I have never read a LGBT book before. It has honestly never even crossed my mind to read one and certainly not one that also needed to be translated into English and about something I’ve never even heard about before.
While this book is about LGBT issues, it is really about a lot more than that. I think to only put this book in that genre is unfair to the totality of the story.
First, it was refreshing to read a novel that debunked certain stereotypes – the main one being that gay culture is mostly promiscuous. In fact, it was great to see that pervasive stereotype hit head on by one of the main characters who expressed not only his personal discomfort with the promiscuity in the gay clubs but also his deep desire for love. He was not at all interested in what the club culture offered him as a young gay man in the big city for the first time. I think that it’s important for writers of this genre to address these kinds of stereotypes because in the wider world…this is exactly what people think about gay culture – earned or not earned, fairly or unfairly. Showing gay characters who just want the same things that the average straight person wants, rather than what is usually shown in movies and media, is how to help dispel ignorance. Highlighting our similarities rather than our differences is how we really bond and move forward.
Cesar did a great job in handling the complex issues that surround an individual who needs to live his or her truth in a world that does not accept it and wants it to either change or go away. He was fair to people who are mostly indoctrinated into religious beliefs, who otherwise are not bad people – most of the time they are just scared: scared for their gay loved one and the struggles that person will face in life, scared for what God will or will not do to their loved one because of their homosexuality, scared because it is not something that everyone can understand. But – how Cesar writes it – if a “scared” straight person can see that it is just about love, and not sex, then it is for everyone to understand. All people want love. Sex can be a part of love but love is the foundation of his story. He makes this very clear in his message.
Reading about these clinics in South American culture and the atrocities inflicted upon these young people in order to change them into straight people is disturbing. A few of the scenes were graphic. However, also reading about how the relationships formed among these “patients” in such a dire situation is a testament to the human spirit, no matter who you love or where you live.
While some of the wording is a little different than I am used to, I also knew that this was a translation into English. So it is easy to just overlook that and get to the author’s most important message: love for everyone. It is an important story.
This book will be release in June 2016.