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Common Sons

"Click on image to go to Ronald L. Donaghe site."

Reviewer: Duane Mac Simolke PhD

Honest and needed!, January 16, 2001
This book will upset people whose childhood included rejection by their parents or their classmates. It will upset people who think everyone should look, think, and act alike. It will even upset people who know the satisfaction of treating everyone with dignity and respect. In other words, this book will disturb countless readers. Why? Because Ronald Donaghe offers such an honest and detailed look at two boys who fall in love with each other in a staunchly anti-gay New Mexico town.

Despite the novel's many portrayals of negative and even violent responses to the love between Tom and Joel, Donaghe delivers an ultimately inspiring tale of how two people can overcome the obstacles that could deter their happiness and honesty. This book can give hope to the many gays who still fear being themselves, and it can give hope to the many older gays who worry that their young counterparts will always face nothing but hatred and violence. But its appeal isn't limited to gays; nongays might read it to understand people who are different from themselves, or just because they like reading a well-written and exciting novel.


Reviewer: R.Parklane (Taipeh, Taiwan)

Simply Heart Warming, July 23, 2002 -
I finished this book last night and reread the favourite scenes. It only took a day because I could not put it down when I started yesterday morning. I just have to find out what happen to Joel and Tom next and so I just continue reading..reading...Joel and Tom are such beautiful young men that you just cry and cheer for them as they overcome all odds to be together. Their love for each other is so heart felt that you know they just have to be together. The side characters, Doughlas and Eva are great too but one wonder if parents will be that supportive if they find out about Joel's love when Joel is their only son. However this is a friction and should have brightness, happiness and hope in it. Personally I dread tragedies and try to avoid books which give you just that. A beautiful love story and I just wish to keep reading about Joel and Tom. Donaghe, thank you for creating Joel and Tom.


Reviewer: Jamilla L. Geter "starfire72577" (Philadelphia, Pa)

Pefect Read, July 26, 2006 -
Ever since I read the description for Common Sons I knew it was a book I wanted to read. I was definitely not disappointed. From the opening scene the story of Joel and Tom is riveting and well told. It's worth reading just to find out what happens next. I felt Tom's struggle and Joel's as well as they strived to be together in a world that wanted to destroy them. I can't wait to read more about them in Blind Season. I feel like I know them now and I love them both.

The subplot was great too. The story of the Stroud family is sad and tragic and the story all comes together in beautiful harmony. Anyone who loves coming out fiction will love this book. I couldn't put it down and I think it was the simplicity that got me. It's just wonderful. I think I will have to make a habit of reading it again, at least once a year or every few months.


Reviewer: W. Parks -

Great read.
What's up with 1965?, July 25, 2006 The first thing I immediately started to compare this book to was Brokeback Mountain. With all of the farm and rural talk, I wanted to scream Jack & Ennis as I began to read the story. I must say that I was completely wrong (for the most part) and Donaghe managed to keep me thoroughly engaged throughout.

While there are some parts that have become cliché for many gay novels (we've got another obsessively homophobic closet-case in Paul Romaine), Donaghe manages to throw in a good amount of dramatic twists to keep things fresh. I also liked the use of religious diversity throughout; the conversations about God/soul/life sound very similar to thoughts that often bounce around in my head and amongst my circle of friends.

The biggest question I had as I read this was why set it in 1965? Aside from a few references to JFK and WWII, the story didn't seem to be affected in any way by the time period. There are many parts in the US today where homophobia runs rampant. All in all, if you are a fan of novels centering around coming out, you'll definitely be happy after reading this.


Ronald L. Donaghe was raised on a farm in southern New Mexico. The setting for many of his novels involves the desert and the mountains of New Mexico. He is a master at evoking the stark beauty and sheer majesty of such settings--but also the unforgiving and harsh side.

He is a technical writer and novelist from New Mexico. He has been published by Dutton, Edward William Publishing Company, New Mexico Council for the Arts, Xlibris Corporation and by Writer’s Club Press (an imprint of iUniverse.com). His growing body of work includes essays in three anthologies, a book of essays, two novels, and a full-length autobiography. He has a cat without a tail, and he read comics when he was young... two things he'll rarely admit in polite company.

Ronald L. Donaghe is the author of several novels, including those in the series: Common Threads in the Life (which includes the best-selling COMMON SONS), the series: The Continuing Journals of Will Barnett, which includes UNCLE SEAN, LANCE, and this book. In addition, the first book in his fantasy trilogy was published in 2002.


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