Review ‘Since I laid my burden down’

  • Author: Brontez Purnell
  • Publishing year: 2017 (reprint 2021)
  • Publisher: Cipher Press
  • Number of Pages: 154
  • ISBN: 978-1838390006
  • My rating: 4/5

Blurb (from website publisher):

A riotous, hilarious, and heart-breaking cult novel about growing up black, queer, and punk.

When DeShawn hears news of his uncle’s death, his riotous big-city life in San Francisco is abruptly put on hold while he travels back to his Alabama hometown for the funeral.

While there, he’s hit by flashbacks of growing up queer and black in the ‘80s South, of a youth filled with strong women, bewildered boys, and messed up queers. Wading through prickly reminders of his childhood, of sweltering Sundays, church, family, and the men he once knew, DeShawn reconnects with his old self and the ghosts of his past.

A raw, dirty, hilarious, and heartbreaking novel about the experiences that shape us, Since I Laid My Burden Down asks the intimate question: who deserves love?

Brontez Purnell’s since I laid my Burden down

My review:

Last year I read 100 Boyfriends by Brontez Purnell so when I saw this edition of ‘Since I laid my Burden down’ I knew I had to have it. As with the previous novel, this is a slutty, punk, promiscuous sin of a book and it is delicious.

Where it differs from ‘100 Boyfriends’ is that here we have one main character (semi autobiographical?) Deshawn, a black queer man living in San Francisco. He is called from his hometown in Alabama, where his uncle died and he is asked to come for the funeral. And this sets in motion a lot of emotions for DeShawn, because his history is told through memories and the many sexual encounters he had in his life.

The way Brontez describes these encounters is exhilarating but also very confrontational because sex has become a way of living. From abuse to not caring about having an STD and still f**ing around, to suicide and bad mental health and drug abuse… the themes alternate between those… both books have these themes, by the way! It’s fun to read about them but I can only hope us queer people have learned to behave in real life


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