Another guest review from my friend Rob Bittner, who has just started in the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies PhD program at Simon Fraser University. I really enjoyed Boy Meets Boy for its almost utopic representation of tolerance. Here’s what Rob has to say:
Boy Meets Boy (2003)
Considered by many to be a revolutionary novel within the GLBT (Queer) YA genre, Boy Meets Boy is a feel-good story about two boys who fall for each other in a small town where homosexuality is relatively well-accepted, except in the case of Tony, who has strict, Christian parents. The idea of social tolerance is not a main theme in the novel; however, the presence of Tony’s sub-story does highlight a desire for social, as well as religious, tolerance. The sub-plot of Tony being sequestered in his home and kept from socializing with his friends is the one instance in the entire novel that breaks the norm of tolerant behaviour throughout.
The majority of Levithan’s novel is so optimistic, however, that some have even gone so far as to call this book fantasy or at least fantastic realism. Just take this line, for instance: “I’ve always known I was gay, but it wasn’t confirmed until I was in kindergarten. It was my teacher who said so. It was right there on my kindergarten report card: PAUL IS DEFINITELY GAY AND HAS VERY GOOD SENSE OF SELF” (8).
There are instances of stereotypical characters, such as Infinite Darlene, the football player/drag queen who struts around the school in large wigs and high heels, spouting bitchy turns-of-phrase. But the book, for the most part, is wonderfully fast-paced, fun, and dare I say, Fabulous! Levithan’s prose is quick and simple but not at the expense of plot and depth of character. I highly recommend this book!