Friday, February 28, 2014

Abducted by Two Boys Kissing

I read Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan as part of my...

THE HEADLINE: How long can you kiss? Thirty-two hours sound long enough?

TIME IN CAPTIVITY: I had a really hard time coming up with what the headline for this book would be because the book is about so much more than two boys trying to break the world record for the longest kiss. The book works its way through 5 different story lines, but in the end I decided for the headline I would stick to the story line the book was titled after...simply because it was easiest.
The book gets its name from the story line of Harry and Craig. They are ex-boyfriends who are trying desperately to maintain a friendship. Then one night a friend of theirs is attacked simply for being gay. Harry and Craig decide to break the world record for the longest kiss as a way of showing the world that there is nothing wrong with two boys kissing. In the book the world record they have to break is just over 32 hours, so the book takes place over that weekend.
Ryan and Avery are two boys who meet the night before the big kiss and then have their first couple of dates throughout the course of those two days. They were my favorite couple because everything was so new and exciting.
Neil and Peter are two boys who have been together for over a year. Even though their relationship is pretty solid they still have obstacles and bumps along the road to navigate.
Then there is also a story line that follows a teenager named Cooper. His life seemingly implodes when his parents violently confront him about being gay and he runs from the house. He spends the weekend completely lost.
I had read that the book was based on the fact that two boys, Matty and Bobby, actually did come together and broke the world record for the longest kiss in real life and then four days later, in a town not to far away, another boy, Tyler, committed suicide. Knowing this made reading Cooper's story line extremely emotional because I had an idea of what message he was supposed to be demonstrating.
The 5th story line, technically wasn't a story line at all, it was the narration. Levithan uses the voice of the universal "we" to represent all of the past generations of homosexual men who have passed on. As angels they are watching over then current generation of men as they start to figure out their place in the world. Levithan was using the contrast between the past generation and the current one to show how far we have come in excepting and supporting equality, and at the same time, how very very far we still have to go.

THE ABDUCTOR: I was completely abducted by that 5th story line. That ingenious decision elevated the power and volume found in this book.
So many of us had to make our own families. So many of us had to pretend when we were home. So many of us had to leave. But every single one of us wishes we hadn't had to. Every single one of us wishes our family had acted like our family, that even when we found a new family, we hadn't had to leave the other one behind. Every single one of us would have loved to have been loved unconditionally by our parents. 
THE POINT OF ABDUCTION: I was excited to get to when Harry and Craig actually started their Big Kiss because I wanted to see all the work that went into it. But I think each of the story lines had their own point of abductions. When Neil and Peter hit their first bump in the road (at least the first one featured in this book). When Ryan and Avery first went out in the canoe. When Cooper ran from his parents. And most moving of all, each time the "we" reflected on their battle with AIDS.

PICK UP LINE: My pen was working overtime underlining in this book. And while there were so many quotes I could share that were incredibly powerful, there was one lighter one that I personally loved.
We often believe the truest measure of a relationship is the ability to lay ourselves bare. But there's something to be said for parading your plumage as well, finding truth as much in the silly as the severe. 
It may seem strange, but sometimes I do feel like it is easier to be serious with people and yet incredibly difficult to show off my silly crazy ridiculous side. Because believe me...I can get pretty silly!

ABDUCTION RATING: The heartrending power behind having one generation that was lost to a senseless disease reflect of the hope and promise found in the generations to come was brilliant. In the end I sincerely believe Two Boys Kissing will forever be one of the most important books I have ever read.


Kate @Midnight Book Girl said...

I am definitely going to have to borrow this one (or finally make it to a Leviathan signing and buy it then). I love the idea of the 5th storyline!

And yes, I know you can get pretty silly! ;)

Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase said...

Ack, this sounds so good! Of course, it IS David Levithan. And that 5th storyline sounds so cool! He always incorporates such interesting, unique aspects into his stories.

P.S. I love your silly side, and I think you should let it out more often! :)

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