Sunday, January 30, 2011

Freaks and Revelations by Davida Wills Hurwin

The horrific act of violence at the center of this story did actually happen in Los Angeles in 1980. A teenaged white-supremacist beat up a younger gay homeless teen and left him for dead. The boy survived. Years later, as adults the two men met again. They now work together, giving inspirational talks. Their message is respect, and of turning from hate to hope.

Davida Wills Hurwin fictionalized their lives, allowing readers to understand how one boy - Doug - can grow into a teenager addicted to violence and how another - Jason - can end up living on the street at age 13. Alternating viewpoints between the two boys, the story moves toward the assault in a sort of countdown with snapshots of their lives leading up to the event: seven years before, five years before, three years before and so on. The early part can be a bit slow but as the event draws closer, the tension builds. It is an amazing story of redemption and healing.

Readalike: Almost Home by Jessica Blank (for another novel about homeless teens in California, gay and straight). Matthew Shepard's death has an impact on Jason in Freaks and Revelations. The DVD The Laramie Project would also make a good pairing with the novel.

No comments: