A Fool Among Fools
On the morning of May 27, 1986 (his twenty-ninth birthday), Michael Gregoretti drags himself out of bed to face yet another day at his dead-end job as Junior Copywriter at Malcolm, a big New York ad agency. All signs point toward a lifetime of drudgery, unappreciated, creatively stifled, and alone. He’s already lost one boyfriend because of depression from his lousy job, and he can’t seem to get assignments that will build up a decent portfolio—the only way he can see to get out of there.
Just when it looks like he might finally get his chance to shine, he’s paired up with Gwen Hammond, the supervisor from hell. Oh well, at least there’s Craig—beautiful, accomplished Craig, who seems absolutely smitten, but sometimes forgets to call…for weeks. Is it really too much to ask for to have work that he can be proud of and pays the bills and someone to love? Can Michael move past the mess of his twenties and find some happiness in life?
My life experience is pretty far from that of a twenty-something gay man in 1986 New York, but Michael was an extremely relatable character nonetheless. Most of us have experienced the ups and downs of relationship drama and that lonely ache to just find that one person who can make all your other problems fade away. Many have also faced ethical dilemmas at work, suffered massive personality clashes with authority figures, and just generally know the pain of clawing your way up the career ladder.
Michael has a good family and friends who love and support him, and while they were all there, it really feels like the story belongs to Michael alone. And I’m okay with that. Engaging writing swept me along in this year-in-the-life-of story and I felt, along with Michael, the hopes, fears, small accomplishments, frustrations, and just generally the whirlwind of feelings that are part of life.
John S. Terracuso