Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Same Name, Different Guys

Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Will Grayson, Will Grayson 
by John Green & David Levithan

“I think about how much depends upon a best friend. When you wake up in the morning you swing your legs out of bed and you put your feet on the ground and you stand up. You don’t scoot to the edge of the bed and look down to make sure the floor is there. The floor is always there…"

This is a novel that makes me realize how times have changed. Years ago when homosexuality was not discussed in high school much less celebrated this novel would not have been possible. It still seems a bit of a fantasy if news items about bullying and worse are to be believed. But this is fiction and well-written fiction at that. It is also gay fiction with a gimmick: the protagonist is a duo, both named Will Grayson. And not surprisingly one of the Will's story is told primarily in the form of text messages. The novel effectively surrounds the two Wills with interesting friends. Most important both to the plot and both of the Graysons in the gay-friendly school and town and gay characters, is a very out-and-proud character nicknamed Tiny Cooper. Tiny breaks stereotypes by being both overweight and capable of having a love life. Another character, one of the Wills, is taking medication for his depression, a depiction that's handled compassionately. Parental relationships are idealized but heartwarming. And it has a plot with almost, but not quite, too many coincidences. As long as you are willing to suspend belief just a bit the story's roller-coaster ride is great fun and very entertaining, with some lessons learned along the way. It is a positive sign for our changing times that young people have stories about both gay and straight teens who live together and celebrate their differences.

"here’s the sick, twisted thing: part of me thinks i deserve this. that maybe if i wasn’t such an asshole, isaac would have been real. if i wasn’t such a lame excuse for a person, something right might happen to me. it’s not fair, because i didn’t ask for dad to leave, and i didn’t ask to be depressed, and i didn’t ask for us to have no money, and i didn’t ask to want to fuck boys, and i didn’t ask to be so stupid, and i didn’t ask to have no real friends, and i didn’t ask to have half the shit that comes out of my mouth come out of my mouth. all i wanted was one fucking break, one idiotic good thing, and that was clearly too much to ask for, too much to want."  -  John Green & David Levithan, Will Grayson, Will Grayson 

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parrish lantern said...

An interesting post, is this an idealized representation of how homosexualuality is experienced in the USA . Because based on your description it appears great leaps have been made, which runs counter to the impression we get over here (uk) of the attitudes reflected by the media. Great post thanks.

James said...

This is a fictional portrayal of an ideal. However, I believe it has a substantial amount of realism with some added hope for the future. I think the media may focus on the more sensational and negative aspects of gay culture. While not denying the existence of problems and discrimination, there is a lot of good news that may go unreported.