Cover Photo obtained from

Cover Photo obtained from


Author: K C Carlton

Type of Book: Paperback

Length: 205 pages

Genre: Fiction, Adult, Drama, LGBT Fiction

Publisher: Mandrill Press

Publication Date: 11-26-2013

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a paperback copy of this book through the Goodreads First Reads program.

* This book is not suitable for readers under the age of 18 due to graphic sexual content and adult situations.

I am not sure whether to classify this book as fiction or non-fiction. In fact, the author wasn’t really sure either. However, since James Carlton is not the real name of the person this book is about I guess that is why this book must be classified as fiction.

In 2011 the author’s brother died at the age of 68, leaving behind a laptop with his memoirs on it. A private investigator was hired to discover if the memoirs were real and his response was that the memoirs were true as far as Jimmy remembered them. He states that the details may not be 100% accurate, but they are accurate as far as Jimmy remembered them.

This is the story about James (Jimmy) Carlton. The story begins when he is 18 in the 1950s in England and details his struggles with his sexuality. It also contains graphic descriptions of his introduction to the act of sexual intercourse and more.

In today’s society Jimmy would be labelled a bisexual, but that word did not even exist in the 1950s.

He wrote with great detail (a bit too much detail in my opinion) about his sexual experiences which is why I say that this book is not suitable for children. In fact, it is probably too graphic for many adults. * Note* These sex scenes are sometimes homosexual encounters and sometimes heterosexual encounters, but they all take place between consenting adults.

However, this book is not just about sex. It is an interesting look at the changing views of society over time and it is a frank look into the life of an actor during a very turbulent era.

– I’m not sure if I should add a spoiler alert heading to this review because nothing I write gives away any more of the story than what is written on the back cover of the book. But if you are a purest and do not want any information given away I suggest first that you do not read the book description on the back cover, and second that you do not read any further into this review.

James moved to California in the 1960s and began a successful (and very lucrative) career as an actor. After a few trysts with men his sexual preference changed to solely women and he had more than his fair share of sexual exploits. James had finally come into his own, or so he thought. He avoided the stereotype of the actor who finds himself hooked on drugs and/or alcohol. In fact, Jimmy was in exceptional shape, ate a healthy diet and was the very definition of “physically fit”.

But Jimmy’s life was not predictable. He could have remained in California and lived comfortably for the rest of his life. In fact, he had enough money that he could easily have settled into comfortable retirement in his Venice Beach home. Instead he decided he wanted to travel throughout the United States.

One October day while driving in Arizona, Jimmy experienced chest pains and shortness of breath.

Those chest pains set off a chain of events that should have resulted in his death. (Read the book, you’ll see that the heart attack was minor compared to what happened in the next few minutes).

This near-death experience changed his life. “So there I was, early forties, a millionaire a few times over, starting on a new life with not a care in the world if you discount the knowledge that never quite left me that a man whose had one heart attack that no-one can explain can have another.”

Jimmy ends up a lay brother in a California monastery. Who could have predicted the path his life would take? Certainly not Jimmy.

I found this book absolutely fascinating. The fact that it is labelled as fiction does not matter. Is it fact or fiction? I’m still not completely sure, but it is definitely an interesting (an eye-opening) read.

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐


More information about this author can be found on the Mandrill Press website or at


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