Author(s): Ken Baker
Soon to be a feature film, THE LATE BLOOMER is the revealing, harrowing and, often funny, memoir of a celebrity journalist and former hotshot hockey player who discovers that he has been biochemically infused with a female hormone. On the surface, Ken Baker seemed a model man. He was a nationally ranked hockey goalie, a Hollywood correspondent for People, a guest at celebrity parties and girls came on to him. Inside, though, he didn't feel like the man he was supposed to be. Although attracted to women, Ken had little sex drive and, thus, even less of a sex life. To his anguish, he repeatedly found himself unable to perform sexually. And, regardless of strenuous workouts, his body struggled to build muscle, earning him the nickname "Pear" from his macho teammates. Physically, matters turned bizarre when he discovered that he was lactating. The testosterone-driven culture in which Ken grew up made it agonisingly difficult for him to seek help. But, in time, he discovered something that lifted years of pain, frustration and confusion - a brain tumour was causing his body to be flooded with massive amounts of a female hormone, which was disabling his masculinity. Five hours of surgery accomplished what years of therapy, rumination and denial could not - and allowed Ken Baker to finally feel - and function - like a man. Now Ken's story comes to the screen in the feature film, The Late Bloomer, starring Academy Award-winner for his role in Whiplash, J.K. Simmons and Jane Lynch.
"In an era when Viagra pills and testosterone gel have made male sexuality - indeed manhood itself - look like a mere commodity to be purchased, Ken Baker's The Late Bloomer is a bracingly honest account of his own far more difficult and fascinating journey to manhood. He takes a reader with him through a labyrinth of medical mystery, emotional distress, and startling humor. Raucous at one moment, tender at the next, The Late Bloomer is always a triumph of candor and a vital inquiry into the essence of male identity." --Samuel G. Freedman, Pulitzer Prize finalist for nonfiction "In a landscape filled with memoirs exploring the vast array of painful traumas that can shape an individual's development into personhood, here is a story that examines - with touching and unflinching honesty and humor, and zero self-pity - the story of a young man's coming of age in uniquely painful and difficult circumstances. On the surface, Baker's story concerns his many-years-long ordeal of living with an undiagnosed tumor that totally disrupted his hormonal makeup. But really, Baker's book is about the extraordinary toll of shame and secret keeping. Underneath the gripping story of a young man's coming of age in blue collar, macho-driven upstate New York hockey culture, we have a story that explores the definition of what it is to be male, written by a young man who knows, as few of us ever will, the experience of inhabiting a body at war with itself. Baker has travelled to the most mysterious place - his own own dark inner self - and come back to tell us about the voyage, where the discovery was nothing less than his own manhood." --Joyce Maynard, author of At Home in the World "Baker has crafted a penetrating, even haunting look at what it means to be a man and what it should mean. Enlivened by a stunningly brilliant chronicle of a tragically unhappy childhood in the family from hell with what must have been the saddest father in upper New York, Baker's book is an object lesson in how to survive a growing up that would have killed a lesser man, and more than that, a story of not just survival, but triumph. Must reading for men, but especiallyfor parents so they will know what not to do with their kids, especially with boy children." --Ben Stein"
Ken Baker is an award-winning author and journalist currently serving as Senior Correspondent for E! News and E! Online. He lives in the Los Angeles with his family.