Thursday, February 28, 2013

Up and Coming: When Love Comes to Town by Tom Lennon

When Love Comes to Town by Tom Lennon

Release Date: March 1, 2013

Things have changed a lot since 1990. I was reminded of just how much that was the case when I read this blog post by John Green about our recent election. For teens who are glbtq, there are communities to look to for support and even politicians in Washington who are openly living their lives in the same way. This was unthinkable in 1990.

Neil Byrne plays football, hangs out with his friends and is well liked at school. He's getting sick of being the fifth wheel on double dates and constantly getting set up with friends of his friends' girlfriends. It's especially worse because he's keeping the secret of his homosexuality. His parents are traditional and Catholic, Neil fears that if they found out that their youngest son liked boys they'd kick him out.

But, now that secondary school is over, the secret is getting to be too much for him to carry. His resolve starts to fail and spills his secret to his best girl friend who is heading out of town for the summer anyway. When she doesn't run from him in fright, but instead suggests he head to a night club in town, he begins to get something that he never thought he'd had: hope. Hope that maybe he won't always be alone, hope that someone will understand him.

Because this is set in 1990, it's also an interesting look back at Ireland and the world. AIDS is a crisis that people are only at the very very beginning stages of understanding and Northern Ireland is a political hot spot. Small things are different as well, like having to find a pay phone to call home or grabbing the newspaper to find out what's playing at the movies.

Neil doesn't live in an It Gets Better world and reading this book reminds us just how far we've come and also how much is still to change.

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