Lynn Gardner: Two Boys Kissing


11.16.2013

Two Boys Kissing


Two boys kissing. You know what this means.
For us, it was a secret gesture. Secret because we were afraid. Secret because we were ashamed. Secret because it was a story that nobody was telling.
But what power it had.

Narrated in first person plural by the men who died during the AIDS crisis, this is ostensibly a novel about two boys kissing in an attempt to set the world's record. But it is also about other boys -- some in relationships, some alone, some looking for themselves, some looking for belonging. And, of course, it is about the dead, because we cannot talk about how we got to be here without talking about where we came from.

It is good to look at the world and know that, no matter how resistant individuals may be, humanity goes forward and the world gets better, bit by bit. But it is also sometimes hard to look at the changes that have happened (just in my lifetime!) and not think how much better it might yet be if so many people had not died.

It took me a month to finish David Levithan's Two Boys Kissing. Not because it is a lengthy novel, but because every time I read a bit of it I burst into tears. The day I decided to just power through and finish the damned beautiful thing, I cried so much that I gave myself a tension headache and chapped my nose.

It's good. Beautiful, poetic, bittersweet. It begs to be read aloud. Indeed, the rhythm and cadence of narration so put me in mind of Kushner's Angels in America that I checked a copy of the HBO special out from the library ... but haven't been able to watch it yet. Because CRYING. Dammit.

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013)

1 comment :

  1. Me too. I teared up through the whole book. The writing was amazing. One of the best books I read this year.

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