Be omnivorous, don't just read one kind of book, read everything. - Richard Wagamese

Friday, March 20, 2015

Discussion Post for When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid


School is just like a film set: there's The Crew, who make things happen, The Extras who fill the empty desks, and The Movie Stars, whom everyone wants tagged in their Facebook photos. But Jude doesn't fit in. He's not part of The Crew because he isn't about to do anything unless it's court-appointed; he's not an Extra because nothing about him is anonymous; and he's not a Movie Star because even though everyone know his name like an A-lister, he isn't invited to the cool parties. As the director calls action, Jude is the flamer that lights the set on fire.
Before everything turns to ashes from the resulting inferno, Jude drags his best friend Angela off the casting couch and into enough melodrama to incite the paparazzi, all while trying to fend off the haters and win the heart of his favourite co-star Luke Morris. It's a total train wreck!
But train wrecks always make the front page.

When Everything Feels Like The Movies was debated against RU on the last day of Canada Reads. Lainey was so passionate about this book, she really captured my attention. I didn't intend on reading this book because I didn't think it would be for me, but she was so passionate and emotional, I really wanted to give it a chance. I liked the book, because I recognize what Reid was trying to accomplish with the book, but I didn't think it should win Canada Reads. I think bullying, homophobia, LGBT issues are real, important and need to be addressed but I didn't think this would be the book to break those barriers.

My main issue with the book was Jude. I would start to understand him, and then he would do something that would push me away. It's definitely a defensive mechanism. The language was very off-putting, it would distract me. Lainey argued that youth do speak like this, and I agree but not to the extent of the book. I think the language puts a huge limitation on the book because I think people will have a hard time getting past it. I also want to give our youth credit and say they don't use that language all the time. They're not all out doing drugs, having sex, having repeated abortions, like its nothing. I know this story is real, but for how much of our youth. I think it will have trouble to break barriers, because it's hard to relate to. It's hard to get past these issues.

The other issues I had with this book was the fact that Jude's world was so dramatic. Probably, not the right word but his mother was a stripper, he lived in an unfinished, moldy basement, his cat was named Stoned Hairspray, Angela's abortions, everything felt so extreme to me and unrelatable for a wider audience. Also, Jude is apparently from a small town and I really didn't get that impression from the book. I kept feeling that Reid was going one step to far, it would push me away as a reader.

Lainey made it seem that if you didn't like this book you were attacking the book and I really took offence to that. I read the book because I wanted to see her points, and I do. I also think you can not like this book, but still be compassionate and support the LGBT community and the issues.

What I did like about this book is the issues that it tries to address. It's based on a true story. The relationship between Jude and his brother was so innocent and real. His mother had her faults, but you can see that she did care, but she had her own demons. You can feel Jude's pain. I think the bullying in the book was on point, and really REAL.  I also liked that this book has so much to discuss.

If you're not sure if you want to read this book. I think you should give it a try. It really is a great book to discuss and a quick read.

1 comment:

  1. I just finished reading this book, and was surfing around to read other people's thoughts on it. Up to this point, I had only heard what was said about it during the Canada Reads debates.
    I think this would make a great book for discussion, but I haven't worked out yet what I want to say. I am glad that I ran into your blog, though, and I hope to come back and check out some of your other reviews!