Monday, March 30, 2015

Book Review: "Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story" by David Levithan

Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green and David Levithan, was one of the best books I read in 2010, and years later, it remains one of my favorites.

That book, populated by two very different high school students, both named Will Grayson. One Will Grayson's best friend, "Tiny" Cooper, who isn't shy about his size or his sexuality, and tries to push Will to declare his feelings for his best friend, Jane, all while Tiny is getting ready to produce his autobiographical musical.

This "companion piece," authored by Levithan, is the script of Tiny's musical, complete with his commentary/stage direction, which in some cases, lets the reader in on how the lives of both Will Graysons, Jane, and Tiny progressed after the book ends. But mostly, the musical gives tremendous insight into what it's like to live a life where everyone thinks they know who and what you are, and just how much courage it takes to put yourself so far out there and be happy with who you are every day.

"There are those of us who draw our power from those electric moments when everyone is watching, everyone is listening, and there is the most perfect silence you can imagine, the entire room waiting to hear whatever you will say next. Especially for those of us who ordinarily feel ignored, a spotlight is a circle of magic, with the strength to draw us from the darkness of our everyday lives."

Tiny's character really resonates for me. I remember what it was like to feel most at home in the middle of a stage, singing my heart out to an audience, even if it was an apathetic one. I remember what it was like not feeling comfortable in my own skin, but still wishing that I'd find others like me. And I remember what it was like to like someone so much, and fall so fast, that the biggest mistake you could make was expressing how you felt too soon. His musical is full of the unconditional love Tiny gets from his family and his best friends, as well as flamboyant musical numbers, some of which even star the ghost of Oscar Wilde.

While it's difficult to read a musical as if it were a book without knowing what the songs sound like, getting a glimpse into Tiny's heart, head, and personality more than makes up for it. Levithan once again treats his characters with the respect and love they deserve, and looks beyond the stereotypes. I hope this isn't the last we see of Will, Will, Jane, and Tiny...maybe Levithan and Green can team up again?

No comments:

Post a Comment