"The most moving, monumental love story ever written about gay life...This book makes Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies and A Separate Peace look like Mary Poppins... How a woman was able to capture so beautifully, tenderly and accurately the mature adult gay psyche is also overwhelming... The most emotionally charged and romantic novel I've read in years should be on your bestseller list."
– The New York Times
"When time has consigned to oblivion all those hard-core porno potboilers that resemble each other like grains of sand, Patricia Nell Warren's stunning new novel...will still be finding legions of new readers and will continue to be cherished by older ones... The Front Runner serves as a reminder that some of the most sensitive and perceptive books about the world of men have been written by women... Warren's style is smooth and free flowing. The plot development is so skillfully handled that reading the book becomes an experience; the people in the book are so real that identification with one or more of them occurs naturally and effortlessly... The story of Billy Sive and Harlan Brown will be vibrant and vivid long after the present generation has become history. The events may belong to today, but the ideas, ideals and values are timeless."
– The Advocate
"A revelation to both Gays and non-Gays, for its depiction of a positive relationship between two very 'masculine' men, and for the background of world class running."
– San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle
"This is, literally, a homosexual love story in which the emotions, aspirations and way of life of the gay people are recounted with poignancy and conviction."
"Amazing that a woman could have gotten so deeply, so strongly, so movingly into the gay male psyche."
– In Touch Magazine
"Ms. Warren bitterly describes the outrage and ultimate degradation of the homosexual in American society. She predicts 'the movement' will follow blacks and women in revolt against the establishment. The confrontation tactics of gay literature in battling the reactionary AAU Olympic Committee is a minor classic on contemporary radical politics. The author is an effective advocate; she overcame my entrenched prejudices so that I was cheering for The Front Runner as he raced for the final tape."
– St. Louis Post Dispatch
"The best gay novel I ever read, as well as a fine piece of contemporary fiction... Frankly, it is a mystery to me how a woman could write with such utter accuracy and gentle sensitivity about male love... With deliberate stealth the book builds to a climax at the 1976 Olympics that can only be described with that overused word 'shattering.' I've never cried over a book the way I did over this one – not even when the swallow fell dead at the Happy Prince's feet."
– UCLA Daily Bruin
"A barn-burner from the moment coach Harlan Brown locks onto runner Billy Sive's 'extraordinary blue-gray eyes."
– New York Newsday
"This book must be read and reread by everyone who considers himself or herself to be aware...an enlightening experience in learning the meaning that love is good."
– Mattachine Times
"The atmosphere of track meets and Olympic competition has been faithfully captured, and the shocking jolts at the end will knock some readers off balance. Don't deny yourself the joy of one of the finest novels published in the last ten years."
"A trail-blazing novel about gays in professional athletics."
– B'nai B'rith
"It's been 20 years since Patricia Nell Warren busted the chops of macho American athletes with her novel The Front Runner. Warren's tale of love between an Olympic runner, Billy Sive, and his coach, Harlan Brown, opened the closet door for queer athletes."
– Bay Area Reporter
"[We] correctly predicted that 'this could be the first significantly popular gay love story' – it has sold ten million copies."
– Library Journal
"A groundbreaking story of inter-generational lovers... The Front Runner has continued to be one of the top-selling gay novels of all time."
– The Advocate
"We still haven't recovered from our initial reading of The Front Runner way back in 1974...one of our favorite novels of all time."
"The most popular gay-themed novel of the '70s...this book captured the hearts of a generation of gay people (of both genders) just beginning to be comfortable with their sexual identities in the heady aftermath of the Stonewall Riots."
– Gay and Lesbian Times
"This is the author who wrote what is thought by some to be the most important piece of literature of the post-Stonewall era, The Front Runner."
"The author is a keen observer of the gay community. She tells it like it is."
– Post Intelligencer, Alexander Hamilton Veterans Services
"' For many Americans, a milestone of the '60s was where you were when President Kennedy was shot. For many gay men, it's where you were when you read The Front Runner,' " declared a prominent gay activist. " 'This book has affected more young gay people than all the others put together.' "
– Quoted in Orange County Blade
"Patricia Nell Warren was one of the first authors writing fiction with openly gay lesbian and gay characters for a mainstream publisher in the days just following Stonewall, when most queer fiction was published independently."
– Lambda Book Report
"Although written in 1973 and published the following year, there is much that is relevant to today's gay society. Indeed, if it were not for such references as "bell-bottom pants' and 'shoulder length curls' the book might have been written in 1993... We follow the relationship through its denial stage and on into a blossoming splendor, vividly described... The story pulls us along at a frontrunner's pace to a grinding, shocking climax."
– Gay and Lesbian Times
"A breakthrough gay novel...reflects the optimism of the early days of gay liberation, before Bowers v. Hardwick, before 'don't ask, don't tell.' Twenty-two years later, it remains a sensitive, well-paced depiction of male love with a cruelly dramatic climax."
– Los Angeles Times
It's difficult to categorize this anthem-like novel. If you haven't read it, read it. If you've read it, read it again. Lend it to everybody you know straight or gay. They'll laugh. They'll cry. They'll begin to understand what it's all about.