elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Top 100 Gay Novel: Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

It's not often that I read a book so easy... easy to read and easy to like. In an almost utopian world, Paul is a teen apparently without problem: at 5 years old his teacher wrote in his profile that he was absolutely gay, and she did it as a positive thing, Paul was a lot more aware of himself than his fellow schoolmates. After reading his profile, remember at 5 years old, he went at home and said to his mom, "Mom, I'm gay!" and his mom replied, "Oh, dear, you learned a new word!", more or less with these words. Now Paul goes to high school and he is probably the most popular student of the school, even if probably he has to share the throne with Darlene/Daryl who is at the same time the quarterback of the local football team and the queen beauty of the school (in drags!).

So no, apparently Paul has no problem if not since in this moment he has too many guys around him: his best friend Tony, who is gay, but who, unfortunately, lives with uber religious parents who think that their son will be damned forever; his ex-boyfriend Kyle, who dumped Paul in a not so nice way and also said to all the school that Paul tried to turn him gay when he really was straight; and finally his new-boyfriend Noah, who is new in town and so he doesn't really now Paul and all his chaotic life.

Paul stays never put, he is always in motion and he is always involved in something; not that Paul regrets it, he really like to be the center of attention. Paul is a really nice character, but truth be told, he is a very narcissistic guy, but with all the positive side of being so: he shines, he is a real leader, but he also considers people around him, he can never say no when someone asks him help. Problem is that being of all also means really not having someone special only for him. When he meets Noah, Paul knows that the guy is the special one, but Noah needs attention and patience, and Paul needs to be cautious, something that he is not able to be. Being the center of the universe means that everything he does is common knowledge, and everyone he meets ends on the billboard with a bet on how much it will last.

There is a strange parallelism in the book with the real world: Paul's family is a "normal" family according to the story's standard, they are accepting and supporting, they are always available for their son, in this utopian world they represent the classic All American family made of morning pancakes and family holiday; instead Noah's parents are the black sheep, too taken by their jobs to be aware that their son and daughter are alone and probably nurturing future problems. Noah faces his parent's indifference isolating himself from his similar; he is almost transparent until Paul didn't notice him by chance: no one in school had realized that there was a new student among them. As expected, when the school star meets the lone wolf, it's not simple for them to find a common ground.

I like this story since the problem Paul and Noah face are the very normal problems that would face a "straight" couple: family, friends, and school. It's not a problem that they are gay, no one raises a brow; but it's not even under-lighted that they are gay: in this world, gay and straight are alike, and the small town is scattered of gayness, that is imbued in the social texture.

The same easy attitude that is in all the book, is also when it's time to talk of Paul and Noah as a couple; they are the icon of young boyfriends, they are tender and cute, they are all kisses; sex is not contemplated in their relationship, but it's not something they avoid for a conscious decision, it's almost like it doesn't exist in their world. You don't miss it since it's not necessary; there was never a place or a time in the book when the reader expected it, and so I didn't miss it. The only time when something of sexual came in my mind, was when Paul realized that he was gay since he was interested in a game of two of his friends and he was a bit too much focused on their t-shirts and in the way they went up... and Paul was 5 years old, so no, no sex can be possibly part of it!

Amazon: Boy Meets Boy

David Levithan's In the Spotlight post: http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/354413.html
Tags: author: david levithan, genre: contemporary, length: novel, review, theme: coming of age, top 100 gay novels list

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