Saturday, 7 June 2014
I am a huge fan of David Levithan and have enjoyed all of his books, collaborations and all. I'd even go so far as to say he's the best YA author around. I'm pleased that many of the books I've been reading and enjoying for years are now being published in the UK and I'm glad he's getting more of a profile here, shame it's probably due to his associations with John Green but exposure is exposure.( I love John Green too, it's just in my personal opinion David Levithan is superior).
Two Boys Kissing weaves together several stories about the young gay experience. The book is narrated by the generation of gay men lost to aids, and through their monologues they recount their own experiences as well as observing what happens in the lives of the young men in the modern day. It's a very skillful way for Levithan to highlight where advances in acceptance have been made but also how far there is to go.
The two boys kissing in the title are Harry and Craig, ex-boyfriends who are trying to break the world record attempt for the longest kiss, an action that is born from a homophobic attack on their close friend who also films their record attempt. As the kiss is streamed live more support grows but their kiss isn't without its detractors.
This is a very important and timely book, arriving as it does in a time when gay rights are still being fought for and I still find homophobia is rife throughout society. Its about time we could get to a point where who you love and who you want to marry are only of concern to you and your lover, why the hell are the right-wing majority so caught up on who you choose to share your bed with anyway?
This book is many things, sweet, poignant and very moving and it's the kind of book I'd love to see on the shelves of school libraries. It speaks for those of us who hope that one day we'll live in a world less prejudiced and more accepting of the right to love who you love.
On a side note I watched 'The Normal Heart' this week, a HBO film set during the Aids epidemic. Although it's a fictionalised account many of the characters are based on real people and it's a raw and largely unsentimental look at the period. I still can't get my head around the sheer ignorance on display then and that this happened during my lifetime is truly repugnant. If, like me, you like getting riled up about injustice or (also like me) enjoy watching depressing dramas I really would recommend it. Mark Ruffalo, one of my favourite actors is great as always and he avoids what I know could have been a much more theatrical performance in different hands.
Two Boys Kissing: 4.5 stars
The Normal Heart:4 stars