Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Two Parties, One Tux, and a Very Short Film About The Grapes of Wrath

I'm a big reader, and I like reading books with gay characters. Two of my favorite book blogs are I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell Do I Read? which mostly deals with YA fiction with a gay theme and ideas for GSA groups, and BoyWithBooks.com written by a gay college student. So I figure that I might as well talk about some of the books I read on my blog too. And I'll put the standard Spoiler Alert Warning here.

I recently read a humorous book with an awesome title, Two Parties, One Tux, and a Very Short Film About The Grapes of Wrath by new author Steven Goldman. The book is written from the point of view of Mitchell, a socially awkward high school junior whose best (and pretty much only) friend David comes out to him one day at lunch in the school cafeteria. David is on the baseball team, goes to parties, and drinks occasionally, and fits in well with the popular crowd, but prefers hanging out with Mitchell. The two of them participate in high school adventures together (getting ready for the Junior Prom, getting in trouble for making a racy claymation movie for English class, and dealing with sensitive bully Louis), and David's coming out is only one part of the story.

Mitchell seems kind of shocked about the whole thing, and doesn't really know what to think or how to react. It definitely affects their relationship for a bit, but he still talks to David and considers him his best friend. In fact, they double-date to the Prom, both taking girls. Mitchell initially wonders if he might be gay also, and bully Louis insinuates that he is since he spends so much time with David. He soon puts this thought to rest, however. Things get even more confusing when Mitchell and David realize that David is essentially in love with Mitchell, although David knows that nothing can ever come of it. The book ends on a happy note, with the boys staying friends.

Since the story was written from the point of view of Mitchell, the straight one, the reader sees David's struggles with being gay through Mitchell's eyes. This worked somewhat well, but I would have liked to have David's character developed a little bit better so I could understand him and empathize with him more. The book takes a light-hearted approach to the theme of coming out, and there isn't alot of homophobia towards David (man, kids have it so easy nowadays!) David obviously struggled, however (he gets depressed and pulls away from Mitchell), and I would like to have known how he dealt with falling for his best friend and how he got over it. I can't really relate to falling for a straight friend, but I have definitely fallen for gay friends that didn't want anything other than friendship. It sucks! I think I tend to be emotionally starved and get attached to anyone that gives me attention, and want more out of relationships with friends than they do (hmmm, the issue of friends seems to be a running theme with me). So it would have been interesting for me to see how David dealt with it in the story. Overall, the book was okay, and the way the author used humor to address coming out and other teen issues made the book a quick read. I didn't like it as much as I liked other books in this genre, but I would recommend it.


David said...

David, thanks for this book review, sounds like an interesting read.

You should also check out Boy meets Boy by David Levithan

darkdrearywilderness said...

Boy Meets Boy is one of my favorites! Awesome book!

Anonymous said...

The name of the character was also David...I felt cool for picking up on that.

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