Walking home with Boy Meets Boy in hand, I half expected judgmental looks from the inhabitants of my hometown. Butler has a couple gay bars, ones my friend had pointed out to her by her driving inspector of all people, yet it’s never struck me as particularly tolerant. Walking down the sidewalk reading a book as conspicuously titled as Boy Meets Boy, I might as well have been taunting passersby into revealing their secretly homophobic ways. Which is why I made sure to hold the book so as not to keep the title out of view, especially when I walked past my mom as I reentered the house. My parents have a bit of an uncouth and intolerant streak to them, and I didn’t want to kick-start another uncomfortable discussion with my mother.
In the world of Boy Meets Boy, however, people needn’t closet themselves in any way. Whether you’re part of the LBGT community or simply a supporter, like myself, the most you have to worry about is hearing a slur or two on the rarest of occasions. This is a world where a cross-dressing guy can be both star quarterback and homecoming queen. In short, it reads as an argument by Levithan for how things should be. On one hand, I respect this and wish I could live in such a world. On the other hand, I doubt the plausibility of this ever coming to pass and found myself distracted by that as I was reading.
Similarly, I was bothered by the occasional dips into the absurd. Janitors wealthy enough to hire their own janitors thanks to stock trading, yet who stick around out of love for their job. Cheerleaders who ride in on motorcycles. There were times where it worked, instead of making me balk at the mere thought of whatever bullshit Levithan was trying to spin, but for the most part I hated these little digressions.
Yet Levithan’s Boy Meets Boy is a pleasant and breezy enough read for me to look past these, and other, faults. He’s not a bad writer, and this isn’t a bad story; I simply feel as if he would’ve benefited from a more hands-on editor who would’ve helped him cut down on the random side-notes and tone down the utopian nature of it all, thus keeping the reader’s attention where it should be, on what happens when “boy meets boy.”
Travis Smith’s blog, containing this review, as well as others, photography, and more, can be found here.