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Blue Boy Paperback – Bargain Price, May 1, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
"Blue Boy" is a sweet, captivating original story of a boy trying to make the best of a life his classmates tease him about, and to take strength from his beliefs and his parents' apprehensions about him. Alternately touching, sad and humorous, this is a coming-of-age novel of discovery and self-acceptance that anyone who has ever felt different can take to heart, and root for young Kiran as he strives to be the person he knows he can be. I give the book four finger-cymbal-clanging stars out of five.
Blue Boy is what is often called a "coming of age" story, about a boy's recognition and acceptance of his homosexuality. But this book, like the best of these, is so much more than that. Everyone who knows Satyal or works with him uses the same word to describe him: "brilliant." And this characterization is what distinguishes Blue Boy from so many similar stories. Satyal's voice is witty, sharp, somewhat cruel--the marks of a, dare I say it?--very masculine style.
Satyal has achieved what he set out to do, as explained in his Q&A at the end of the book: write a "humorous" and "playful" account of growing up Indian (Punjabi)-American in Middle America (Cincinnati). The scenes in which Kiran, the protagonist, discovers the escalating pleasures of pornographic magazines, are hilarious, speaking to everyone, of any gender or sexual orientation, who has gone through this essential rite of passage. And the payoff, a puncturing of a lyrical, misty embrace of sensuality, with an honest, coarse and pithy sentence, is, well, brilliant.
The hardest thing for a humorist to bring off is depicting serious emotion without spoiling the mood or sinking into sentimentality. Satyal manages this in an episode that truly made this reader laugh through her tears: the story of Kiran's dolls, Strawberry Shortcake and her sidekick, Blueberry Muffin. Anyone who's ever played with dolls knows there is a hierarchy. It's the acolyte, Blueberry, who meets a terrible fate, the incident made achingly poignant as Kiran acknowledges the sacrifice of the less valued one.Read more ›
Kiran is bright, artistic, a bit smug, and very lonely. When the child begins to see himself as turning blue, he rationalizes a new identity for himself.
The novel is quick reading, and both funny and agonizing. Kiran observes teens engaging in impersonal sex in the park, and this only serves to compound his uncertainty about himself. The resolution is a bit pat, but the struggle is very real as the boy works to come to terms with who he is.
The novel provides an unusual perspective on the Hindu religion as a child sees it, and insight into the life of a boy who is alone in the midst of people.
Which may be part of the problem. While I was reading it I kept marvelling what a great writer he is. But in retrospect I just don't think the storyline was worth the flair given to the words. Essentially, in a twisted way admittedly, it could be an after-school TV special (outcast school boy is tormented by others for being different, but eventually gets some respect by doing an incredible talent show).
The book is much better than this description and I don't want to say NO don't read it, but I had to force myself to get through it and only was pushed along because I was a tad captivated with the way Satyal pierced words and sentences together. For the story and the main character - just could not warm up to him that much. And I tried and at times I applauded what he did, but in the end would not go out of my way to recommend.
Now after lauding the author's writing skills I have to take one step back and say that sometimes there was a bit too much flash in the writing. It was showy and a bit grandiose and just like the main character just a bit too much.
So while reading I was caught in a dual mode of marvelling at the author's writing skills and at the same time wishing he would just tone it down at times and concentrate on the story-line. It would have been great to see other character's beyond the 'blue-boy' fleshed out a bit more. Instead we tended to have caricatures more often than depth.
So caught been saying 'neat book' and 'kind of wish I didn't pick it up.
Ever get that way?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I had to read this novel for my Ethnic Lit. class. I quite enjoy it since there's was some humor here and there and I also like the main protagonist's sassy attitude and... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Quinn
Kiran Sharma—the complex, precocious, brazen, stubborn, adventurous, and decidedly “different” 12 year-old Indian-American protagonist—is convinced that he is the Hindu god Krishna... Read morePublished 7 months ago by James R. Gilligan
I loved this book! A great read if you can relate or sympathize with not fitting in at all growing up, especially if you are gay,
queer, etc. And so funny :)
I liked the
Story but it was really not what I expected. It gives a good picture of what a adolescent y young man growing up in a foreign place may feel.
A hilarious, touching, imaginative story that will tickle you and ring profoundly true intermittently! I highly recommend this kind and insightful book to any an everyone!Published 16 months ago by Julien84
I generally don't use the word "brilliant" to describe books I've read. This time I would. The writing is superb, the story line well-developed, the characters dimensional... Read morePublished 17 months ago by William G. Schmidt
I read one review of this book, which in hindsight, was my first mistake. I expected a light hearted tale of a clumsy 12 year old boy trying to figure out how to fit in. Read morePublished 18 months ago by ASHLEIGH B MILLER