student Dave Morehead is a “straight young man living in a gay old
city” in Jeffrey Hickey’s candid coming-of-age story. Set in the 1970s
and 1980s, Morehead follows the education of a
twenty-one-year-old man who arrives at San Francisco State University
with only one real goal: to seduce women. Dave Morehead’s college
experiences challenge this single-mindedness and broaden his perspective
Hickey presents Dave’s story in the first person but avoids the
exclusive use of journal-like musings that would become tedious after a
few hundred pages. Instead, he illuminates Dave’s thoughts in a variety
of formats that keep the reader engaged and entertained. Class
assignments reveal Dave’s friendships and a 1970s culture that revolves
around record albums and sound systems. His journal entries include not
only self-reflection but also transcripts of intimate conversations that
shine light on the other characters.
Some of the vignettes are poignant, illustrating the turbulent times.
Dave’s visits to the flamboyant Castro District and his quiet talks
with gay men in the early days of the AIDS crisis show his growth as a
compassionate person. Other scenes are simply hilarious, such as the
“Work in the Eighties” chapters. Here, Hickey drops readers into a day
in the life of Dave at work. We find him at a movie concession stand, a
car dealership, and in a series of temporary jobs, all of which he
handles with varying levels of competence and a constant sense of humor.
The language used by Dave and his compatriots is often crude, with
frequent profanities and references to sex. The swearing doesn’t feel
gratuitous, however. Instead, it paints a realistic picture of the way
guys might talk to each other. Additionally, the frankness allows Dave
to ask a lot of questions, and get a lot of answers, about the
burgeoning gay culture he finds himself living in.
Hickey provides fertile ground for character growth as Dave gets to
know people who are very different from him. Initially naïve about
homosexuality, Dave finishes his college years by writing a play about
the struggles of the first Gay Games as they fought the US Olympic
Committee over the use of the word “Olympic.” The script of the play is
included and exhibits Dave’s signature sarcasm and humor.
Previous works by Hickey include multimedia productions like Bats and Bones, which combines stories and music; Wages Creek, a children’s book; and The Coach’s Son,
a sports novel. Hickey’s versatility and comfort with diverse formats
are revealed in the blend of styles he brings together in Morehead to take Dave from boorish freshman to promising young adult.
It doesn't take long after opening the pages of this brief book to
catch the gist of author Jeffrey Hickey's purpose in writing it. At
least from one vantage it seems that in addition to wanting to write a
fascinating coming of age story Hickey also had the desire to help blur
the lines of view in looking at gay versus straight society. And the odd
thing about his book is that he takes a very firm stand with his main
character Dave Morehead (the very last name is suggestive of the degree
of humor Hickey invests here!) being a womanizer after breaking his
barrier of virginity and yet becoming involved in living in San
Francisco during the 1970s and 1980s when not only was Dave Morehead
changing, but so was the gay revolution. It makes of a very interesting
dichotomy of inspiration, feelings and understanding that should make
the book's audience even wider.
Hickey takes his character by
means of journal entries, a bit of poetry and a play of sorts through
the discomfort of being a loner, and what is more, a studly looking
completely straight loner in a college situation surrounded by gays and
lesbians. He rooms with a good guy, discovers love with a girl in the
strangest way, fends off would be advances form gay men, and slowly but
surely navigates through all the changes that beset San Francisco - Gay
Games, the murder of Harvey Milk, the origin of Gay Pride, the horror of
the new plague AIDS, and the world of flower children and spiritual
odysseys that flowed through the Castro District and the Haight Ashbury
district of San Francisco.
If the language seems overly crude and
the `chapters' of his book don't seem to hang together the way a normal
novel should then the reader has caught on to the ferocious writing
style of Jeffrey Hickey. But underneath all the bawdy surface lies a lot
of very tender message about that horrendous trial we all have had to
face - growing up. Some never do, and some can recreate it like a
pixilated flashback the way Jeffrey Hickey has in this book.
Simultaneously hilarious, sarcastic, disconcerting, perceptive and
offensive Hickey has a talent for driving toward the center of the
target and getting there. Grady Harp, June 12
Let me caution you that this is a very explicit book. But once I
accepted the language and visual images rolling around in my head, the
story is quite good. Dave Morehead is trying to find his own identity
during a time of great change in San Francisco. At first struggling to
accept the lifestyle choices of those around him, he eventually gains
great respect and friendship from those he formerly judged.
is not an easy character to like in the beginning. He is crude, brash
and self absorbed. But as he grew and changed, so did my feelings
toward him. I began to like him and hold out hope that he would find
Another great book from Jeffrey Hickey. His humor
is limitless and his story telling is thoroughly enjoyable. Some of my
favorite chapters are the ones titled "Work In The Eighties". I won't
tell you about them here, you need to read them for yourselves.
I just finished reading Morehead by Jeffrey Hickey and loved it. The
book is laugh out loud funny at times and tender and sweet at others.
David, the main character, grew up in Malibu in the '70's and moved to
San Francisco to go to college. David experienced major culture shock.
He matures and becomes open-minded and accepting as the world around him
rapidly changes. David transitions over time from disdain for
homosexuals, into a deeper and more sensitive young man by being in the
epicenter of the early days of gay rights, sexual freedom, the start of
the AIDS epidemic, the first Gay Olympics and the trial and resulting
riot after the acquittal of the man who killed Harvey Milk. He not only
grows more accepting of others who are different to himself, but he
learns what is important in life and finds it. I lived in David's world
for a few days and thoroughly enjoyed it!
