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Review: 'Never Turn Your Back on the Tide: (Or, How I Married a Lying, Psychopathic Wannabe Murderer and Kinda Lived to Tell)' is Gripping, Triumphant

by Christopher Verleger
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Sep 11, 2020
Review: 'Never Turn Your Back on the Tide: (Or, How I Married a Lying, Psychopathic Wannabe Murderer and Kinda Lived to Tell)' is Gripping, Triumphant

Tom Stoppard said, "Every exit is an entry somewhere else."

I don't expect the renowned playwright knew Kergan Edwards-Stout personally or had him in mind when he coined that phrase, yet it perfectly encapsulates the trials and tribulations depicted in the author's gripping, triumphant memoir, "Never Turn Your Back on the Tide (Or, How I Married a Lying, Psychopathic Wannabe-Murderer and Kinda Lived to Tell)."

Edwards-Stout's previous written works include the novel "Song for the New Depression," and the short story collection "Gifts Not Yet Given." Before settling on a writing career, the author cut his teeth in the entertainment industry on both stage and screen, crossing paths with the likes of Jennifer Beals and Jack Black. His compelling, uplifting memoir is a chronological catalog of significant events — interspersed with amusing and inspiring life lessons — that recount his erratic career path and complicated relationships.

His story begins with his childhood. He describes his mother, Dottie, as Beth Jarrett from "Ordinary People" (coldly portrayed in the film by Mary Tyler Moore), which immediately sets the tone for his upbringing. Early on, Kergan knew not only that he was attracted to men (and not ashamed of it), but also that he wanted to work in the performing arts. His father, Fred, is warm and accepting, yet overshadowed by Dottie, who repeatedly rejects her young son's animated ways.

Having come of age amidst the AIDS crisis, the author relays his time spent as a dedicated volunteer and activist in Southern California, when he meets an actor, Shane, who is HIV-positive. After dating for a short while Kergan moves in with him and becomes his caregiver as the disease takes its toll. Understandably, Shane's death has a profound effect on Kergan, yet much to his surprise, a year later he finds himself head-over-heels in love with a former acquaintance he ominously refers to as Eyes.

Without giving away too much detail, let it suffice to say Eyes turns out to be a proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing, and that's putting it mildly. Kergan acknowledges that he may have overlooked some obvious red flags, but when he finally sees the writing on the wall, walking away and starting over isn't an option because of their adopted son, Marcus. As a devoted father determined to protect and provide for his child, Kergan reluctantly goes through the motions of keeping the peace with Eyes until he is certain that Marcus is legally his.

"Never Turn Your Back on the Tide" is a brutally honest, captivating work. The shocking sequence of events, coupled with the author's eloquence and candor, gives the reader unfiltered access to his failures and accomplishments. The result is a quintessential page-turner, impossible to put down, that invokes genuine feelings of compassion and concern for the narrator's well-being. Now a father of two with his husband, Russ, Kergan Edwards-Stout ends this chapter of his life on the highest of notes.


"Never Turn Your Back on the Tide (Or, How I Married a Lying, Psychopathic, Wannabe-Murderer and Kinda Lived to Tell)"
by Kergan Edwards-Stout
$16.99
www.kerganedwards-stout.com

Chris is a voracious reader and unapologetic theater geek from Narragansett, Rhode Island.


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