— Love @ 15:20 Comments (1)
Filed under: A, A-Z Reading Challenge, Decades '08, GLBT interest, Swedish, Young Adult
by Inger Edelfeldt
RabÃ©n & SjÃ¶gren
First line: Han var ett vÃ¤ldigt snÃ¤llt barn, annars var det vÃ¤l ingenting som skilde honom frÃ¥n andra barn; jag menar, ingenting som mÃ¤rktes.
Back cover blurb:
“Ã„r det hÃ¤r nÃ¥t slags modenyck, Jim?” grÃ¤lade min far. “NÃ¥t sÃ¥nt hÃ¤r Davy Boogie-trams? Det trodde jag verkligen du var fÃ¶r intelligent fÃ¶r att gÃ¥ pÃ¥!”
Ja, sÃ¥dÃ¤r har det alltid varit. Jag hade alltid varit en “duktig pojke”. Alla utom jag sjÃ¤lv visste precis vem jag var och hur jag borde utforma mitt liv. Min framtid skulle bli en tvÃ¥ngstrÃ¶ja av krav och normer, som jag inte vÃ¥gade frigÃ¶ra mig ifrÃ¥n. Min mÃ¶rka hemlighet — min kÃ¤rlek — skulle alltid fÃ¶rbli just en mÃ¶rk hemlighet.
Det trodde jag, tills jag mÃ¶tte Mats…
Thoughts: I’ll start off this review with the rating, for a change, since I’m giving the book an A and there’s no doubt in my mind that it deserves it. I mean, it’s my sixth re-read of it — obviously I like it a lot!
I really wish I could share it with all of you, but as far as I’m aware it’s only been translated into German (maybe Spanish), and that was a while ago, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s out of print now.
Basically, it’s a coming-of-age story about Jim, who grows up feeling different from the people around him. To cover up his isolation and make it bearable, he throws himself into his schoolwork and excels at it — he’s en duktig pojke (a good boy). Then, the summer he turns fifteen, he figures out the secret he’s kept locked away inside — he’s gay. From then on, he throws himself into his schoolwork even more, desperate to not let the secret out. And then, in the last week of high school, he meets Mats and things start to change.
Mats is… well, Mats! But that means all sorts of wonderful things and I am seriously in love with this character. I’d managed to forget this time exactly how much, so when he appeared on the page again I was just as swept away as the first time around. He’s snarky, and sweet, and he hand paints the frames of his spectacles — what’s not to like? ;)
Another important character is Jim’s mother. Each chapter in the book starts with a paragraph or two written from her point of view and previously they have always made me feel sorry for her. I’m not sure exactly what’s changed, but this time around her self-pity just made me want to strangle her.
In the end, though, it’s still a great book and I still have to finish it in one sitting. There’s just no way that I can sit down, read a couple of chapters, then put the book down and go on my merry business doing something else. If I start it, I have to finish it then and there, with the consequence that I only got about five and a half hours of sleep last night. It was so worth it, though.