In The Evolution of Ethan Poe I recognize Robin Reardon’s previous books but I also think she did a jump ahead with this one. What I always liked of her books is that these young men have to face a lot of trouble to be who they are and love who they want, but in the end, they are still teenagers, with all the insecurities and fears so typical of being young. But with being young comes also another main aspect: being still in evolution, not being perfect, being faced with multiple choices and with those choices also the danger to pick the wrong one. Ethan, Max, Jorja, Kyle and all the other young boys and girls in this novel have the chance to become different men and women and it’s up to them to forge their future. The adults can help them, but they cannot force them to be someone different, even if they think, and we think, the adult they want to become is wrong.
The novel presents a strong position regarding religion, and I think I can sense Reardon’s position is similar to the one of Ethan’s mother, but nevertheless, it’s not a prosecution, but more presenting the facts and let the reader takes their own position. Mostly it comes out that sometime religion is necessary for the most weak souls, for those who need some sort of stability in their life, and unconditionally faith gives them that security. I also like that, while there is of course a gay theme in the novel, that was not the main focus, on the contrary, in three or four stories, Robin Reardon presented more or less all the reasons of discomfort that you can find among today teenagers.
The other main aspect of the novel that I really liked was the young men in them and especially Max, and now I will probably surprise many of you saying that I liked Max since I found him quite selfish and snob. While Ethan is your classical good boy, open and sensible, always ready to take side with the misfits, Max is actually that type of guy I have always found quite unpleasant, someone ready to judge people from their looks without trying to understand their real core. I think Max took an interest in Ethan since Ethan is cute and pretty, and even if he doesn’t associate with the right crowd at school, he is still “recoverable”, he has not yet done some big damage to his “imagine”. The title of the novel is the “evolution” of Ethan Poe, but I think also Max goes under a big evolution, and that is the only reason why he becomes someone that is right for Ethan, since at the beginning he was totally wrong, and I would have not given two cents to their relationship to be lasting.
I’m quite scared by the chance that this small town actually exists, that is really possible for almost a “war” to burst involving first of all the children, people who is still so fragile in many aspects. But unfortunately I’m not questioning this is possible, and I really hope one of the possible outcomes is like in the novel, where people realize it’s important to step back and stop offensive when it’s still possible.
Amazon: The Evolution of Ethan Poe
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Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Kensington; Original edition (August 1, 2011)
Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bott