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Wayne Bien

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Member Since: May, 2008

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Hold Your Light
by Wayne Bien   

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Category: 

Gay/Lesbian/Bi

Publisher:  LuLu Type: 
Pages: 

270

Copyright:  November, 2010 ISBN-13:  9780557515813
Fiction

Rodney Blake narrates a series of stories that carry the reader on a mystical journey in self-acceptance while developing his equestrian talents.

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Rodney Blake narrates a series of stories about growing up as a weird little kid (which is what his parents’ thought of him) who didn’t play sports like his bother, but preferred to stay in his room and read, listen to records and think about the other boys in his class at Hayward Military Academy. His parents hated the music and were always telling him to turn it down. But thinking about other boys is something they hated so much that he was made to board at school and not allowed to come home as long as he was what his parents called “queer.”

 The day Rodney’s parent’s sent him away he remembers hearing his family’s maid Sophie singing that song, the one she called “Hold Your Light.” And when she got to the part where they sang people’s names she looked right at him and sang, “Hold your light brother Rodney hold your light.” He didn’t know how she knew but he figured the hold your light part had something to do with the reason his parents were sending him away.

 In the pages that follow Rodney overcomes a weight problem that was keeping him from doing the one thing he excelled at, riding horses; a sport where he finds his two mothers (his riding teacher and her partner) who raise him as their son. All the while he is influenced by a series of mystical acts preformed by a spirit (who Rodney sees as Sophie) guiding him to “Hold Your Light” on a journey of joys and sorrows in acceptance of his sexuality and the development of his equestrian abilities.


Excerpt

You know being with all these horse people was special. By the time Rocket and I won those four timber races I was in the tenth grade and it was the first time no one had called me homo or queer. They all judged me on how well I rode and didn’t seem to care if I liked other guys, or that I had two mothers.
In fact Miss Lawrence and Miss Greene were always part of the crowd. They got invited to parties the horse people had and the horse people came to their house too. Nobody seemed to care about them being two women living together.
Winning those races gave me a feeling of satisfaction and made me feel good inside just like the rain on the awnings did when I was little. But there is something else that I need to tell you about.
After that second race we won is when it happened. It was really weird and even kinda scary. ‘Cause once the race was over a storm blew up and the wind started blowing really hard. By the time it started I was walking Rocket over by the woods that were along side of the course. The wind was whipping through the trees and the branches were bending so far I was sure they were gonna break.
When we got to this one spot there was an opening and a trail that lead farther back into the woods. When the wind got to that spot it just spun so hard it made this sound like a vacuum cleaner. And that’s when I saw it. Rocket saw it too ‘cause he started going backwards just like he did that day we were riding at Miss Lawrence’s. When he finally stopped he stood real still like he wasn’t sure what to do and then he started the snorting and pawing the ground.
There was somebody standing right in that opening where the wind was blowing its hardest. I don’t know if I believe in ghost or not but I knew by then she had died. And I swear it was just like at Miss Lawrence’s. ‘Cause it looked just like Sophie and she was singing again, “Hold your Light brother Rodney. Hold your Light.”
That’s when it got scary, when she said my name but I swear it happened. If Rocket could talk he’d tell you it was true too.



Professional Reviews

5/5 STARS
Wayne Bien’s Hold Your Light is billed as a novel, work of fiction, and is dedicated to Bien’s friends whose lives have inspired this tale.



It is a narrative worth the read.



Rodney Albert Blake’s story begins in October 1955. He was seven days old. Rodney picks up the narrative a few years later as he tells of his house, his bedroom where he enjoys playing records and thinking of David and some of the other boys in his class. He does not yet realize that society is not particularly patient, kind or tolerant of either child or adult who deviates from the so called norm.



Rodney didn’t have much of a chance for normalcy, he was overweight, his parents were intolerant, his thoughts were not the so called norm. He preferred staying to himself, mainly in his own room where he listened to music his parents disliked and daydreamed of boys in his classroom, which when his parents realized they disliked even more.



A few bright spots were present in Rodney’s life, Sophie, his grandparents colored maid was a kindly soul, Grandfather, an artistic man was loving and horses helped to keep Rodney grounded and feeling that life was worth living. His growing awareness of his own body and his attraction to members of his own sex coupled with little understanding that societal mores were against either were soon going to cause Rodney much grief.



