Thursday, October 14, 2010
GLBT Week- I'll Get There, It Better Be Worth The Trip by John Donovan
I'll Get There, It Better Be Worth the Trip by John Donovan
"When the grandmother who raised him dies, Davy Ross, a lonely thirteen-year-old boy, must move to Manhattan to live with his estranged mother. Between alcohol-infused lectures about her self-sacrifice and awkward visits with his distant father, Davy’s only comfort is his beloved dachshund Fred. Things start to look up when he and a boy from school become friends. But when their relationship takes an unexpected turn, Davy struggles to understand what happened and what it might mean."- summary from Amazon
This is the first time I've read this book, but it's not the first time I'd heard of it outside of this anniversary edition being published. A couple years ago, I did my Critical Analysis paper for the class of the same name on GLBT YA literature in the past 50 years. Obviously, this book was included in my research and spent a bit of time on it as it was the first YA novel to really deal with homosexuality in a frank manner.
While this book would be considered tame by today's standards (the two boys only kiss twice), it's such a refreshing read. Today, we're all about making out and sex right away, so it's nice to see this friendship slowly bloom into something more, but not too much more (the characters are only 13, so this is best, lol). I'd probably use the word "quaint" to describe this book, in an affectionate manner.
Davy is a wonderful main character and the way Donovan writes him is just so well done. The prose seemed very much stream-of-consciousness to me and there isn't much of a filter for what Davy thinks and says- typical of a young kid. In one of the essays included in the back, it was mentioned how Davy sees through the crap that adults say and I loved that about him. Children shouldn't be so underestimated; they're smarter than we think and it's amazing how we lose sight of that as we grow older.
I loved Davy's memories of him and his grandmother and seeing how he and his dog Fred interacted, and of course the friendship between him and Altschuler. Their friendship was handled realistically- it was almost laughable how they went from fighting and hating each other back to being friends again. It showed off middle school dynamics well.
I've already rambled on for way too long but I just wanted to mention two things. The first is that OMG DAVY'S MOTHER IS INSANE. Like, literally insane. It was scary reading about her whenever she was in a scene because she was like bipolar or something. The second thing is that I loved the foreward (written by Donovan's niece) and the three essays included in the back from Brent Hartinger, Martin Wilson, and Kathleen T. Horning. They were insightful and much fun to read and provided a fun extra to the story.
FTC: Received final paperback from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.