Tuesday, July 29, 2008
58. Genuine Men: Journeys in Stories and Stills by Nancy Bruno
Title: Genuine Men: Journeys in Stories and Stills
Author: Nancy Bruno
Format: Hardcover from publisher for review
Rating: 4/5 stars
Nancy Bruno saw a need; a need for positive, real, everyday male role models. Men who have risen above the obstacles of their lives and have become men that both they themselves and their families can be proud of. Out of this need, the Genuine Men Project was born. Her 35 subjects range in age from twelve to ninety-one years old, and each knows that life can be a struggle and it's not always easy to become the man that they want to be. These men aren't perfect; they have had their fair share of problems in their lives, but each has looked beyond these struggles and found a path that has worked for them.
Sometimes, the stories seem a little vague when explaining what the men have gone through and overcome in their lives to bring them to the place where they are now. While this doesn't hinder the individual storytelling process for each subject, it does make for some of the stories seeming a little incomplete, as if we're not being given the entire story.
From a design standpoint, the book is beautifully laid out with the stories flowing around Bruno's black and white photographs of her subjects. There are 2 occasions where the face of the main focus of the photo is placed across the binding, making it hard to see, but other than that, you can tell there was close attention paid to the visual look of the book. The photographs themselves are very good; they present the essence of the man and what is important in his life, be it his job, family or favorite sport.
The only thing that I would have liked to have seen done differently is a little more focus on single men who are not fathers who are still positive role models. It seemed the majority of the men out of high school were fathers. I'm not saying that this is a bad thing, far from it, but I did get the feeling that the idea of fatherhood seemed a prerequisite in being considered a "genuine" man. I don't know if Bruno had this idea in mind or not, but it was something that struck my almost halfway through the book, and I couldn't shake that feeling.
Overall, Genuine Men is obviously a labor of love for Nancy Bruno. She took these men and their stories to heart and presented a book that accomplishes what it set out to do: showing that everyday men from any number of walks of life can be a positive role model.
To find out more about The Genuine Men project, you can visit Nancy Bruno's website.