In 2018, Michael Pedersen lost a most cherished friend soon after their collective voyage into the landscape and luminosity of the Scottish Highlands. What starts as a love letter to one magical, coruscating human soon becomes a paean to many friendships – perhaps all friendship.
... 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.