Gr8 read: Out (gr8reads)

Out - Joanna Kenrick I had no idea how this book was going to pan out or whether I would even like it when I first picked it up at my college library, but I did know instantly that the size of Out and the synopsis made my decision easy to make, and so I chose to take it out and give it a go. My first guess on this book was that it would be a short little emotional book, with some honest truths on the subject inside and maybe a little lesson learning, but whether this was down to my out of proportion expectations or whether it was just what I would have prefered, who knows, but Out didn't deliver on that front, at all, and that possible made my enjoyment for the book a lot less than it could have been.

This was not only my first time reading about the subject of being gay, but was also my first short read, and I really feel that even with my limited amount of knowledge on the GLBT genre that there are much better, longer books that cover the subject so much better than Out does. To me, Out felt like it was targeted at much younger people than myself; in age ranges from 12 - 15, and while I didn't know this at the time, I think it's fair to say if I did know this, I more than likely would not have picked it up. While this is not the books fault and is more the fault of my college for placing it in the young adult section, it was still a problem I couldn't get past. I also feel that the synopsis was extremely misleading. Whether this is my naiveness considering the style of the cover or whether it genuinely is misleading, but the use of the word 'love' really seemed to annoy me as I made my way quickly throughout the story. While the synopsis spoke about our leading lady 'loving' the her best friend, and said best friend 'loving' someone else, I think the word they were looking for was actually fancy, or like, or even the phrase find attractive, but they most definitely were not meant to use love. I feel this is reason I expected some genuine relatable emotions and just got lot with a lot of shame and memories of days at my secondary school.

However, I didn't give Out no stars, so there must have been something, if not things I liked, right? Right, there were, but they're extremely personal, so no getting your hopes up. I personally have been through the difficulty of being unaccepted in secondary school; I was bullied for being bisexual after I came out at 13, which in the school I went to, was almost like a fashion statement, and while some of the girls and guys said it and then claimed it was a 'stage', I was honest and after awhile it all died down and no-one ever questioned me on it because they had considered my 'coming out' as a 'stage' too. While my school past is different to how the story in Out panned out, both the book and my experiences crossed paths on more than one occasion. The examples of rumours and myths in this book reminded me of those we had in school, and the instant harshness and generally repulsive behaviour from the other teenagers in the book really took me back to a time when people I used to know where just as ignorant and uneducated as these characters. While I didn't particularly like how short and almost too simple the story was, I did like how it made me remember an attitude I'd almost forgotten existed.

I do think that if this book had much more recognition in the younger parts of libraries, both at school and in the public, then it would be a great way to teach some of the children that the rumours and myths they think they know, that their miseducated knowledge and attitudes, that there general behaviour towards a brave step of actually stepping out, is all untrue. I also feel that if there more books, maybe a little bit detailed and descriptive, but similar to Out where out there for younger teens, then sexual and personal attitudes in our society would change. I'm glad I spent the 20 minutes on my bus journey reading this, however I doubt it'll be in my memory for longer than 2 weeks.

2 Stars.

My blog post on Out.