The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family (Review)
reviews* / November 25, 2014

Title: The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family Author: Dan Savage Narrator: Paul Michael Garcia Publication Year: 2006 Pages: 304 (audio length: 9 hours 49 minutes) Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com From the cover: Dan Savage’s mother wants him to get married. His boyfriend, Terry, says “no thanks” because he doesn’t want to act like a straight person. Their six-year-old son DJ says his two dads aren’t “allowed” to get married, but that he’d like to come to the reception and eat cake. Throw into the mix Dan’s straight siblings, whose varied choices form a microcosm of how Americans are approaching marriage these days, and you get a rollicking family memoir that will have everyone — gay or straight, right or left, single or married — howling with laughter and rethinking their notions of marriage and all it entails. The only writing of Dan Savage’s that I’d read before this book was a bit of his Savage Love column, though I’d obviously heard his name around a lot. He’s famous in certain circles for a lot of things, namely writing no-nonsense responses to reader questions (primarily about sex or relationship issues), and more recently for creating an…

Will Grayson, Will Grayson (Review)
reviews* / October 21, 2014

Title: Will Grayson, Will Grayson Authors: David Levithan & John Green Publication Year: 2010 Pages: 338 Genre: Fiction, Young Adult Source: E-book version borrowed from the public library From the cover: One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, Will Grayson crosses paths with . . . Will Grayson. Two teens with the same name, running in two very different circles, suddenly find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, and culminating in epic turns-of-heart and the most fabulous musical ever to grace the high school stage. Told in alternating voices from two YA superstars, this collaborative novel features a double helping of the heart and humor that have won them both legions of fans. This was probably one of the most fun YA novels I’ve read this year. And it’s not really that much of a surprise, coming from David Levithan (author of Boy Meets Boy, Every Day, and Six Earlier Days), whom I love, and John Green, whom I’ve heard such good things about. Told from two different POVs, Will Grayson, Will Grayson manages to tell the stories of more than just the two main characters. It goes into the feelings of them and their friends in great depth…

Every Day (Review)
reviews* / October 6, 2014

Title: Every Day Author: David Levithan Publication Year: 2012 Pages: 384 Genre: Fiction, Young Adult Source: E-book version borrowed from the library From the cover: Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl. There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere. It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with — day in, day out, day after day. I really liked most of this book. The premise is really easy to catch on to, and unlike other “stuck in a stranger’s body” type narratives I’ve read or see on television, this one really seemed to touch deeper on the philosophical and moral issues. Particularly, I liked the way that Levithan explored issues of identity, family, gender, and sexuality through the different incarnations of A. I…

Jumpstart the World (Review)
reviews* / September 27, 2013

Title: Jumpstart the World Author: Catherine Hyde Ryan Publication Year: 2011 Pages: 192 Genre: Fiction, Young Adult Source: E-book purchased from the Apple store From the cover: Elle is a loner. She doesn’t need people. Which is a good thing, because now she has to move out of her apartment so her mother’s boyfriend won’t have to deal with her. Then she meets Frank, the guy who lives next door to her new place. Being with him is impossible: he’s a grown-up and has a girlfriend.  Still, Elle can’t stop thinking about him.  Frank isn’t like anyone Elle has ever met. He listens to her. He’s gentle. And Elle is falling for him, hard. Then Elle discovers that Frank is different in a way that Elle was never prepared for: he’s transgender. Elle’s head and her heart explode; her world is turned upside down.  But when an accident nearly takes Frank’s life, Elle must search inside herself to find not only the true meaning of friendship but her own role in jumpstarting the world. I’d heard a lot of good things about this book before I picked it up for the Literary Others reading event. Somehow, though, I’d never managed…

Memory Mambo (Review)
reviews* / March 27, 2013

Title: Memory Mambo Author: Achy Obejas Narrator: Ruth Oakes Publication Year: 1996 Pages: 200 (audio length: 8 hours 39 minutes) Genre: Fiction Source: Audiobook purchased from Audible.com From the cover: Memory Mambo describes the life of Juani Casas, a 25-year-old Cuban-born American lesbian who manages her family’s laundromat in Chicago while trying to cope with family, work, love, sex, and the weirdness of North American culture. Achy Obejas’s writing is sharp and mordantly funny. She understands perfectly how the romance of exile – from a homeland as well as from heterosexuality – and the mundane reality of everyday life balance each other. Memory Mambo is ultimately very moving in its depiction of what it means to find a new and finally safe sense of home. I read this book quite a while back as part of the Literary Others event in October, but didn’t get around to reviewing it until now. (Sorry! There’s still one more of these to come, actually, next week.) Let’s start with what I loved about this book. I loved the way that Obejas wove Cuban and Cuban-American culture so integrally into this Memory Mambo. I loved the cultural and linguistic references, and I just generally found…