Spoiler Alert; If you feel like at some point you’d like to read this book you probably shouldn’t read ahead.
Hey, so in just over a week, I finished the book yesterday morning, I’ve completely re-read Bill Konigsberg’s ‘Openly Straight’. It has been an absolutely joy to read again and it’s really got me wanting to read more books and blog about it. So to summarise:
What I liked about this book…
There’s a lot to love about this book, I like the way Rafe is honestly narrated through the whole thing, I really feel like I’m listening to his internal thought processes and no-one else’s, I like the fact that he’s given a distinctive writing quality and that’s evident throughout.
I like the constant questioning, Rafe takes a journey from the beginning of this book, starting out at Natick, shedding his skin so completely. We follow this journey with him until it is complete.
I love the dialogue, and actually the writing in general. There are so many memorable lines, parts of this book make me literally laugh out loud, while I feel in knots when things aren’t going Rafe’s way, it’s safe to say I’m invested in this character.
The subject matter alone is enough to inspire me and it’s really nice to hear different sides as to why it matters to be out to some people and why the label, ‘gay’, can also be inhibiting. Personally, I’d always like to believe that the ‘barrier’ the characters talk about hear is created by the lack of understanding on whoever Rafe came out too, both and Natick (eventually) and Rangeview. It’s also nice to see some of the flaws I had identified within myself too, Rafe’s defensive self-conscious nature is revealed.
I like how while other characters shape this story and have an effect on Rafe’s decisions, this book is ultimately about him. There are consequences to his actions, consequences which he could not have foreseen going into this. Ultimately Rafe does not get the happy ending that you think he might, it feels to me like the author is reminding us one that this isn’t the entirety of Rafe’s life and so it doesn’t have to end in a neat and tidy way, it’s simply a chapter in the process of Rafe’s journey.
What I didn’t like…
I struggle here, because this is probably my favourite book I’ve ever read. It just so happens that I’ve got a couple of things I’d like to see more of, more than I don’t like them so to speak.
I’d love to see where Rafe’s journey takes him in the future, it could be that he has insanely boring life but college is just around the corner and that opens up a hell of a lot of opportunities for him to develop and yet more labels to contend with away from the high school scene.
I’d quite enjoy reading Ben’s point of view of the whole experience, especially in the aftermath… How does he feel now.
I recommend this book if…
If you’re unaware of the effect labelling someone as ‘gay’ has on them and you’re interested in a story that really tackles both the good and the bad of concealing your own identity.
If you like teenage fiction that’s grounded in real life, this is refreshingly relatable, I’ve struggled with fantasy of late because it all seems about the size of the world you’re painting and the grandeur of some awesome adventures but it then sacrifices the plot, why do we need a relationship here just so you can pull it all apart?
See you real soon.