Sunday, November 20, 2016

BOOKS: Boys! on audio

There was a theme to the titles of a number of the books I downloaded for YA Sync this summer...

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan ( 6h 1 min)

An imagined ideal world, where LGBT kids in high school are accepted and take an active role in school life and culture. So the star quarterback can be Infinite Darlene, a trans girl, the cheerleaders ride motorcycles, and everything is positive. Within that, regular high school angst - friendships having trouble, trying to find the new boyfriend, problems with parents. The full cast recording is well done.
From my experience in as a high school teacher, at my school, openly gay students have been elected to student council and the trans kids are visible and involved. This is not to say that everything is smooth or perfect, but gay couples go to prom together with seemingly little stir, from the teacher's perspective. We are on our way...

The Boy Born Dead: A Story of Friendship, Courage and Triumph by David Ring
Ring is a Christian motivational speaker who also has severe celebral palsy. The story is told from his friend David Widemark's point of view when they meet in high school. Tolerance, looking beyond the superficial, and accepting people for who they are - lots of good in this book.  I can respect their born-again Christian lifestyle, but it isn't always what I want to read about. There were some disturbing aspects to Ring's home life and he was routinely bullied, but his ability to overcome the obstacles in his life and to remain a decent guy is admirable.

This Boy's Life by Tobias Wolff

A memoir of a troubled teenage life by an author. Wolff was one of the first memoir books that started the memoir craze in the 1990s. This was also made into a movie in 1993 starring Leonardo diCaprio and Robert deNiro. I'm not too sure what I thought of this one. I listened to it intermittently, and didn't feel the need to listen continuously. A teenage boy and his mother move cross country to the Pacific Northwest be with her new boyfriend, who was horrible. His other brother lived with their father, which was weird. Nobody was very good. Wolff gets in all kinds of trouble, lies to get into a private school, gets out of trouble all the time. Just not my demographic (Wolff was born in 1940s) and I didn't get any great life lesson from it.