Leroy Upton, the "straight white male" who is the novel’s central character, has come a long way from the sun-baked working-class neighborhood in Bakersfield where he grew up. The son of an oil-field laborer, Leroy is now a professor at a small college in Northern California. He is happily married, has three much-loved children, and close friends who share his memories and success.
But life is about to deliver a series of challenges that overturn Leroy’s hard-won serenity and threaten to destroy his marriage and his family. Leroy’s father, Earl, once so wise and invincible, is descending into the empty, helpless depths of senility, while his ill-tempered mother struggles with her own health problems. The marriage of a high school friend ends tragically. And Leroy wrestles with his own bitter secret—his fierce resentment of his beloved wife’s troubled past and of the other men who knew her before he married her.
Gerald W. Haslam, the author of Straight White Male and other award-winning titles, is professor emeritus of English at Sonoma State University. He lives in Northern California.
"A tough, courageous novel." —Gerald Rosen, author of Growing Up Bronx
"… a very funny and poignant account of three generations in a California family that is as familiar as our own next-door neighbors, and as strange as any folks we might ever meet in real life. ... The saga of his beloved nuclear family ought to be inspiring to anyone with ailing parents and wayward children. Straight White Male will make you laugh so hard you'll want to cry." —Jonah Raskin, Professor, Sonoma State University and book reviewer, Santa Rosa Press Democrat
"This superb novel confirms Gerald Haslam's standing as the most important writer to emerge from California's Central Valley (his Other California) since Steinbeck. Straight White Male is indeed the straight story of the enduring value of married love, family, friends, community, hard work, maturity, forgiveness, and basic human decency. This book makes one suspect it just may be okay again to be a man." —Gerald Locklin, Come Back, Bear and Last Tango in Long Beach