Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Two Boys Kissing
Ordinarily I would never have picked up this book, I would have shied away from the title. Thank goodness I'm in book clubs that make me read outside my genre/comfort zone. This book defied all odds and is an amazing read for any gay, straight, questioning, lesbian, trangendered, bisexual teenager or adult (although I can easily see it becoming a manifesto/classic for the LGBT community like the "It Gets Better" book, it's simply too good not to).
This "story" is narrated by a lost generation, the generation of gay men and women that watched as nearly two hundred thousand of their friends, family members, and partners died of AIDS and suffered through waves of homophobia like this generation has never known. This voice helps weaves several tales of young gay teens together and tries to reassure this generation that things will get better. The main story is of Harry and Craig, two gay teens that try to break the record for longest kiss (32 hours). What starts out as a small personal record for the two of them turns into an international sensation as people chime in their support (and condemnation) from all over the world. The other threads of the story involve a gay son who feels he has nothing to live for, a girl in a boys body trying to find true love, a young gay boy starting to realize that revenge for the daily slurs and harassment isn't the way to go, and a young gay couple that realize how good they have it.
This story addresses so many important and pressing issues. Coming to terms with your identity. Coming out to your family. Believing in the future. Forgiveness. Hope. It's truly inspiring. The use of the omniscient narrators is also breathtaking.
Also, the words of this story have such a lyrical quality. Here are some quotable ones for you:
"What a powerful word, "future." Of all the abstractions we can articulate to ourselves, of all the concepts we have that other animals do not, how extraordinary the ability to consider a time that's never been experienced. And how tragic not to consider it. It galls us, we with such a limited future, to see someone brush it aside as meaningless, when it has an endless capacity for meaning, and an endless number of meaning that can be found within it."
"You can give words, but you can't take them, And when words are given and received, that is when they are shared."
"Ignorance is not bliss. Bliss is knowing the full meaning of what you have been given."
"We often believe the truest measure of a relationship is the ability to lay ourselves bare. But there's something to be said for parading your plumage as well, finding truth as much in the silly as the severe."
Seriously, read this book. I read it from start to finish in one day. Granted I was home sick, but the point. This is a fantastic book that makes me have a little more faith in society. Another job well done David Levithan. This book has already been nominated for a National Book Award (and it was just published last month!) and I can see it getting nominated for many many more awards (also, getting banned because of the title - stupid bigots).