At sixteen, Keith Fleming is so miserably defiant that he is locked in an adolescent mental hospital. Filled with despair, Keith's life is literally saved by his uncle, the writer Edmund White. Keith soon finds himself transformed as Uncle Ed arranges treatment for Keith's disfiguring acne, enrolls him in prep school, and instructs his nephew in a worldly view of life and love. Meanwhile, Uncle Ed is both strapped for cash and completely caught up in the beehive of social and sexual activity of 1970s gay Manhattan.
By turns lyrical, funny, and poignant, The Boy with the Thorn in His Side is full of fascinating characters and unexpected twists -- at once an odyssey into the extremes of the American 1970s, a universal tale of star-crossed teenage love, and an account of a deeply sensitive young person's struggle to find his place in the world.