This was a delightful read that has something for everyone. It's
funny, sad and insightful. Dave Morehead is a straight college kid in
San Francisco in the late 70's surrounded by gay men and strong women. I
love Dave's openness and naivete as he navigates his relationships with
women and gay friends alike. It's a touching and informative look at
San Francisco at a time when AIDS is running rampant, expressed with
grace and warmth. I very much enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.
From The Midwest Book Review
A transitory time and a changing time. "Morehead" is a novel by Jeffrey Hickey, as he presents a straight man living in San Francisco in its turbulent time of the transition from the 1970's to the 1980's. Presenting of picture of the city's triumphs, tragedies during this rough period, "Morehead" is a strongly recommended pick for those seeking a driven depiction of the place and era, much recommended.
Morehead by Jeffrey Hickey is a rare find. It's a novel, a pseudo-memoir, that has all the markings of a low budget, self-published work (because it is) but all the potential of a book put out by a major publishing house. The book may be slightly rough around the edges (physically, like with fonts and layout choices) but don't be fooled. Beneath the surface is a story that is eminently readable. It tells the story of Dave Morehead, a young man living in San Francisco in the 1970's and 80's, a "straight young man in a gay old city" as the author puts it.
Morehead's story is told through journal entries and school assignments (here's where better formatting might have helped the story along) and is probably more than a little autobiographical from the author's own college years.
What makes Morehead truly special (besides the title, which made my partner Mike giggle like a twelve-year-old every time he heard it. "More head. Heh heh.") is the audiobook. The author was kind enough to send me the sound recording--that I believe he said he had made with his friends--and it was surprising fantastic.
I'm not always a big fan of audiobooks. I find most of them struggle to keep up with the original source material, hoping to do it justice without ruining it with bad narration or misguided accents. The good ones are able to be as good as the book but many (many) are not. It's only very rarely that I find an audiobook is actually able to improve the author's vision. But Hickey and his cast do an amazing job of breathing life into the characters and making the story accessible and cohesive.
Mary Lavers Book Blogger, Cozy Little Book Journal
Veering right away from the subject of pro football of which Jeffrey Hickey's first adult novel, The Coach's Son, centered comes this steamer of a novel, which also, centers on a young man's coming of age, although this time on a college campus that is literally swarming with gays. It is, after all, situated in one of the most homophillic of all cities, San Francisco at the height of the gay rights movement, in the late 1970's to mid-1980's. In the preface to this novel Hickey prepares the reader for the range of formats that follow, claiming that it is "abridged from the journals, notebooks, and cassettes of Dave Morehead, a straight young man living in a gay old city." Hickey prepares us for a somewhat unusual juxtaposition of a range of scenarios that are written very much tongue in cheek--from its very title Morehead, one is made aware of that fact.
In Morehead, the main protagonist reveals the inner workings of his mind and psyche as he has to become increasingly assertive and sure of his own heterosexuality while being challenged as to the authenticity of his true self. Starting out at San Francisco State University as a young adult, having just come into his majority, with an urgent need to seduce women, he finds himself in conflict with the prevailing ethos of the day. What lies ahead is a journey of self-discovery that has him striving not only to come to a deeper understanding of his own motives and intentions, but also growing in empathy and intellectual grasp of those around him, who are threatened by such devastating problems as the AIDS crisis. There are lighter moments, though, such as his experiences with bouts of temporary work that interlace the other segments of the novel.
The entire text is overlain with a continuous thread of sexual innuendo, which acts as a gel, binding the different parts of the text together. After finishing this book, I must say that I continued to see double entendre in everything that I read for a couple of days. Clearly this book is neither intended for any public library collection, nor fit for any maiden aunt's private collection (though with the latter, you never do know...). One regret that I do have about this work is that its different components are so loosely bound together that some overall coherence is lost. However, it does make for an interesting, slightly perverted, read, especially for those of slightly jaundiced mind.
I listened to Jeffrey's book 'Morehead' as I was going to bed at
night...That was a mistake. I ended up more awake than ever after
concluding a chapter and had to force myself to press the pause button
on more than one occasion in order to go to sleep. A truly wonderful
reflective and thought provoking piece of literature which is worthy
both of reading and of course listening.
Morehead by Jeffrey Hickey is a rare find. It's a novel, a
pseudo-memoir, that has all the markings of a low budget, self-published
work (because it is) but all the potential of a book put out by a major
publishing house. The book may be slightly rough around the edges
(physically, like with fonts and layout choices) but don't be fooled.
Beneath the surface is a story that is eminently readable. It tells the
story of Dave Morehead, a young man living in San Francisco in the
1970's and 80's, a "straight young man in a gay old city" as the author
Morehead's story is told through journal entries and
school assignments (here's where better formatting might have helped the
story along) and is probably more than a little autobiographical from
the author's own college years.
What makes Morehead truly special
(besides the title, which made my partner Mike giggle like a
twelve-year-old every time he heard it. "More head. Heh heh.") is the
audiobook. The author was kind enough to send me the sound
recording--that I believe he said he had made with his friends--and it
was surprising fantastic.
I'm not always a big fan of audiobooks.
I find most of them struggle to keep up with the original source
material, hoping to do it justice without ruining it with bad narration
or misguided accents. The good ones are able to be as good as the book
but many (many) are not. It's only very rarely that I find an audiobook
is actually able to improve the author's vision. But Hickey and his cast
do an amazing job of breathing life into the characters and making the
story accessible and cohesive.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy
of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing a review,
though the review did not necessarily need to be favourable, just
honest. I frequently read and review books for this reason, but I am
always very truthful (and, I hope, fair) in my reviews. Therefore any
opinions expressed are strictly my own.