Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
New York Times bestselling author David Levithan tells the based-on-true-events story of Harry and Craig, two 17-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record—all of which is narrated by a Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to AIDS.
While the two increasingly dehydrated and sleep-deprived boys are locking lips, they become a focal point in the lives of other teen boys dealing with languishing long-term relationships, coming out, navigating gender identity, and falling deeper into the digital rabbit hole of gay hookup sites—all while the kissing former couple tries to figure out their own feelings for each other.
This was the first LGBT book I’ve ever read by a bestselling author. All the other stories I’ve read by this genre were on wattpad (though some stories I read there are published by now.) And wow. Just wow. This was so intense in so many ways. Reading Two Boys Kissing felt so real. You’re directly being spoken to by the generation of gay men who lost their fight to AIDS. They are like hovering angels, flying around the world, zooming in on the lives of the gay teenage boys of this generation, then zooming out, then zooming in again on others. It’s like it’s partly documentary and partly fiction and in a way that’s true, because parts of this book are based on true events. It’s strange yet refreshing. It makes you step inside a world of the past, the present and the future at the same time. This book is an experience you have to read for yourself to fully understand the powerfulness of it. And boy, was it powerful.
I’ll be honest, I had to get used to this way of narrating in the beginning, but once I was used to it, it made the story that much more intense and real. It gave this book a dimension it wouldn’t have been able to reach otherwise. Why, you wonder? Well, when books are narrated from the point of view of the main character (or two main characters) you get their point of view on things. Logically. When a book is narrated from a third person’s perspective, you get a wider view, but here… You are spoken to by multiple narrators. People who lived and loved and hurt and fought. Their life experiences are a part of the story they’re telling because they have a conscious, they lived through the same situations the boys in Two Boys Kissing do, they know how it feels, and so they let you see things from all kinds of angles. Yet, it feels so raw and touching and personal. It’s hard to explain, but it is such a unique experience.
The boys. Oh, I love all of these boys. Each of them is so different and they were all lovely personalities to meet. These are boys in their teens, trying to figure out who they are and accept themselves for who they are in a world that has trouble to understand. These are boys struggling, boys standing up for what they feel, boys who are being bullied and dismissed, boys who are terrified of being rejected by their loved ones. Harry, Craig, Ryan, Avery, Peter, Neil and Cooper’s stories hit so hard because they’re based on real people. So many boys and men out there right now are struggling with the issues they are struggling with. And that makes this book so beautiful and so big. This book has a huge impact.
Two Boys Kissing deals with a theme, that to my idea, is such an important topic to speak up about. We live in the 21st century, people! Everyone should be able to love whoever he or she wants and not have to hide it. Being different is not wrong. It’s not. I wish more people realized this. Wished more people lives by this. Stood for this. When it comes to acceptation, the world is headed in the right direction, but it’s nowhere near done and I fear there is a long road still to come. But I do believe we will get there eventually. People will finally start opening their eyes. I have to keep believing that. I just don’t understand how anyone can view it as wrong. Everyone deserves to be happy and be free in the way they want to live. We’re all humans and we all love the same, also if it might be different than one’s used to.
What makes me mad is how no one even questions someone else’s preferences on food, so why is that any different from our preference in sexuality? Just because I like strawberries doesn’t mean my sister or my neighbour like strawberries too. I’m not wrong for being left-handed even though it’s different since most people are right-handed. Nobody thinks anything of me being left-handed, who gives a shit, right? So why do people make such a point of making clear what their thoughts on preference in sexuality is? That it would be wrong somehow, when’s it’s not. Why is that any different than me liking strawberries and being left-handed? It’s not like I chose to like strawberries and be born left-handed either, right? I just am who I am, and the same goes for your sexual preference.
Okay, I’m done with my rant. It’s just that it pisses me off so bad that there are so many people thinking they have to hide their love. So many people don’t even find love in their lives, even if they hope to find it one day. Why in the world would the people who do find it have to hide just because other’s might not understand? They should be able to be just as free as everyone else. Because there is absolutely nothing wrong about it. Please, please, please, if you’re struggling with what you feel and for who, please don’t let anyone in this world tell you it’s wrong or unnatural or any of the horrible, horrible things dense people declare. Stand for who you are. Be proud that you know yourself. If you need to talk and you don’t know where to go, you can always come to me. Reach out, there are many people who do understand.
That is something I truly admire about Two Boys Kissing, as well. It doesn’t only tell you the story of seven completely different guys trying to find out who they are and what they want to stand for, it’s also so clearly a hearten up all the people who are in the same situation and feel the same way, to show them they are not alone and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with them. And I can’t say often enough how important this is.
I think this is a wake-up call for everyone, an important issue to think about and open your mind to, and so I would wish for everyone to read this book to. This is an amazing book that has the power to help many struggling teens in their personal darkness and uncertainty, but it’s not only meant for them. This is a book everyone should read. It makes you look at yourself closely, as a person, how you stand in life. The amount of life lessons is so huge, you can’t help but feel connected to this book. It is a uniquely put together story and will leave you remembering and thinking back to their advice for a long time.