Note: This will be an ongoing effort to read, review and then write a commentary on various books and topics currently existing in the marketplace, most specifically geared toward elementary, middle school and high school age students. It will also help parents, relatives and educators to become better informed and aware of the books’ story lines, characters, plots, themes and final conclusions. This review / summary will not be an opinion piece, but it will contain passages taken from the pages of the books to fully tell the story. These book reviews will also aid parents, relatives and educators to pick and choose which books to select who would not ordinarily have the time to read them themselves.
Some of the books that are available in both public and high school libraries locally and nationally have questionable content. To offset the books that contain questionable content an alternative review and suggested book list will be provided that offers books and content on a conservative and moral standard.
Our first book review is Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison. This is a story of a coming of age young 20 year old adult male, of Mexican - American heritage, who claims and finalizes his identity through experiencing repeated failures, disappointments and hardships while engaging in various adult relationships. The author intersperses several scenes with the use of comedy and verbiage throughout to lighten Mike’s journey and to entertain the reader. There is also generous use of the “ f “ word.
As Mike’s life unfolds he begins to question his sexuality remembering a past experience with another young male when both of their penises were mutually fondled and they engaged in oral sex. As shared by Mike to a friend, “in fourth grade, at a church youth-group meeting, out in the bushes behind the parsonage, I touched Doug Goble’s dick and he touched mine. In fact, there were even some mouths involved.” Another conversation takes place where the main character, now an older Mike Munoz, brags casually to a lifelong friend of his, “What if I told you I touched another guys’ dick? What if I told you I sucked it? I was ten years old but it is true. I put Doug Goble’s dick in my mouth. He sucked mine, too.”
As Mike’s life chugs along he repeatedly reminisces and engages in conversations with other males in reference to exposing and expecting his penis to be fondled. Evison writes, “All I could think about while he was chatting me up over the rim of his cappuccino was his little salamander between my fourth grade fingers, rapidly engorging with blood.”
As the life story of Mike comes to an eventual conclusion, he decides to have a permanent relationship with Andrew, a self- described, Birkenstock type protester trying to save the world on all fronts. Evison describes in graphic and erotic detail the moment that Michael decides to make this relationship a permanent one. Through deep, prolonged, bloody kisses, intense hugs skin on skin, Michael feels liberated enough to admit his homosexuality to himself and others.
At the end of the book Jonathan Evison writes a personal essay detailing his own life journey and what prompted him to write it. He also adds pages for “Questions for Discussion” for the reader to ponder about issues in regards to social standing, taking a personal inventory of the readers own feelings, caregivers for the handicapped and an opinion on the endurance of Mike and Andrew’s relationship.