Do Ask, Do Tell – Bill Boushka | A Book Review

Do Ask, Do Tell - Bill Boushka

Title: Do Ask, Do Tell: Speech Is a Fundamental Right; Being Listened to Is a Privilege

Author: Bill Boushka

Genre: Nonfiction (politics) & Fiction (stories)

About the book: It’s the third installment in Boushka’s “Do Ask, Do Tell” series, which is self-published. He divides the book into two parts. The first contains nonfiction essays about various issues such as individualism and responsibility, especially in regards to homosexuality, as Boushka identifies as a gay man. Following the essays are pictures of the author, his parents, etc. The second part consists of short stories loosely based on his experience in the military as well as events and encounters that occur during road trips. The fictional pieces reflect the ideas previously explored in his essays. I received a copy of the book from a Goodreads giveaway. 

First impressions: I wasn’t sure whether I would like it or not, since I don’t normally read a ton of nonfiction, especially autobiographical accounts. Off the bat, I noticed there were a lot of quoted words and phrases. Even early on, I found the nonfiction chapters felt repetitive, even redundant, since he discusses the same ideas repeatedly.

Summary: Boushka writes about his life growing up, exploring various political and social issues in both the essays and stories. He discusses his time in university and the military. It goes on to discuss what he learned about himself as well as society when he has to take care of his mother. The short fictional pieces have related themes to his nonfiction writing. There’s one fictionalizing his efforts in Basic Combat Training. The other two follow characters on road trips across the country, the first considering the effects of strip-mining for coal while the second involves the protagonist coming home.


“Humanities are the hope of the world.”

Writing: It didn’t surprise me that I spotted some grammatical mistakes and spelling errors. I also didn’t understand some of the words and acronyms used, which is more my problem than his, although I later realized he included a glossary in the back of the book. Even when the acronyms were explained, however, I tended to forget what they stood for. At times, the writing was dense and academic. But the author isn’t afraid to state his opinions. He offers a ton of details about his personal history, though I didn’t think they were all needed. 

Final thoughts: I can’t say this book will appeal to everyone, but it’s an eye opening look into politics and policies, especially as it pertains to homosexuals. I learned a good deal. I think others looking for a challenging read in many regards would too. 

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