Title: Two Boys Kissing
Author: David Levithan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Is this what David Levithan does? Is this how he has the rest of you dazzled?
In fairy tales, the mother often needs to be dead. In mythology, the father must die for a prince to become a king.
But who wants a family life like fairy tales, like mythology?
Two Boys Kissing is my first book solely(I’ve read one of his collaborations with Rachel Cohn and no recommendation from me there, is all I’ll say) by Levithan and he has my attention, and I have his name on auto-buys from here on. With a mix of pretentious and gorgeous prose, in the narration of dead gay men and raw emotions of his characters, DW* has written a phenomenal masterpiece, in my opinion.
*Imma call him DW since DW = Doctor Who and cause he didn’t have the decency to be name LEVIATHAN. Deal with it. =D
As it starts out, Two Boys Kissing is somewhat disconcerting with its first-person plural present tense form of narration. I don’t think I’ve read any such POV, at least not in recent times, but DW pulled it off prudently and simply. The constant use of ‘we’ by the chorus of gay men lost to AIDS was heartbreaking as well as revealing, as different sides to those men were revealed, and thus, it helped me in not clumping all of them into one entity. The collection of their pasts and experiences that were only alluded yo came across as the despondent and hopeful voices of every person that was ever part of the LGBTQ+ community. Heck, it felt like the voice of every person that was ever different or scared. And this is what had me awestruck- the book isn’t just the story of eight kids but all those men that lost or were lost, all the heartbreak and resentment and forgiveness.
The second thing that might make some people hesitant to venture further is the writing. It’s pretentious and gorgeous, but so goddamn difficult to get through. Fortunately, after the first twenty-percent, it simplifies without losing its realism or captivating factor. Personally, I didn’t mind the beginning and the writing just begged me to come back and again for re-reads.
Music isn’t much different now from what it was when we hit the dance floor. This means something. We found something universal. We bottled that desire, then released it into the airwaves. The sounds hit your body, and you move.
We are in those particles that send you. We are in that music.
Dance for us, Tariq.
Feel us there in your freedom.
I want to string in a bunch of other thousand quotes but for a book this short(dammit why?), even two quotes seems excessive. Despite my bitchiness about the small number of pages and the light weight, I believe the book was of perfect length. The ending was just perfect and if he had gone beyond, I don’t think the book would have been just as stunning. Because Two Boys Kissing just dipped in and out of the boys’ lives and yet allowed us to be tangled in the web, and that’s where the real magic lay.
The dead men follow the stories of different boys in different times of their lives and relationships. There are Craig and Harry who are going to kiss for the next 32 hours and then some to break the world record and also make a statement, for their friend Tariq. The thing is they are exes and the best of friends but Craig isn’t over Harry, not yet. And a few towns over, a pink-haired boy meets a blue-haired one at a gay prom; it’s the beginning of a possibility and the possibility of a beginning for Avery and Ryan. Somewhere else a couple is in love and it’s simple and it’s not but they are in love and that’s that. Oblivious of everyone and the world is a lonely boy who has stopped hearing the music and forgotten the dance, and in plain shit and tired of this plain shit. There is also sometimes focus on the aforementioned Tariq and somebody’s mother and another’s best friend.
Another thing I liked was that perspectives were brought in from others and mothers, how it’s not always about rejecting but accepting, and the shock and the ‘rents. Holy sweet child of cheesecakes and x-mas lights, I adored this book and I hope you do too!
Because I’m shameless:
Things are not magical because they’ve been conjured for us by some outside force. They are magical because we create them.
If you want a good read LGBT fiction, this book is perfect and if you don’t want, this is book is perfect in any case. You should read Two Boys Kissing while I go out hunting other DW books and reading Boy Meets Boy(it’s on NetGalley!) and The Lover’s Dictionary(my sis says it’s awesome!).
/excitement purged…my foot!
Look at that cute cover!