Sunday, February 7, 2016

29 days of book love


Boy meets Boy by David Levithan is a book I won on a blog giveaway years ago in the early days of this blog.  I didn't know who Levithan was but the book had an interesting premise.  The topsy turvy world that Levithan creates is one that reminds of the wild L.A. world of Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block.  They both are about worlds that don't exist (yet).

This short novel won my book love for Paul's story, the truth mixed in with so much good humor, and this quote:

"I've always known I was gay, but it wasn't confirmed until I was in kindergarten.
It was my teacher who said so.  It was right there on my kindergarten report card: Paul is definitely gay and has very good sense of self.
I saw it on her desk one day before naptime. And I have to admit: I might not have realized I was different if Mrs. Benchly hadn't pointed it out.  I mean, I was five years old.  I just assumed boys were attracted to other boys.  Why else would they spend all of their time together, playing on teams, and making fun of the girls? I assumed it was because we all liked each other.  I was still unclear how girls fit into the picture, but I thought I knew the boy thing A-OK...."

Which leads to this conversation with his teacher...

"Am I definitely gay?"
Mrs. Benchly looked me over and nodded.
"What's gay?" I asked.
"It's when a boy likes other boys," she explained.
I pointed over to the painting corner, where Greg Easton was wrestling on the ground with Ted Halpern.
"Is Greg gay?" I asked.
"No." Mrs. Benchly answered. "At least not yet."
Interesting. I found it all very interesting.
Mrs. Benchly explained a little more to me-the whole boys-liking girls thing. I can't say I understood.  Mrs. Benchly asked me if I'd noticed that marriages were mostly made up of men and women.  I had never really thought of marriages as things that involved liking. I had just assumed this man-woman arrangement was yet another adult quirk, like flossing.  Now Mrs. Benchly was telling me something much bigger.  Some sort of global conspiracy.
"But that's not how I feel," I protested.  My attention was a little distracted because Ted was now pulling up Greg Easton's shirt, and that was kind of cool. "How I feel is what's right...right?"
"For you, yes," Mrs. Benchly told me. "What you feel is absolutely right for you. Always remember that."

And that last line is golden.  Oh how I wish we truly had conversations with students like this. Although odd that Mrs. Benchly openly points out Paul's sexuality via his report card but his sense of self worth-yes! It's funny and filled with very real characters.

My copy has this lovely inscription:


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