The World of Normal Boys

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The World of Normal Boys
AuthorK.M. Soehnlein
(Karl Soehnlein)
CountryUnited States
GenreGay fiction
PublisherKensington Books
Publication date
September 8, 2000
August 1, 2001
Media typePaperback and hardback
Pages282 pp (United States paperback first edition)

The World of Normal Boys, published in 2001, is the debut novel of K.M. Soehnlein (Karl Soehnlein). The coming-of-age story centers on 13-year-old Robin MacKenzie, who discovers that he is unlike most other adolescent males. The book became a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller and won the Lambda Literary Award.[1]


The book is written in the present tense. It's 1978, New Jersey: Saturday Night Fever and Grease are big. 13-year-old Robin MacKenzie is caught in a triangular relationship with next-door neighbor Todd Spicer and classmate Scott Schatz.

Robin develops a fascination for 17-year-old neighbor Todd who, despite often teasing him, initiates a sexual relationship with the younger boy, whom Todd invites to a party after which they go swimming on a golf course. Robin further forms a close bond with fellow freshman Scott Schatz, whose father is physically abusive. Robin learns that, two years earlier, Todd and Scott were involved in a sexual relationship. Robin is troubled by this, but his relationship with Scott is ultimately unaffected.

During the novel, Robin's younger brother Jackson dies some time after falling from a slide and breaking his neck, an incident Robin blames himself for although it isn't anyone's fault. As a result Robin's family begins to break down: his father becomes violent towards Robin, and Robin's longstanding bond with his mother begins to be affected. His younger sister Ruby becomes religious and also closer to Robin.



  • Robin MacKenzie – A sexually confused 13-year-old, just entering high school, trying to put his life back together after starting relationships with two boys who have been in a relationship themselves two years earlier
  • Jackson MacKenzie – Robin's adventurous 11-year-old younger brother who falls from a slide, an incident that puts the family in turmoil
  • Ruby MacKenzie – Robin's 12-year-old sister, after the accident, she becomes religious and closer to Robin as he protects her from their bullying cousin, Larry
  • Dorothy McKenzie – Robin, Ruby, and Jackson's mom; she takes Robin on "City Days" where they spend a day in New York City
  • Clark McKenzie – Robin, Ruby, and Jackson's dad; he tries to spend time with Robin, although Robin would rather do so with his mother, so Clark spends his time with Jackson; he has what is probably the hardest time with Jackson's accident
  • Larry – Robin, Ruby, and Jackson's oafish cousin, who loves teasing Ruby and provoking Robin
  • Corinne – Robin, Ruby, and Jackson's kindly aunt; Stan's wife, whom he regularly verbally abuses, and Larry's mom
  • Stan – Robin, Ruby, and Jackson's loud and obnoxious uncle; Larry's dad; he inadvertently gets Dorothy drunk at a Super Bowl party
  • Todd Spicer – Robin's 17-year-old next-door neighbor and Victoria's older brother
  • Victoria Spicer – Todd's cute younger sister, whom Robin shares a friendship. The two share a love of Grease, Saturday Night Fever, and Mork and Mindy
  • Mr. Spicer – Todd and Victoria's dad; unseen character who, as Victoria once said, "beat the shit out of Todd" when Todd wanted to quit school
  • Mrs. Spicer – Todd and Victoria's mom; also unseen, but known to be picky about cleanliness
  • Scott Schatz – One of Robin's classmates whom Robin becomes infatuated with
  • Daniel Schatz – Scott's late brother, whose death he blames on himself
  • Mr. Schatz – Scott's dad, abusive towards Scott
  • Mrs. Schatz – Scott's mom, who is living in a mental institution


  • Mr. Cortez – The school guidance counselor
  • Billy Danniman – One of Robin and Scott's classmates. Regularly bullies Robin. Has the nickname "Long Dong" Danniman
  • Seth Carter – Another of Robin and Scott's classmates; a friend of Danniman
  • Ethan – One of Todd's friends
  • Tully – Another of Todd's friends
  • Debbie Staley – A girl whom is rumored that Todd has impregnated


  1. ^ Gonzalez Cerna, Antonio (9 July 2001). "13th Annual Lambda Literary Awards". Lambda Literary.

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