Lately I’ve been reading a lot of dystopian fiction. It put me in a short fit of depression, and it was at this time that I found myself reaching for Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan.
I read it last year for my adolescent literature class and I enjoyed it then, but the genius of it struck me fully upon a second reading. It is a utopian novel – a novel that guides the reader thematically by presenting an ideal in a beautiful form. In this case, the beautiful form might even be attainable.
This is the passage I read when I pitch it to my friends:
Zeke’s already jamming by the time we get to the highway bookstore. He’s put his stage in the European history section, and every now and then he’ll throw names like Hadrian and Copernicus into his mojo rap…. I move through the crowd with ease, sharing nods and smiling hellos. I love this scene, this floating reality. I am a solo flier looking out over the land of Boyfriends and Firlfriends. I am three notes in the middle of a song. (SO MUCH LOVE)
Joni grabs me and Tony, pulling us into Self-Help. There are a few monkish types already there, some of them trying to ignore the music and learn the THirteen Ways to Be an Effective Person. I know Joni’s brought us here because sometimes you just have to dance like a madman in the Self-Help section of your local bookstore.
The main character, Paul, has a gorgeous and insightful outlook on life, embellished and upheld by the always-followed passions of the other characters in his utopia of a hometown, and yet he is as susceptible as anyone to the difficult moral checks and balances of keeping a level head in the dramatic realm of high school.
This book, I know, is not quite a product of my generation – David Levithan is surely considerably older than I am – and yet this aligns so well with the covert vision of my kindred spirits in my age. I wouldn’t feel right offering it anything but praise.
READ IT NOW. 🙂