“I was the first openly gay president of my third-grade class. I have seen men holding hands walking down the street in a big city and I have read about women getting married in a state that’s not so far away. I have found a boy I might just love, and I have not run away. I believe that I can be anyone I might want to be. All these things give me strength.”
Do you ever get that feeling where you think you know where a character is going? That awful feeling that a character you care about is about to do something really bad… and stupid?
Well, when you start a novel with a “For Tony” dedication, and you introduce a character called Tony who doesn’t seem to have a lot to be very happy about… Well, you worry.
Boy Meets Boy has the Tony character as its central figure, without his story being the focus of the story. Tony doesn’t even make a lot of appearances in the novel. But at its heart, this whole thing is about him–even when Paul, our actual main character, makes you feel it isn’t.
I feel like I’m confusing you. I probably am. But this is really how I think in real life, and I wanted to get a dialogue going, so I’ll just continue on. That all right with you?
If you’re still reading, I’ll take that as a yes.
Now, the book tells the story about Paul and Noah: how they meet one fateful night, how they fall in love, how they fall apart, and how they get each other back. For someone like me who hasn’t a romantic bone in his body, this was still a great love story because of the devices used. How the two meet, how they fall apart, and how Paul wins Noah back.
At the end of it all though, I thought Boy Meets Boy would’ve worked regardless of the characters’ gender.
You see, David Levithan’s book doesn’t discuss the taboo of gay love head on. In his Utopian town, everyone accepts everyone. Well, most everyone. So when you think about it, Paul could be a girl, or Noah could be a girl, or they could both be girls–and it wouldn’t matter. Their love is a simple love. It’s pure. And it’s really not the point story.
And this is the part that’s genius: David Levithan sets their love story up as a way to tell a story about acceptance.
I said it before: Tony is our central character even if he’s not our main one. Because it’s through him that we actually see character growth. It’s through him that we see the journey begin and end. And even with all the toppings in this fabulous pizza of a novel, Tony is the crust that holds everything together.
At the end of the novel, I wasn’t really concerned whether or not Paul would get Noah back. I knew he would. It was that kind of a love story. What mattered more to me was that Tony would be all right in the end. Tony was who needed my concern.
Because: you know how you get the feeling that you know what’s going to happen to a character, and you don’t what that thing to happen? You really feel relief when the author sees how important it is that he survive the novel. Not because he likes the character, but because that character is the one that needs to be a symbol of hope.
Of course, I could just be talking a whole load of crap. I’m not the author, and I don’t know if this was the intent. This is how the book spoke to me. And I am open to discuss with you guys what the book means to you.
So…? Let me know at the comments below!