... sees Pedersen illuminate these companions with a poet’s eye, a comedian’s timing – and a lover’s care ... For all his skill, Boy Friends is self-consciously unpolished – appropriately so maybe. Real love is tricky, unplottable, stained with the dirt and struggle of everyday life ... intimate and confessional. Grief, captured without cliche, leaps from the page. In a story that passes from the dead to the living, from art to life and back again, Pedersen and Hutchison’s connection endures.
... by turns raw and ribald, lyrical and laugh-out-loud funny ... There is much wit and wisdom in Pedersen's reflections on male friendship, not to mention an admirable degree of self-knowledge, but just as Yeats, in his tribute to Gregory, recalls the exploits of a number of other friends before zeroing in on the qualities of his subject, so Pedersen soon circles back to his relationship with Hutchison ... In lithe, springy, never-predictable prose, Pedersen is excellent at capturing the intoxicating nature of their meeting of minds; perhaps even better at encapsulating what made Hutchison such a beloved performer.
The language is striking, its second-person construction giving it a near-romantic intimacy. Pedersen, a poet, loves a grand statement, and his memoir is testament to the naked emotionalism with which he views this lost friendship ... Scott, the lead singer of the band Frightened Rabbit, died by suicide in 2018, and Pedersen wrote the memoir in the year following, his grief the engine which drives the book. That explains, in some ways, the fireworks of the book’s language, how overflowing every page is with emotion. But it’s clear that even when Scott was alive, Pedersen was an exuberant friend, because he describes all his life’s friendships this way ... remarkable.
... the tone is thus immediately intimate and loving ... Pedersen’s thoughts and memories are turbulent, gloriously optimistic one moment, searingly painful the next ... an unapologetic paean to the sweetness of a relationship now brutally terminated ... an entirely endearing addition to the literature of grief and the ameliorating pleasures of memory and comradeship.
... a thoughtful meditation on male friendship in general ... Poets, when transitioning to other genres, are sometimes reluctant to rein themselves in stylistically. Pedersen’s prose debut is liberally sprinkled with alliterative triplets of the kind you’d normally see in verse. Coupled with his penchant for archaisms, it makes for a somewhat mannered register...I like a flourish as much as the next person, but there’s something to be said for moderation ... This unfettered exuberance does, however, yield some pleasing moments ... What of the departed friend? Though present in many of the anecdotes, he is largely obscured by the sheer force of the author’s elegiac lyricism; we get little clear sense of either the man himself or the dynamics of the friendship. Boy Friends was written in the year immediately following his death, and perhaps the inadvertent erasure of its subject tells us something about the all-engulfing nature of grief.
This examination into 'male grief' is flavored by the author's clear love of language, and comprehending his ruminations requires negotiating Scottish idioms—some of them annotated, though not all ... Ultimately, Pedersen offers an extended reverie on the dynamics of male friendship, an underexplored literary landscape ... A consistently intimate and often moving memoir of friendship.
As Pedersen struggles to memorialize his friend’s death among the 'beastly bite of grief,' he finds humor and gratitude in his memories, constructing from them a passionate ode to companionship ... Despite its plaintive origins, this brims with beauty and love.