’s wedding, you’re left with a celebration of gay
sexuality and the diversity of gay culture.

Boys Like Us only touches on the devastation that AIDS has wreaked on
gay communities across North America, but McGehee seems to be stressing
that AIDS cannot be allowed to destroy gay culture. Boys Like Us is his
expression of the need to create a new gay lifestyle for the 1990s and,
with that lifestyle, the need for a new genre of gay fiction.


McGehee, Peter., “Boys Like Us,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 21, 2024,