Bear Me Safely Over by Sheri Joseph

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Set in urban and rural Georgia, Sheri Joseph's remarkably assured debut explores the interior lives of two families soon to be linked by a marriage. Bear Me Safely Over tackles dark themes -- a young daughter dying of AIDS, the menace of homophobia, the splintering of families, the discordant voice of religious fundamentalism -- but at its core it is a hopeful portrait of the different and often elusive faces of salvation. When Sidra and Curtis, two twenty-somethings with a magnetic bond that neither fully understands, impulsively decide to make their relationship permanent, the two form an arch connecting their fractured families. Sidra has already lost a sister to the fatal allure of drugs, and now Curtis's young stepbrother, Paul, a lonely and defiant outsider, seems to be drifting out of control. As Paul tests the boundaries of his world and explores his sexuality, Curtis reacts with disgust, while Sidra finds herself overwhelmed by a fierce need to protect and care for him. By the book's exquisite conclusion, no character is left untouched by the challenge of having to choose between guiding and thwarting troubled souls in their precarious passage to firmer ground. Summoning a diverse and provocative chorus of voices, Sheri Joseph fashions a subtle and affecting exploration of the sacrifices we must make to be our brothers' keepers, and the consequences of refusing to do so. Bear Me Safely Over offers up a kaleidoscopic vision of the common secrets and sorrows at the heart of a community that will have readers looking at all relationships with new eyes. "Sheri Joseph writes with the sure hand of a craftsman and she sees with the heart of a poet." -- James Kilgo, author of Daughter of My People "Her prose shimmers while her vision leads the reader deep into the secrets of human love and desire." -- Erin McGraw, author of Lies of the Saints

About Sheri Joseph

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Sheri Joseph's first book was a cycle of stories, Bear Me Safely Over. She lives in Atlanta, where she teaches in the creative writing program at Georgia State University and serves as fiction editor of "Five Points,
Published January 1, 2002 by New York: Atlantic,. 259 pages
Genres: Gay & Lesbian, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Proceeding in understated, cautious prose and without clear purpose, her debut only eventually settles its sympathies on the young and gay Paul, who, after being arrested for prostitution, is welcomed into Sidra and her mother’s home so that, removed from small-town bigotry and embracing true lov...

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Publishers Weekly

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Curtis is disgusted by Paul's behavior, but Sidra, who earlier lost a sister to AIDS, longs to protect Paul.

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