Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Totally Joe: A Book Review

Originally publishd Oct 5, 2006

Read the entre article here.

I first heard about this young adult book when I was looking over the list of books that won a Lambda Literature Award in 2006. This whimsical view into the life of a gay/questioning 12-year-old boy is conveyed by way of diary-like year long school assignment that called for the main character (Joe) to create an entry for each letter of the alphabet.

Without any pictures, one must use their imaginations to picture the purple hair, pierced ear rings and funky dress, bottomed out with checked shoes (well you do not have to imagine the checkered shoes, they are pictured on the front cover). You will also have to imagine the attractiveness of Joe’s on again off again pre pubescent love interest described in the book.

The cast of characters that surround Joe definite compliment his sometimes-degenerative appeal. A new age Rat Pack or Breakfast Club of the next generation is what I envisioned. A group of slumped over misfits who are bored with their current school situation and make fun of their teachers and classmates with witty banter and over analyzed rhetoric.

This whimsical account of adolescent life was written by James Howe, author of many other adolescently gay themed novels geared toward young adults, yet again brings to light the fears that many confused homosexual teenagers agonize over everyday the decide to walk out of their house and navigate through the world of high school, in this case junior high school.

Howe's previous written book, The Misfits actually inspired ‘No Name Calling Week’, a middle school and high school project for schools around the country sponsored annually by GLSEN and Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing.

Read the entre article here.

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