The Rain May Pass


Non-Fiction - Memoir
198 Pages
Reviewed on 12/14/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

The Rain May Pass is a nonfiction gay, coming of age memoir written by Alan Shayne. They had always gone to Cape Cod for the summer. It was something Alan remembered as an integral part of his life growing up. The small house in the back of his aunt and uncle’s property was such an amazing escape from the hot summers of Brookline, where their apartment had views of the city’s truck traffic and three gas stations. When he was 15, however, things were different. His aunt and uncle were dead, and the little caretaker’s cottage had been torn down. Alan’s mom and dad were spending the summer in Brookline, but they were sending him to the Cape to help his grandmother in her shop for three months. Alan was aghast at the idea. His grandmother was cold and harsh, and the concept of long hours spent with her seemed untenable. His protests fell on deaf ears. While his mom was sympathetic, as she had her own history with the irritable and irritating Mrs. Schein, his dad was adamant. His mother needed the help, and Alan would benefit from the cooler Cape Cod weather. The boarding house where his grandmother roomed was old, in a bad part of town, and depressing. The B&B where they ate was filled with middle-aged and older couples. Was this what his summer would be like? Alan wondered if he would finally find some kids his age to hang out and go to the beach with. But this summer would prove to be far different than Alan could have believed. There was magic in the air that summer in Cape Cod, and it was waiting for him.

Every so often, I run across a memoir that is so real and compelling that I start to wonder if I had really begun a fictional tale, thinking a memoir couldn’t possibly flow so effortlessly and catch me up so entirely in its spell. Alan Shayne’s coming of age memoir, The Rain May Pass, is one of those books. Shayne weaves a spell about his reader, enticing them to share in his memories, making them willing witnesses to the craziness of his family’s squabbles, the dreary workaday world of his grandmother’s shop, and the mystery of love as it rushes at him, tumbling him about and changing him forever. I seemed to know each character in this memoir rather intimately as though I had been there at the time along with them. And I was entirely wrapped up in every phase of the author’s tale, from that momentous meeting on the beach to his oral interpretation at the speaking competition to his triumphs on the stage against all odds. What a marvelous tale and what an eloquent guide shares it with the reader. Anyone who dismisses nonfiction in favor of fiction will miss out on a gamechanger with this work. Shayne’s memoir is that good and I’m hoping he’s still writing as his voice is one I’d love to hear again. The Rain May Pass is the best memoir I’ve read this year. It’s most highly recommended.

Jamie Michele

The Rain May Pass by Alan Shayne is the memoir of one of the television industry's most prominent giants, donning as many hats as one could possibly wear as an actor, writer, casting director, producer, film executive, and president of Warner Brothers Television. But before Shayne became a Hollywood powerhouse, he found himself in a much lonelier place as he grew up in Massachusetts. As a child, Shayne's backstory feels normal, even privileged to a degree, in a working-class family with a crotchety old grandmother whom he helped out over the summer in Cape Cod. Changes begin to manifest in Shayne's life and he is awakened to his own sexual identity at a time when being gay was unacceptable. As he grows up, his romantic encounters grow with him, and he experiences love while on the cusp of working as a paid actor.

The Rain May Pass is an exceptionally well-written book that takes a reader into Alan Shayne's coming of age and his entry into the world of acting. Part of the reason I selected this book is that I'd read Double Life, an autobiography written by both Shayne and Norman Sunshine, which was incredible in its profound and unapologetic honesty. This solo memoir is equally brilliant but the voice of a younger Shayne who still has the innocence of youth really shines through. When he meets Roger, that boyish energy still exists, more so even against Roger's maturity. The backdrop of war and the physical and emotional toll of distance are central to Shayne's ability to assess his trajectory, and the room he needs to spread his wings is beautifully portrayed. Once again, Shayne delivers a heartfelt story that allows a further peek into the life of a legend. Very highly recommended.

Sarah Stuart

Alan Shayne began life as Alan Schein. The Rain May Pass opens when he is fifteen, living with his parents, and dogged by uncertainty. His future, his sexuality – nothing is clear - and his parents are an ill-matched, argumentative couple. His father is a health freak, and his mother appears to inhabit a world rarely touched by reality. Summer, as always, Alan is to spend helping distant, cold Nana with her Cape Cod shop, unpaid. Into this maelstrom step older boys experimenting with homosexuality, which leaves Alan deeply ashamed. It takes a long time for a memory of child abuse to resurface and explain the root of his fear. Roger, an attractive man of thirty, opens Alan’s heart to love and his mind to his future – the theater.

The Rain May Pass by Alan Shayne is incredibly open and honest. It would help youngsters of either sex to appreciate that we are what we are and the rocky road to acceptance is also the path to happiness. It is one of the few full-length books I have read literally in one sitting. Alan speaks from the pages as if he is talking to a friend, and it would be rude to interrupt. Mentally, I climbed beside him as he clawed his way up the ladder to his first professional appearance on Broadway. I had had no idea that he overcame humble beginnings to reach the heights that he has – actor, director, producer – as a president of Warner Brothers Television. Alan Shayne has demonstrated yet another talent with his dazzling memoir, The Rain May Pass.