Wordsmith. Writer. Author. Larry Benjamin.

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Words, You See, Are the Thing


What Binds Us



 
What Binds Us

"...the book is a delight, sure to engage and satisfy readers.  Thomas is an endearing, eloquent narrator, and his story skips along with hope and passion..." -- Kirkus Reviews


When 17 year old Thomas Edward meets the man of his dreams, he assumes they'll be together forever.  When their relationship ends abruptly, he learns that sometimes it's in an ending that we find our beginning.

At 17 Thomas-Edward escapes southern New Jersey and the tyranny of his parents love thinking he is ready for his life to begin, thinking he is ready for anything.  Anything quickly arrives in the form of one Donovan Dion “Dondi” Whyte, his freshman roommate at the University of Pennsylvania.  Dondi, who is like no one he has ever met before, in his own words: “Dondi became my guide, my Virgil, on my personal odyssey of self-discovery. I remember our freshman year so clearly. I wore Chanel For Men and he wore an ankle-length black wool cape with a hood. He swept around campus like Batman. I, Robin more often than not, trailed in his glamorous wake. Over Christmas break I sent him a card that stated a simple truth: ‘This Robin misses his Batman’.”

Dondi introduces Thomas him into “a looking-glass world in which everything was familiar yet larger, more exquisite, more precious than anything he had ever known.”  Dondi is stunningly wealthy, sophisticated, passionate, urbane—everything Thomas has dreamed of loving.  They fall in love but the relationship fails.  They remain uneasy friends.  Their fragile relationship is threatened when Thomas falls in love with Matthew, Dondi’s younger brother.

Deeply emotional,
What Binds Us is the story of three young men who discover a love that both unites and separates them.  Theirs is a world of privilege and love, a world of their own making that begins to unravel despite their shared love and best efforts.  The character-driven story is set in Philadelphia and Long Island.  Spanning a decade from the late 70s to the late 80s it plays out against the devastation of the AIDS crisis:  “The reign of the Queen was over; the Snap Divas had folded their hands and gone quietly to the gym, replacing gestures with muscle… The nation for which Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” had been a dance anthem, was now, a dying nation.  It was the age of AIDS.” 

Larry wrote What Binds Us after seeing Jonathan Demme's Philadelphia. Find out why at JoeyPinkney.com

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