Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Boy Meets Boy, David Leviathan

 Title:  Boy Meets Boy
Author:  David Leviathan
Publisher:  Alfred A Knopf
Date:  2005
Pages:  195
Genre:  Realistic (?) Fiction
Age Level:  7th Grade and Up

I was a HUGE fan of The West Wing.  I thought the writing was smart, and the characters were interesting.  But most of all, I thought that Aaron Sorkin had created a fictional world that I actually wanted to live in.  For an hour each week, I could sit in my living room and pretend that Jed Bartlett was the president instead of that Republican from Texas.  I'm pretty sure I would even vote for Martin Sheen in real life-he and I agree more than we disagree when it comes to politics.  But I digress-the point was that I wanted to jump through the television and live in that America.

That's how I felt when I read Boy Meets Boy, by David Leviathan.  It is the story of Paul, a gay boy who was outed by his kindergarten teacher as being "definitely gay".  Paul goes to a high school where the star quarterback in a drag queen named Infinite Darlene, and everyone is free to be gay or straight for bi or trans (or geeky or smart or talented, etc...) without repercussions.  Paul meets new-boy Noah, and his first real love starts to bloom.  But Noah comes with baggage from a bad break-up, and when Paul's ex-boyfriend starts sniffing around, Paul has to find a way to show Noah that he is not like other guys.

This is your basic teenage love story-two young people, strong feelings, obstacles to be overcome...what makes this novel more than that is the idealized world that Leviathan creates.  Not everything is rosy-Paul's friend Tony, in the next town, has fundamentalist parents who must be tricked into letting him leave with Paul and their other friends-but this is a view of what high schools, and our communities could be like if they were truly accepting and everyone could live openly.  And while I enjoyed the sweet love story between Paul and Noah, what I am grateful to Leviathan for was a chance to live in that world, if only for a few hours.

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