Vincent is the only son of an evangelical minister, and every week his father invites parishioners to come down the aisle and be healed of their sins. Vincent has known since he was eight years old that he's gay, and he prays without ceasing to have this sin lifted from him. His parents seem to suspect. Yet while they are loving and affectionate parents, there's no possibility of them accepting this. And Vincent is sure these feelings growing inside him are a one-way ticket to Hell. Why hasn't God answered his prayer yet?
Then he meets Robert, another teen in his father's congregation. Attraction -- and eventually intimacy -- begin to blossom between them. Their relationship is innocent yet sexy, and it's very sweet. Their bond deepens, and when Vincent eventually gets his answer from God, it may be completely different from what he expected.
This is a very short novel but an emotional one, with plenty of descriptive detail. I really liked the fact that both homosexuality and Christianity were explored in a positive way, and the very strict fundamentalist brand of Christianity practiced by Vincent's parents was treated more respectfully than I'd expected. It does a good job of delving into how a gay teen might begin to reconcile his sexuality and his faith. And I like the nurturing, unconditionally loving perception of God and the message that "God is a lot bigger than the church."
There are a few aspects of the novel that disappointed me. The story moves slowly, but it's very short; although I came to care about Vincent and Robert, there wasn't room for deep character development. In a sense, the story and characters seemed like a sketch, without the details and colors filled in. And the narrator subscribes to many gay male stereotypes -- limp wrists, dressing in pink, and fussing with hair and clothes. At first, it lent a touch of dry humor, but at moments I found it a little bit annoying. I waited for him to move past that, and I didn't see it happen. Maybe it's because this is a story of the very early stages of coming out and understanding ones sexual identity.
Overall, this was well done, though it felt unfinished to me, and it had some beautiful moments. I think many young adults will enjoy this novel, and it will especially appeal to religious gay teens.
**Note: This novel is set in the 1970s -- here I go past trippin' again! :-) I'm going to need some time to decompress from the 8-track tapes, feathered hair, and Linda Ronstadt hot pants. And especially all that Barry Manilow!
Read More Reviews: Becky's Book Reviews; Lucy Was Robbed
|5- Cherished Favorite||4 - Keep in My Library||3 - Good Read||2 - Meh||1 - Definitely Not|