Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Hello Groin by Beth Goobie
An author with the name of Beth Goobie has written a book called Hello Groin and it’s about a 16 year old girl struggling with her carefully hidden suspected homosexuality. This has got to take guts. Oh, and also, it’s set in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. Yeah. Gutsy.
GUTS kept coming up in my mind as I read it. It’s such a visceral, gut wrenching, blushing, chest thumping, crotch tingling, heart breaking book.
Some of the images are very vivid. However, some of the words in between the vivid imagery are slightly awkward, as some images are repeated too much. I’d have to say that’s my only complaint about this book.
Dylan is a popular athletic and good looking 16 year old girl with a best friend whom she treasures and a boyfriend whom she adores. Problem is, she’s not turned on by Cam. She’s getting lustful feelings for Jocelyn, and she can’t figure out if those feelings are mutual. She’s very confused.
At first, as Dylan is trying to figure out if she’s gay or not, and realizing that she can’t pretend that she’s not anymore, I couldn’t quite figure out why it was a big deal. I hoped that a kid can come out these days without being beaten up or horribly ostracized.
Maybe we’ll never get to that point in our society. These 21st century kids still have a problem with it...and all for their own quiet reasons.
Dylan simply doesn’t want to be gay. She wants to feel lust for the boy she loves. She wants to find herself ten years later married to him and maybe with a child. She wants to be in love with a husband like the relationship her parents have. For her, it doesn’t matter what society accepts, or what it scorns. It’s a limitation she’s put on herself.
This is the tension in the novel. She doesn’t want to hurt her boyfriend...but she is in love with best friend Jocelyn. As events unfold, she fears she could lose them both.
The author got the teenaged mindset right. These kids are ruled by their peers, by sex, or the lack of, by the struggle between authority and rebellion, but unruly hormones, and by their brains, rapidly expanding with knowledge. They tell each other what books are changing their lives and what music defines them.
The character of Dylan would be pleased that this book is not just about sexuality; it’s about justice and honour and censorship. It’s about free speech and respect.
I particularly appreciated the way all the characters have changed and developed by the end of the book. Nobody is the same by the end.
I decided to read this book for several reasons:
-I’m writing a book about teenagers.
-I’m considering this publisher for a query when I’m done.
-I have such mixed feelings about that title that I just had to read the whole book.
Overall the tricky subject matter is handled sensitively, there isn’t too much offensive cussing, and despite the constant mental ruminations, the turmoil in Dylan’s head, the story clips along at a good pace, making us feel like the book was a good way to spend a few hours.
It isn’t the absolute best book I’ve ever read, but it’s pretty darn good. I recommend it to any young people, not just those facing a similar struggle. With it being so teen centred, I don’t know if many adults would be interested in it, although I found it to be a good read.