I recently read When Everything Feels like the Movies by Raziel Reid (A.K.A. @razielreid) and enjoyed the hell out of it. Then Raziel came to our book club meeting, which was weird but good.
Sidebar: On Book Clubs · I can feel the eye-rolling coming back through the Internet at me. The book-club notion had been opaque, but then I found myself exposed to my wife’s because it was at our house sometimes. Seemed to center around wine and munchies and argument, with a lot of laughing. And I’ve always been a bookworm, so now I’ve been going for years.
Anyhow, I recommend the book-club thing. All of us have known each other for a long time (4 are members of the original XML Working Group). Having a frame to hang a couple of hour of structured conversation on really ups the intensity of just hanging-with-friends.
Also, you end up reading books you’d never have gone near. Sometimes that’s a win and when it isn’t, maybe you got your mind expanded anyhow.
When Everything Feels Like the Movies · This is marketed as “young adult” but ouf, it’s heavy stuff. Told by and featuring Jude, a flamboyant cross-dressing boy in a nowheresville high-school, who is walking trouble; Can he escape via the bus to LA before something awful happens?
Parts are horrifying. Jude is in a shitty place, living among families that are broken and broke too, in a town with little to offer. His friends and crushes and enemies are so alive, jumping off the page, and you can’t help but feel anger or admiration, but mostly I just felt sorry for them. High school sucked for me and most people I know, which is why I wouldn’t normally choose a book about it. Yay book club.
Anyhow, the book won prizes and became a news story when certain decency-loving citizens objected loudly to it, on the grounds that it’s full of lurid homosexual desire and yes, actual sexual activity. If that’s gonna shock you, stay away.
All I need to say about the writing is that it managed to get this straight greybeard totally identifying with a gay teenager.
The meeting · We sat around and drank wine, ate blueberries, and a couple of hours just vanished. We’d never hosted an author and Raziel had never come to a book club, so I think we were all kind of tense. But everyone seemed to have fun.
Raziel was gracious when people were complimentary and willing to push back cheerfully when he didn’t agree with someone‘s take on an angle of the book. Um… Most writers would love to sit around for a couple of hours with people talking about their writing, n’est-ce pas?
He’s actively working on a film version, and yep, there’s a first-rate movie lurking in here. But that business is a heart-breaker, I hope he comes out of the process unsoiled.
I wondered if actually hanging with an author would change the way I felt about the writing. Nope. I’m totally more likely to buy his next book, just because he’s now a person I know. But I probably would have anyhow, because this one is good.
Comment feed for ongoing:
From: Martha (Jul 16 2015, at 09:14)
You captured the experience of reading and book club. So glad we did it.