Title: Two Boys Kissing
Author: David Levithan
Genre: Teen Fiction, Young Adult, Literary Fiction
There are very few “gay novels” which I have read that have managed to leave their mark on the head and the heart. There are very few novels which I have been able to connect with. “Two Boys Kissing” was a book which I almost read in one sitting and wept buckets while and after the reading process.
“Two Boys Kissing” is just that – two boys kissing. There are eight boys and the book is about their lives – sometimes intermingling and sometimes not. There was something that I could identify with on every single page. It had me crying, because I could relate to everything – because I could sense my loneliness as a gay man through it, I could sense my frustration and above all, I could also sense the world we live in and how it decides sometimes to just not understand love at all.
The book speaks to everyone I think – not just gay men. It is about two boys who kiss in the ground of their high school – to prove a point, to tell the world that it is okay for two boys to kiss. They are no longer lovers and yet one feels strongly for the other. They have to break a record to make a new one. They have to stand and kiss. They cannot break away from the kiss for a single moment and that is how it is.
On the other hand, a pink-haired boy meets a blue-haired boy at a Gay party and they take a liking to each other and their story begins from there. They are just beginning and one of them has a secret to share.
There is Tariq, for whom the boys are kissing. Tariq, who was beaten up by boys who hate gay men and boys. The kiss is for solidarity. It is for brotherhood and Tariq is right there, to film the kiss. To let more people know.
Cooper hates who he is. He cannot come to terms with his sexuality. So he is online – in chat rooms, on sex date apps, waiting for someone to come by. Till his father, sees his chat history and all hell breaks loose. He is only seventeen.
Then there is Peter and Neil – radically different from each other and boys in love. Who know that maybe their love may not last long, but they have now and they want to live every moment they have together, though each his dealing with his insecurity about love.
This is the plot of the book. This is the story of so many gay boys, who are now men. Of boys who have so much to learn and see in the world. The story is narrated by men who are gone – who used to be boys. They were young and now they are dead.
Why is the book needed to be read by not gay men or boys, but also by the straight people? Because it is time, we need equality in society. This is unfair. We cannot love someone because he happens to be another man. So what? The ridicule, the bias and prejudice has to stop somewhere.
I do not even know if the gay world will be understood. But there is always hope with books such as these. With more movies, music and art forms that educate people – that also let people know that we are not any different. We are all similar.
The writing is simply breath-taking. Every line and sentence hurt and rang true throughout the book. I could identify myself through it all. The thoughts and the emotions could not have been more identifiable with. David Levithan could also write the book the way he did, is because he is gay. He has gone through it all and experienced it first-hand, so the writing comes from a more personal space.
I highly recommend this book to one and all. Read it. Be a little more sensitive to people. Let there be love. This is the best book I have read this month. No other book comes close.
Here are some quotes from the book:
“He has no idea how beautiful the ordinary becomes once it disappears.”
“Love is so painful, how could you ever wish it on anybody? And love is so essential, how could you ever stand in its way?”
“It is very hard to stay alive just for your own sake. It is very hard to stare into day after day without another familiar face staring back. It turns your heart into a purposeless muscle.”
“When you need to hold onto something, you should. Whatever gets you through, take it.”
“Laughter rarely lasts longer than a few seconds, it’s true. But how enjoyable those few seconds are.”
“There are all these moments you don’t think you will survive. And then you survive.”