Jobert E. Abueva is author of the multi-award-winning Boy Wander - A Coming of Age Memoir (Rattling Good Yarns Press) released in May 2023.
He is Lambda Literary's 2022 inaugural winner of the J. Michael Samuel Prize for Emerging Writers Over 50. He is also recipient of the Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation Literary Award for historical LGBTQ+ short fiction (“Postmortem”) as well as two National Arts Club literary scholarships for non-fiction. He was named winner of the Writer’s Advice 2021 Flash Memoir contest (“Manila, 1970”).
His essay, "How to Forgo a Best Friend" is featured in the spring 2023 Beyond Queer Words anthology. His short story, “Land of Opportunity” was published in the Harrington Gay Men’s Fiction Quarterly and his front-page business exposé on “Return of the Native Executive” was featured in The New York Times Management Reader (Times Books). He is former managing editor of The Bucks County Writer literary magazine produced by the then Writers Room of Bucks County in Doylestown. Jobert is also a winning storyteller having performed on the 'Word of Mouth' stage at the Bucks County Playhouse Theater. His writings have appeared in multiple publications including The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Newsweek Japan, Fortune, Entrepreneur, Poetry Nippon and most recently The Philadelphia Inquirer where eight of his op-ed pieces are among the paper’s most read pieces in 2021, 2022 and 2023.
BOY WANDER A COMING OF AGE MEMOIR
BY JOBERT E. ABUEVA
Boy Wonder by Day. Boy Toy by Night.
A child TV personality from a prominent Filipino family and the son of an accomplished academic, Jobert Abueva was a high achiever at his all-boys Catholic international school in Tokyo, Japan. Whatever Jobert did, he had to be the best, racking up achievements. He was a favorite among his fellow students, who elected him three times to the Student Council as class president, vice president, and president. Jobert was a triple all-star winner on the brain bowl interschool academic competition, debate, and speech teams, as well as a varsity track hero. He wrote for the school newspaper and yearbook and performed in school plays. A golden boy who could do no wrong. But Jobert had a secret nobody could know. After school, he led a clandestine existence turning tricks with foreign male guests at Tokyo’s world-renowned Imperial Hotel. So it’s not surprising that he had to be the best and was handsomely paid for it. More exciting and better pay than waiting tables. A BMOC (Big Man on Campus), he juggled dual identities of boy wonder and boy toy, sure that if exposed, he would be shunned by his friends and devastate all who groomed him for greatness.
Boy Wander is an intimate coming-of-age portrait of the author’s sexuality as seen through the eyes of a child of the 1960s and 70s and a teenager before the advent of AIDS and finally as a young man arriving in America. From Manila, Kathmandu, Bangkok, and Tokyo to New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, the author navigates denial and acceptance, erotic and unconditional love, transience, and transnationalism. Even as the world has become more accepting over the decades, this book’s present-day relevance provides inspiration to those struggling to reconcile family values and societal expectations with being true to themselves.
Praise for Boy Wander: A Coming of Age Memoir
Boy Wander is heartbreaking, painfully poignant, and a memoir of hope and survival. Jobert Abueva takes the reader from the sun-drenched landscapes of 1970’s Martial Law-era Philippines to the early-1980s United States, under the rule of Reagan and a culture fearful of gay identity. One part a migration narrative across Asia during turbulent times, and another part a coming-of-age tale about accepting oneself despite the questioning stares of the world around them. Boy Wander is a story of a different place and time, and one that I won’t soon forget.
—J.R. Jamison, award-winning author of Hillbilly Queer and host of the NPR podcast The Facing Project
Boy Wander (by Jobert E. Abueva) is a richly vivid, fast-paced coming-of-age novel–beautifully written with a narrative voice that matures as the narrator does. Recounting poignant episodes from his childhood and youth in the Philippines, Nepal, Thailand, the United States, and most especially Japan (where teenage Abueva becomes a call-boy), Abueva demonstrates the universality of the coming-out struggle even with its infinite, personal variations of inner turmoil and gradual awakening, of innocent and sometimes shame-inducing explorations. A thought-provoking and touching read.
—Daniel M. Jaffe, author of Foreign Affairs: Male Tales of Lust & Love
"The book (Boy Wander) is a wonder of its kind. First we can immerse ourselves in the mores of many Asian locals of the period. We witness the certitude of a young boy’s / young man’s sexual maturation and self-assurance."
—Rainbow Book Reviews
VIDEO TRAILER OF
BOY WANDER A COMING OF AGE MEMOIR
JOBERT E. ABUEVA
Must read the memoir of coming ages; an overwhelming story comes from an individual supporting the Asian American and LGBTQIA+ community. In this memoir, the author portrays the heartfelt struggles and challenges faced by an individual in a harsh society.