Raziel Reid, When Everything Feels Like the Movies, 2014, 176p
This is an uncomfortable read. There, I said it.
I typically don’t read gutting books. Like terrible, horrible, soul crushing, losing my faith in humanity types of books. I read SAD books. I read BITTERSWEET books. But not like this.
There is so much hype surrounding this one. It won the Governor General Literary Award – and people have actually demanded it be stripped of it. It was a finalist on Canada Reads in 2015. It is vulgar and sweary and graphic, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t valid.
Jude, a gender queer teen, pushes the boundaries of their homophobic small town, with makeup, dresses, and a Hollywood attitude. Their best friend, Angela, is a self proclaimed slut, and Jude pines after the most popular jock at the school. Jude copes with their own life of endless bullying and cruelty by living in denial – envisioning themselves s a beautiful starlet. Those bullies and name callers simply ‘paparazzi’. With graphic sexual content, violence, drug use, and language – it is clear why there was such controversy surround this title.
It’s a tough read. But, it is an extremely honest, brutal portrayal of youth have to face every day.
Not every book has to be beautiful. And sugar coated.
Sometimes it’s good be uncomfortable.