Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

87 Stars

“This is the story of creation.  The creation of a kiss.  The creation of stories.  The creation of lives.”  The kiss belongs to Harry and Craig, two 17-year olds who are trying to break the world record for longest kiss, but the story belongs to so many others.  It belongs to Neil and Peter, who have a comfortable dating relationship.  It belongs to Tariq, who was the victim of a brutal hate crime.  It belongs to Avery, a transgender who is thrilled and afraid at the possibility of first love with Ryan.  It belongs to Cooper, who wasn’t prepared to be outed, let alone for the utter rejection of his sexuality by his parents and now is contemplating suicide.  It belongs to Tom, the history teacher who lost a partner and has committed to remaining there for all the others who have gone as well.

Narrated by the guardian angels who lost their battle to AIDS more than a generation ago, “Two Boys Kissing” is, hands down, my favorite read of the year.  I’m fairly certain my heart was actually trying to break free from my chest at some point just to save me from myself.  The book is 196 pages long, and I’m fairly certain I full-on ugly cried for at least 124 of them.  To youngsters who weren’t present at the onset of the AIDS virus, this book will tell you things that are almost unfathomable.  Ignoring the disease, refusing to spend money on treatment or a cure, making victims live in quarantine and total isolation – these are things one believes only third world countries do, but they happened here not so long ago.  As Levithan says, “we did not choose our identity, but we were chosen to die by it.”

However, Levithan also says “being gay doesn’t define you – it’s just a part of your definition [and when the story spreads] maybe it’ll make people a little less scared of two boys kissing than they were before, and a little more welcoming to the idea that all people are, in fact, born equal, no matter who they kiss or screw, no matter what dreams they have or love they give.”

To all of my personal angels who lost the battle – It’s happening.  The times they are a changing.

"This is the power of a kiss:  It does not have the power to kill you, but it has the power to bring you to life."

Matty Daley and Bobby Canciello – 32 hour 30 minutes 47 seconds kiss
September 18, 2010

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