One constantly reads, keeps reading, and wants to read more and faster. But why do we do that? What is its purpose? Or what purpose do we give to our constant and obsessive craving for books?
It must be more than just filling out two hours to get home, more than just fighting insomnia that attacks because of the jet lag, more than just our school/college assignments, and more than just following a trend of book hoarding and Instagram likes.
I like to find a lesson or learn something beyond vocabulary on every book that I read.
For this review, I want to be as “rational” as possible, but this book will do nothing to the reader if the reader does not have feelings, sympathy, or compassion for the rest of the human beings. I am talking about leaving aside all of our prejudices, self-judgments, religious vicious blindness, fanaticism, heteronormative ideals, patriarchal morals and set of default rules in our brains, and the idea that I know it all and the rest are wrong.
This book is not a chick flick or gay flick or any flick you can think of. It is not a soap opera of some sort of disgraceful man or woman whose life is destroyed by a random accident and love can surpass any difficulty – NO – For me, this book is way more than that. This book exposes creative none finction events, the lives and experiences of thousands of human beings… human beings that have been discriminated, human beings that have been victims of violence that lately has been increasing without measure, human beings that are being constantly condemned by other human beings who preach love with one hand but with the other they hold a knife – symbolically speaking and in worst cases, real ones-
I mentioned at the beginning to leave everything behind and just hold to the terms of sympathy and tolerance because this book will show cases where human beings struggle with their identity. Struggle not to fit in but to survive a society based on a system that outcast whatever and whomever that does not share its ideals. This patriarchal society that is everything but functional. These human beings are in fear in some countries just because they are “different,” just because this patriarchal society dictates that what is different is dangerous, what is different must be put down as a vicious and sick animal, what is different and does not go with their non-functional system is a threat to their masculinity and to their indifference. All those fears and problems are denounced in this book through the characters that shape this story.
We clearly live in a non-inclusive society, but if you “fit” in this system, you may not be able to see it as clearly as many of us can. Nonetheless, it will give you the right to oppress and discriminate the rest. David Levithan includes in this book multiple characters, and he gives a quick view of the superficial layer of the pains and difficulties that most of the members of this community had or have to cope with.
The topic of gender identity is taken to an unexplored level for some readers. Some people will find the transexual/transgender individuals or concept hard to swallow. However, this is more common than what one thinks. Most of the victimizers cannot cope with this because they are privileged to “fit” and privileged because their gender assigned at birth matches their identity. Levithan shows to us a glimpse of these members of our community, of these humans beings, and the constant harassment that they are victims of because they do not feel like a man or like a woman.
Harassment is a word that all members of this community are acquainted with. Ignorance is the source of so many problems. Ignorance to be unable to celebrate our differences as something to make us stronger but it is actually seen as something to be used to make you less, something that you can use to dehumanize someone. Ignorance is portrayed in this book in the animalistic reaction of the bystanders, of the parents, of the classmates… Once I was a witness of one of the maximum expressions of ignorance. I once heard: “Bullying is good because it helps you to shape your character.”
In which society do we live in to believe such nonsense? How can ignorance be perpetrated and passed around as the main representation of the patriarchal system? Bullying is well known to be one of the main reasons for suicidal incidents among teenagers who are part of this society. Such a common topic, such an expression of ignorance is denounced in this book, and it is impossible not to feel the pain, the humiliation, the fear that this cause in a human being.
The famous and sometimes painful “coming out” process that people go thought is present in this book. Painful due to the rejection that one is a victim of not only from society but from one’s family because of people, again, are unable to cope with the term “different,” because people cannot celebrate nor embrace one’s uniqueness. This rejection is one of the culprits of all these suicidal events that Levithan shows to us. This happens when everything lose perspective, sense, reason, emotion, purpose, when one’s live lose its north, when not even the brightest sun can illuminate one’s existence, when sadness and disappointment fills your lungs until you choke with your own thoughts, and more importantly when one’s family stops seen you as a member of their in-group and kicks you out, and you become a regular person.
How is it possible that so many people, so many kids, so many teenagers are kicked out and forced to go through this process alone? Where is all this love that is being preached? Why is it only written on thin sheets of paper but it is not being put in practice? How is it possible that a mother can reject her son or daughter? How is it possible that a sister or brother can reject a sibling like that?
Where is the love? How is it so difficult to see that we are all human beings and that we all diverse love, comprehension, respect, and basic rights?
Beyond all these topics that David Levithan exposes the reader with, I think he did an outstanding job with this book. The narrator in first person plural, these uncles, this group of the long gone sweethearts that watch us from afar, those who were the pioneers of the roads that we walk on today, the pilgrims, they all narrate this story and share their experiences which make this book even more heartbreaking and impossible not to sob, sigh, or connect personally with.
“Two Boys Kissing” allows the reader to understand a bit more the LGBTQ community. It shows a side that not all people are acquainted with or that most people ignored due to their own prejudice and closed minds. Being part of this community is more than just partying, drinking, and hooking up, and this book shows that side. This book demonstrates how human beings are just trying to live their lives as the rest of the human beings. I totally think that this book tries to call our emotions through sweet and simple characters to demonstrate that they all are able to have feelings like the rest of us.
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