05th Jul 2009
kicking fandom’s ass since 2000
05th Jul 2009
This was not a comfortable book to read. I don’t think many books about teenage alienation are really that comfortable. The books that ring the most true are the least comfortable to read. I know I tried to bury those feelings of confusion and insecurity, so having a writer dredge them all up again doesn’t make for the most pleasant of reading.
That’s not to say that it isn’t an engrossing read. It’s just not something to pick up when you want something light and happy or to help you forget your troubles.
The story revolves around Jeff, a young man in his freshman year of high school, who’s just starting to come to terms with his sexuality, and the relationship that blossoms between him and the star of the football team, Brett. Jeff is asked to tutor Brett. Well, asked is a bit too nice of a word. Jeff is told that he either tutors Brett or fails gym and gets turned into fresh meat for the ‘jocks’ to pick on.
Brett isn’t what Jeff expects and a friendship develops. Then, develops into something deeper than friendship. However, the town isn’t ready for people who are open about their sexuality and Brett has a lot to lose if his relationship with Jeff is made public knowledge.
It’s a sweet story, even though parts of the relationship made me a bit uncomfortable. For a good part of the story, Brett looks at Jeff as more of a devoted pet instead of a person who’s capable of making his own decisions. Their relationship does evolve and I definitely remember that slavish devotion from my time in high school. Then again, it’s not the most comfortable thing to read about.
My main problem with the writing is more of a pet peeve rather than an actual issue with the writing. When I’m reading fiction, I hate it when writers quote pop culture or make references to specific songs or TV shows. When I’m reading fiction, I have this imaginary world in my head. When the author lists a certain song that I’m familiar with, it jolts me out of my imaginary world because it doesn’t fit.
I much prefer more generalized references where I can substitute my own idea of what the characters are listening to/watching in my mind. If the author states that the characters are listening to loud, angry music, I’ll insert my own favorite flavor of loud, angry music. The authors version of loud music and mine most likely do not match.
And, that’s okay. Some people enjoy finding those pop culture references, but they drive me up the wall. I guess I would just rather use my imagination than have everything laid out for me.
All in all, it’s a sweet story and one that may just ring true to a lot of people out there.