Posted in Books

Reviews: Openly Straight, Bill Konigsberg

openlystraight_cv
Book cover for ‘Openly Straight’ by Bill Konigsberg.

5-stars

This has been my third read-through of this book in the past two years, and the second of 2016. There’s a lot that can be said for a book that I find so agreeable and an absolutely pleasure to read. The attention is in the detail and the author fleshes out this reality perfectly. Konigsberg really builds a three dimensional image of the protagonist, Rafe, and the people around him.

I love the dialogue which adds a little humour to an otherwise dramatic world that seems about as far removed from ‘Anything Could Happen’ and this contrast has really opened my eyes to multiple experiences within the coming-of-age genre. There’s a distinct written style here too, Konigberg’s (and Rafe’s) passion for writing shines through here and is a credit to the personal style used throughout the book, it really does feel as though Rafe is recounting his tale to you the whole way through, and that you’re getting an authentic representation of how he feels throughout, even if the truth is uncomfortable and disagreeable at times, it’s nice that Rafe is as reflective after the events of this book and it really feels as though I learn something with each reading.

I always find the ending a little dissatisfying, feeling like there’s more and I want to learn more about Ben’s resolution, it seems like he has a ever-unfolding journey that we only just scratch the surface off when we’re done with Rafe’s version of events. Reading other characters it only seems that Rafe scratches the surface of the students at Natick and I really love that as an author Rafe is not portrayed as the omniscient writer that a sixteen or seventeen year old would obviously n0t be. The whole book is a journey through Rafe’s creative writing as well as his life as he learns that there’s a very fine line between not being ‘out’ and being ‘straight by your own admission.’ The more it develops I feel myself being locked in the self same conflict that Rafe meets which only serves to increase the dramatic tension when he finally decides that he must face the inevitable in exposing his true self to his best friend an Natick School For Boys.

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