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27 March 2009 @ 04:07 am
The Year of Ice, by Brian Malloy  
The Year of Ice
By: Brian Malloy

Spoilers Behind the Cut: Moderate

Summary: It's 1978 and a typical January day in Minnesota's Twin Cities--except for Kevin Doyle, whose mother died two years ago when her car plunged into the icy waters of the Upper Mississippi. A high school senior, Kevin is a marginal student obsessed with keggers, rock and roll, maintaining his place in the pecking order of high school males, and--unbeknownst to anyone else--a boy in his school with thick eyelashes and a bad attitude. In the past two years, Kevin's relationship with his father, Patrick, has grown increasingly distant, and as lonesome women vie for his father's attention, Kevin discovers Patrick's own closely guarded secret: At the time of his wife's death, he had planned to abandon his family for another woman. More disturbing, his mother's death may well have been a suicide, not an accident.

Fanning the flames of familial discontent is Kevin's aunt Nora, a belligerent aqnd fiercely religious Irish immigrant who has never liked her brother-in-law and blames him for the death of her sister. In the coming year, a series of painful truths and closely guarded secrets threatens to shatter the tentative bonds between father and son and wreak havoc on the lives of those nearest to them both.



Says Risa: If anyone who knows me read that summary, you're probably wondering why I'm bothering to review a pile of dramarama. Risa hates this sort of shit, right? RIGHT... when it's written to appeal to a Twihard's* tweenie-weenie reading level. This book's a cut above that, and where indeed some of the family angst is a bit too much to stomach (most of all b/c I really, really hate the dad in this book) this book's totally worth a read just because Malloy gives Kevin a fabulous voice. I'm NOT talking the clickclick lizzzsp-faBU HUNNEH fabulous, but a pretty raw picture of a teenage boy who's troubled. The fact that he's gay's just the icing on the cake, really. I like this book through Kevin's eyes, because he has a great sense of humor, he's definitely one of the guys (making a point to be "alpha" bitches), and sometimes he's just awesome when he's mad. I particularly liked the scene where he threw a shopping cart through that bitch lady's rear car window, then later on in the book empathized with her for, well, I don't want to give THAT much away.

What I particularly like is that Kevin learns a lot in this book. He really gets the brunt of life being confusing and unfair, and at times doesn't handle it well, where at others I think he grows as a person. He feels like an actual person where, if I went to high school in the late 1970's, I'd be sitting in class with. He's not the stereotypical gay character with the hip sway and the lisp. He doesn't even really question himself. He knows he wants to bang guys. Heh, but again. What I like most about him is he is, first and foremost, a human being. I am so glad Malloy put more effort into breathing life into his character, rather than making him fit some annoying stereotype. Gays are human just like everyone else. Variety, people.

This isn't the most perfect book ever written, mind you. There are some bits that made me squirm and itch. Most scenes with Chuck particularly, and some of the family issues (that dad needs to DIAF, seriously.) Otherwise, all can be forgiven for the sheer fact that Kevin's a diamond in the rough compared to many, many "gay" main characters I've read in fiction/mangas throughout the years. Malloy gets an A+ for Kevin's character, if nothing else.

Rating: 3/3

Final Words: I think everyone should try this book at least once. You might disagree with my review profoundly for all I know, but I stand by what I'm saying. I would really like to see more homosexual characters written as humans, rather than romance/sex fantasies.

And for the sake of political-correctness... oye:

*Risa's definition of Twihard: One who's so blindly in love with Twilight that they'll claim it's "great literature." William Shakespeare wrote great literature, because he grasped the reigns of the English language as though it were second nature, whereas Stephanie Meyer wrote a wonky, adverb infested romance between a sparkly vampire and a doormat. Don't let my interpretation discourage you. You're entitled to your tastes as I am mine. I respect Twilight fans who find their novel amusing, so long as they at least acknowledge that it's NOT great literature. It's merely another "amusing novel" that gets way more hype than anything I read.
 
 
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yazoship on April 15th, 2011 12:47 am (UTC)
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