Hey everyone, it’s Sarah!
Today is a two-fer day. Sometimes computers are out to ruin my life. I worked late into the night on my Newbery post and it never posted…that just means you get a double scoop. It also seems pretty telling that this week you will get a double scoop of my mock selection, when we post our video.
Title: Brave Face
Author: Shaun David Hutchinson
In this memoir, Shaun David Hutchinson explores his life and how his sexuality and mental health directed his path.
Hutchinson grew up in the 90s, when homosexuality was less acceptable. While there are still numerous problems occurring today. During the 90s, there were only negative representations of homosexuals. It was expected that you would die addicted to drugs and have AIDS. Even though Hutchinson, knew he liked those of the same sex, he wasn’t “gay” and wouldn’t ascribe to the caricature ideals of the community. The fear of being outed or becoming the victim of violence, while trying to find love, created a deep sense of frustration and further exacerbated his challenges with depression. There is no quick fix in this memoir, but a real journey with identity. Hutchinson’s depression became so severe that he attempts suicide. While this book may trigger many readers, it also provides an unflinching character (for lack of a better term) that they will be able to connect with.
There is no doubt at this point that Hutchinson has a firm ability to craft language. In this work, he both keeps the voice realistic, while also presenting a work of literary merit. This is a work that is necessary for today’s YA collection, though I believe that it will even reach out to many adult readers (who will find themselves in this book). This book deserves recognition because even though Hutchinson is an asshole at times, this book provides a needed space for queer teens, teens experiencing mental illness, and really any teen growing up (but also adults, looking for validation of their own teen years).