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Breakfast with Scot

A Novel

List Price: $13.95

January 8, 2008 | Paperback | 5 x 8, 208 Pages | ISBN 9781593761868
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"Scot [is] one of the great child creations of recent literature—a dainty, prepubescent Holden Caulfield with a thing for neckerchiefs." —Salon

Sam and Ed lead the high life. Sam is a successful chiropractor; Ed edits an Italian art magazine. Devoted to one another, they see no reason to add to their happy twosome.

Then eleven-year-old Scot’s mother dies, nudging Sam and Ed to make good on a wine-soaked promise made years before. Thus begins the couple’s entry into parenthood. They hang a tire swing in the front yard, rearrange the furniture and their work schedules, call the local school to enroll Scot—all the usual arrangements.

But Scot is anything but usual. The tween wears makeup and lacy socks to school, gets called “sissy.” Suddenly Sam and Ed face parental issues that force them to confront the fissures in their own relationship and to examine the compromises they’ve made to live in a predominantly straight society.

Breakfast with Scot is a joyride into the unknown, a fast-paced comic novel with resonance for everyone trying to raise children in a relentlessly sophisticated culture that still grapples with elementary definitions of “family.”

MICHAEL DOWNING is the author of Spring Forward and the BookSense pick Shoes Outside the Door, as well as four novels, including Perfect Agreement and Narrow Time. He teaches creative writing at Tufts University and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


“Scot [is] one of the great child creations of recent literature—a dainty, prepubescent Holden Caulfield with a thing for neckerchiefs.” —Salon

“A middle-aged gay couple’s misadventure in parenting is the subject of this wisecrack-laden fourth novel by the author of Mother of God (1990)… The best moments here depict Scots effect on his guardians’ extended family of varyingly deranged friends and on his ‘normal’ schoolmates (who hassle him mercilessly and would doubtless prefer to burn him at the stake). The TV movie ought to be fun. And with the (really rather endearing) figure of Scot, some lucky young actor will have the flamboyant role of a lifetime.” —Kirkus

“Witty and poignant, Breakfast with Scot is a hilariously sweet take on the woes and joys of parenthood as seen through the eyes of a gay couple. When Sam’s sister-in-law dies, he and Ed agree to raise her 11-year-old son. An unusual boy in an even more unusual situation, Scot throws Sam and Ed’s life into complete disarray. And when Scot begins to show his more flamboyant side — wearing makeup and lacy socks to school — Sam and Ed begin to question their own relationship, their abilities as parents, and the compromises they have made in order to live quietly within a predominantly straight society. Downing’s prose is lively, quick, and vivid, yet his characters do not suffer from his humorous treatment of their lives. Sam, Ed, and Scot each contain an emotional depth normally absent in the characters of farcical comedy. Through the relationship of Scot, Sam, and Ed, Downing explores what it truly means to be a family, compassionately contrasting familial stereotypes with the realities of family life and showing how it feels to be a boy who doesn’t quite fit into the role society has prepared for him.” —Booklist

“This heartwarming tale nobly defines and describes a potent, realistic new configuration of contemporary American family values.” —Publishers Weekly

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