Homo – Michael Harris
This is going to be tough. I really hate writing bad reviews, but the deal is, you get an ARC and you’re honest about it. I didn’t like this, I’m really sorry. I think that’s partially my fault, I’ve been searching for some LGBT fiction that is as satisfying as fiction about straight people and I’m putting way too much pressure on things. Sure, you have David Levithan who’s books are pretty much perfect and you have stuff like Annie On My Mind and the Bermudez Triangle, but this fell spectacularly short of the bar.
Will’s never been obvious about being gay. Not like Daniel, who takes the heat — and the beatings — at Spencer High. But then Will’s best friend outs him on Facebook, and his small-town life starts to spin out of control. If he’s not like everyone else, and he’s not like Daniel, then who is he?
Just once I want a story about LGBT people where their defining characteristic is something other than their sexuality/ gender. Will unfortunately did not live up to this, all I really know about him is that he’s gay and he feels alienated, even though pretty much everyone he encounters in the book accepts him and tolerates him. I know he’s into space and is a bit of a geek, but that’s only because the author tells us that, and I know he’s a bit of an asshat. But that’s only because he’s constantly alienating himself from everyone around him and acting like some kind of victim just because he happens to find other men attractive. Will doesn’t come across as a geek, his characterisation, like the entirety of this book is shallow and almost non existent. It just left me hungry for something to actually happen.
Will has a fairly interesting coming out story that is only lightly touched upon, he barely has an opinion on the whole being outed on facebook thing, he has little to no interaction with anyone at school regarding his coming out, he pushes away the only person who could possibly understand how he feels, finds a boyfriend online that we only get snatches of his relationship with and how it makes him feel…. There just wasn’t enough of anything to draw me in and then there was the horribly condescending authors note at the back that actually made me do this:
Maybe I felt this away about the above reasons because it’s so short, but maybe that’s a blessing, the horrendous lead character, gay stereotyping and lesbian bashing made me quite glad this wasn’t much longer.
Having said that, the opening chapter was great, I really loved the beginning, if the whole book had been in that style it would have been great. The story had a lot of potential if only it had carried through with the ideas it was proposing. It was also wonderfully eloquent at times, Will would have these little existential moments that almost made him interesting but they didn’t go anywhere and seemed a bit lost in the shallows of everything else.There was a brilliant condom moment too, if you’ve read this you’ll know what I mean by that, it was a tiny scene that was packed with realism and I just don’t get why the rest of the book couldn’t have been like that. Another thing I didn’t really get with this was the way Will saw his parents, am I supposed to hate them? They seem lovely, especially his mum.
There was no mooning at a photo in a locker but the courage moment was there and to me (being a gleek) it fell kind of flat. Especially when a page later the show is actually mentioned by name.
This had potential and I really wished I could have liked it but it just wasn’t the book for me.