Born in 1921, William Bryant was a
Navy pilot in World War II, served as mayor of a small town, surviving
financial setbacks, divorce, and the death of his son. Now in his
nineties, he relates his experiences with an engaging style, a
prodigious memory, and a healthy dose of humor.
When World War II broke out, Bryant was keen to become a Navy pilot. Color-blind, he dodged some of the rules and learned to fly, seeing combat in Saipan and Okinawa. Returning home to Summerville, West Virginia, he got a corporate job and was elected mayor. Married and enjoying a solid middle class life, the author relished his success until setbacks and missteps forced him to resign both his position as mayor and then his job, after almost twenty-five years of service. Secretly he planned his suicide, but a mysterious vision at the last minute stopped him. After a divorce and another short-lived career, he took to rambling, spending some rather wild years in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The unexpected death of his son was a crushing blow, eventually leading to his resettlement in the US and an “uncharted future.”
Bryant writes about himself in the third person (Bill), possibly to create emotional distance as he divulges secrets, including encounters involving gay sex. Such activities and proclivities were not socially accepted when Bill was young and in his prime; it’s clear he often battled with his feelings, trying to conduct his public life for the benefit of all concerned. Now in his nineties, he can openly confide his recollections, and does so with wit and charm.
Sex! Success! Screwed! is the honest, straightforward story of a long life fully lived (and not over yet), with important revelations for those born in later, less repressive times.
RECOMMENDED by the US Review