From a child living at home in an environment filled with rigid traditions Rodney came to understand that his parents could not fathom, or agree with his feelings; he was sent to a military boarding school and was not permitted to return home.



Rodney’s introduction to the boarding school came as he was taken to the resident psychiatrist, a Doctor Barnes who asked a point blank, -are you queer?- Followed with the notation that since Rodney admitted he likely was, the school would feel little need to protect him from fellow students.



Getting used to a southern accent and mannerisms, learning why being –queer- is so troubling to so many, and learning that his parents had effectively abandoned him to the school and whatever he might face, being sent back to his first military school as a boarder, renewing old friendship, meeting a horse who would help to change his life, meeting a teacher who would be part of the change of his life, moving from school to a farm, and papers from his parents releasing their custody of him are all a part of Rodney’s story.



Writer Bien has crafted an easy reading tale sure to appeal to youngsters who may be in search of their own gender identity. I can see a place for Hold Your Light on the counselor’s shelf, as well as in the public library and even in many progressive school libraries. I might venture that many, if not most of us do in fact know a Rodney or two, teachers face a wide range of youngsters as the years go by. I suspect that young gender troubled students have sat under the tutelage of many of us whether we choose to accept or believe so.



Hold Your Light is a well written, fast moving work having a few grammar or typo type problems which in no way detract or prevent enjoyment of the work.



Happy to recommend Wayne Bien’s Hold Your Light for the YA audience, middle to upper grade and high school students, counselors, and parents who may suspect their own child may have gender issues and do not know how to broach or talk to their child as well as any segment of readers who know little of gender issues and are willing to read with an open mind.



I plan to offer my own paperback copy to our school counselor where I think the work may well fit into a counseling program.

Reviewed by Molly’s Reviews

molly martin



5 Star Review
Rodney Albert Blake is a character. I don't simply mean that Rodney is a character in Hold Your Light, the newest piece of autobiographical fiction written by novelist Wayne Bien. I mean Rodney is a character, and quite frankly the world needs more characters. Hold Your Light is not only a charming read, but also a message for kids struggling at a young age with the choice of homosexuality.

Rodney's a cool kid, quirky, and intelligent. While horses are a huge part of his life, his weight problem leaves him spending the bulk of his time reading in bed, listening to music, and thinking about his classmates. Not all of his classmates, just the boys. This is something that his parents won't abide, and are simply not prepared to raise a gay child. Much to Rodney's pleasure he is sent to an all boys military academy. That will fix him.

Hold Your Light is an inspiring, coming of age story told quickly and without regrets. Rodney's journey toward manhood is helped along by a number of generous adults seemingly eager to help, or at least straighten him out. Following a short stint at a Southern military academy, Rodney returns to his first school and boyfriend, and discovers Rocket. Rocket is a gorgeous horse that has a remarkable affect on Rodney’s self-confidence.

Rodney is not the clichéd “queer” boy you might expect, but rather the first to throw a punch, and the only student with the courage to mount Rocket. Not unlike Rodney, Rocket is known to throw a punch or two himself.

Rocket changes Rodney and his new found confidence is undeniable. This is a very well written, fun read that can be enjoyed by readers of any age.

Todd Rutherford
GettingBookReviews.com



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Reader Reviews for "Hold Your Light"

Reviewed by m j hollingshead 9/19/2010
5/5 STARS


Writer Bien has crafted an easy reading tale sure to appeal to youngsters who may be in search of their own gender identity.

I can see a place for Hold Your Light on the counselor’s shelf, as well as in the public library and even in many progressive school libraries. I might venture that many, if not most of us do in fact know a Rodney or two, teachers face a wide range of youngsters as the years go by. I suspect that young gender troubled students have sat under the tutelage of many of us whether we choose to accept or believe so.

Hold Your Light is a well written, fast moving work having a few grammar or typo type problems which in no way detract or prevent enjoyment of the work.

Happy to recommend Wayne Bien’s Hold Your Light for the YA audience, middle to upper grade and high school students, counselors, and parents who may suspect their own child may have gender issues and do not know how to broach or talk to their child as well as any segment of readers who know little of gender issues and are willing to read with an open mind.

I plan to offer my own paperback copy to our school counselor where I think the work may well fit into a counseling program.



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