This is not so much a review as a justification of my opinions on the novel: it’s well-written, even interesting, but in my view, too unrealistic. I don’t mean that it’s style is not realistic, on the contrary, it is very much so. It is unrealistic in the situation: a world a world where homosexuality is fully accepted…. It has not been like this since classical times, and while the books of Mary Renault get rid of homophobia by being set in Roman, Greek and Persian times, this is set in an unrealistic American village and in my view, this is not a utopia, but a romance which forgets the pain and plight of gay people. It lacks the dreamlike qualities of a fantasy and it lacks the necessary explanation of how things have come to be so good you need in a utopian novel; the main flaw of this book is that it ‘strips’ the contemporary world of a believable society but does not replace it with anything, leaving a huge gap at its core.
David Levithan, I believe, makes a huge mistake in presenting a world where transvestites can freely play football, or American football, without explaining the history of how the world has reached such level of tolerance and respect. As a gay man, I would love to see the day when we can freely be ourselves, everywhere, every time, yet, I fear if I played football in drags I would have to have an army of friends to protect me from abuse and violence. Proposing a utopian world has nothing intrinsically wrong, but it risks alienating the very same people it ‘liberates’: the world is far too divided on the issue; Putin wants to make mincemeat of all of us… So, how do we get to this gay paradisal state? A utopian novel is basically impossible to pull off, as I have said, more so if you forget the whole journey from reality to utopia: it becomes a joke, a cabaret act with no foundations.
I wonder what possessed Levithan to write such a dysfunctional novel: Mary Renault had, in a way, proposed gay Utopias in the past, but her work was grounded on the great sexual freedom for gay men in antiquity, and based on a lot of historical research, Boy Meets Boy, I am afraid, is the shadow of a fable, nothing more.
BOY MEETS BOY ON AMAZON: