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Monday, June 2, 2014

Sticks and stones may break bones, but WORDS can still fatally wound....

Hi there.
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers....the place to be when you're bookish, you know it and you're not afraid to show it.  Here's the secret though, even if you ARE afraid? You need not be.  Here you'll find a welcoming audience no matter your preference, genre, or topic of choice.  Speaking of which...

I'm not certain if you were aware, but JUNE is National LGBT Pride Month.
Now, whether you directly celebrate it because you count yourself among the numbers or you simply have friends (*raises hand*) or family that do, it matters not for the celebration is to take "positive stance against discrimination and violence toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people to promote their self-affirmation, dignity, equality rights, increase their visibility as a social group, build community, and celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance".  So, spread the word, the love, the knowledge and the goes a LONG way.

Now, let's talk about today's post title.
It's curious, I admit...and purposely so.
It was meant to grab your attention, give your curiosity a nudge and seeing as how you're reading this, it worked.  Now, here's the thing....the same can work in favor of books and against them; a well chosen title that is.  The one at the focal point of today's post definitely has controversy on its side and with good reason.  Admittedly, when I first saw the pitch in my inbox I thought....whoa.  No way.  It's shock and awe tactic was certainly off putting, I even told the author as much.  HOWEVER, I like to give every book that comes my way a chance to make an impression and though "firsts" count for something, they aren't EVERYTHING, so I read on.  Good thing too for the outcome of my adventure between the epages was quite surprising.  First things first though....let's get the title and cover revelation out of thie way.

No, really...are you ready?
Keep your mind open and digest the following....

....are you still there?
Now, just take it all in.
What are your thoughts?  Even at this early stage, I'm sure there's a myriad of questions, answers and more coursing through your mind.  I know they were through mine.

If you're still willing to give it a shot, take a look beyond the title, or even to perhaps discover the purpose of it's abrasive use, read on my friend, read on.....


Krissy Bells
Harold Blue Publishing

About the book....
Aaron Garrett is many things in life: he is a son, a friend, a student, and caring boyfriend to his lovely girlfriend Leigh Ann. In these roles, he is kind, hardworking, smart, loving, dedicated, and considerate. At Jefferson High School, he is a leader, a football star, and well-respected by his peers. Aaron’s life is perfectly on track, he is pursuing a college scholarship and hopeful for the future, except for just one thing: Aaron Garrett is gay. When a former child star from Aaron’s small Southern town saturates the national media after making homophobic comments, Aaron’s life is turned upside down as supporters rally around the sentiments. Social media attention begins to swell nationally and locally until it begins to eat away at every part of Aaron’s existence.


There are numerous remarkable things about this one...only where do I begin?

I liked the immediacy of the story, how it felt like it could be anyone's whether here, there, or around the world.  At the same time, that very realization saddens me.  How can we live in a world with so much progress, so much forward thinking and yet still hold things like this against someone?  I know I'm going to step on some toes with this and my apologies in advance if I offend your own beliefs, morals, or any other code of conduct, that is certainly not my intent.  My purpose is merely to share my thoughts on what I  felt was a really powerful read.

There were many times I wanted to reach into the story and come to the aid of a character in some fashion.  Aaron, our leading man....he struggled with balancing his inner self with what the world expected, stood by his A-hole of a "friend" even when he had his own doubts about the story he was telling, believed the best in people and then to have things turn on him the way they do; it brought a tear to my eye.  Jason, boy...I have a hard time even writing about him, the supposed best friend because really, that was beyond a line he crossed.  Irreparable damage never had a more personal name.  I so wanted to throttle him right through the words I was reading.  The audacity of some people.  Leigh Ann, the girlfriend, and her Friday night at the movies performance; I get it.  It's hard on THEM as well, something like this coming out after so many years, but the harshness, the finality of the actions, the nausea inducing hurtful, so hateful. Ironic considering they are suppose to be of faith...

Perhaps one of the most surprising to me and just as repulsive at J-hole's acting out is that of his mother.  Now, I'm not a parent, except to my fur-babies, so I can't directly relate to how it would feel to learn this about your son/daughter...but what happened to unconditional love?  What happened to familial support through thick AND thin?  For better or worse isn't just for marriage vows, not in my book at least.  I couldn't imagine that happening, let alone facing it in person and you know what?  So many do....not just the parental reaction but friends, acquaintances, the world at large.  For as many steps forward as we've taken, there are so many more to go and until that day we can all stand in each other's presence, accepting one another AS THEY ARE, there will be instances like this, purposes for stories like this to be shared and re-shared.  

Back to the story, as moving as things get the further on we go, I appreciated the open ending, though not everyone might.  It didn't clearly extinguish another light.  It didn't throw the door open and have everyone turn over a new leaf.  It left room for hope.  Even the prayer heard at the end could have been interpreted several ways.  Personally, I hope it was the most obvious meaning and yet with everything that transpired, that could easily be a stretch.  

In conclusion, definitely a case for not judging a book by its cover or title in this case.  The shock value it initially employs is not without reason.  It's meant to grab you, make you feel all the things the ugliness of those three letters brings, and remind you that words are powerful weapons both for and against us.  Remember that the next time you let your tongue fly.  Make sure what you're unleashing on the world is something worth being heard, something you can stand behind, something that makes it a better place.  Recommended read for teen readers through adults; it's very here and now, making this topic accessible to the masses, and the very souls that may be dealing with this realization on their own.

Ebook for review courtesy of author Krissy Bells.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title as well as her future works, be sure to seek her out online.  This title is available now via Harold Blue Publishing, so be on the lookout for it at your favorite online retailers of choice.

Until next time....happy reading!


Tracy Terry said...

Definitely a cover I looked at twice as at first I thought I must have misread it.

Too be honest going on the title alone I'm torn between finding it offensive and therefore not wanting to read it and being so intrigued by it that I'd be tempted to pick it up just to see where the story took us.

As a point of interest did you know 'fag' is slang for a cigarette here in the north east of England?

Michelle Pic said...

Wow, I saw the title and honestly got chills, as I read your review, even though I always like what you say, this one was very powerful. Yes, it is a shocking title, but, is it really more shocking or offensive than the so many gay teens who have killed themselves due to shame? Sounds like something else going on my TBR list! Thanks for putting this out there.

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