Sunday, April 01, 2007

Like, maybe an hour?


It's only appropriate that the first book I do in April is a novel with verse passages, right?

All of the following is terribly spoileriffic, so you may just want to skip on over to LW's far safer review.

BJ and Alex have been best friends since fifth grade. They share almost everything with each other, but both are finding out that sometimes we need more than just our best friend's acceptance. BJ, long ridiculed for the port-wine stain on her face, has discovered new friends in a couple popular girls and Alex is struggling with his sexuality, and has found a comrade in that.

Told in both voices, BJ's in prose and Alex's in poetry, it's an extremely quick read. The only thing that bothered me was that all through we only hear Alex's voice through the poetry of his journal. The last section is supposedly in his mind, but there is no change of format, and I find it hard to believe that he would think in poetry, especially at the end. But whatever. It was still a good read.

I had a conversation with one of my oldest friends last summer. We were talking about gay rights (you know, what they used to call civil rights), and how he would never choose to be gay. He even wishes that he weren't, simply because, even though he's very much in love with his boyfriend, it can be a hard, stigmatized life. But he is who he is, and he isn't going to hide to make other people feel better. So, pages 175-6 meant something to me.

I Don't Want to Be

David and I
meet
in my garage.

For a long time,
we just sit quietly.

And the I say,
"Everyone knows now.
My life is over."

David says,
"You're wrong.
You're life is just starting.
Now you can be you,
and you don't have to
pretend anymore."

"But I don't want to be gay," I say.

"No one wants to be gay.
It's just the way some of us were made.
We have to learn.
To deal with it the best we can."

He puts his arm around my shoulder
and hugs me, like a real friend would.
He sits with me, silent and lest me cry
about something he understands.

I stay in his arms,
and let the walls
I built around me
fall.

Take a gander at:

Liz's interview with the author.
Jen's review.
LW's review.

1 comment:

Jen Robinson said...

It's funny. I didn't even notice the inconsistency at the end, until someone pointed it out to me. I'm bothered by it now, but wasn't upon first reading. But I still enjoyed the book. And as you say, Alex's voice can really speak to people who are, or who have friends who are, gay and struggling with it. And that's important.