So. There’s this guy named Will Grayson, see, and he’s a quiet, subtle teen but (and this is going to be everyone’s go-to quote from this book both because it’s hiLARrious and because it’s on the first page and is therefore super-easy to find later when you realize you read the book too fast to mark any suitable quotes) his best friend Tiny Cooper ‘is not the world’s gayest person, and he is not the world’s largest person, but I believe he may be the world’s largest person who is really, really gay, and also the world’s gayest person who is really, really large.’ Ha ha, right? And this isn’t like movie trailers where I have just now spoiled for you the only funny bit. WG,WG is RIFE with funny bits.
Ok so, Will Grayson is trying to get through high school with his head down and mayyyyyybe he likes a girl but he’d rather just like her and not tell her, because that’s the kind of Will Grayson this Will Grayson is. And then the other Will Grayson (who is angsty and depressive and refuses to use capital letters…so, ‘will grayson’) is the kind of teenager I hate reading about, and here I will give my giant kudos to The Levithan (who I suspect is the author of this will grayson, since the other Will Grayson is SO JOHN GREENY) for making me give a shit, because usually when a teen is too emo to use capitals I want to smack them and not care about their lousy problems.
And then one cold night Fate (or something) brings the two Will Graysons together and it creates a Nexus of the Universe and everyone’s minds explode!! Ok, not that last part. But something really horrible happens to one of the Will Graysons and for ONCE it isn’t someone dying, but it is real fucking sad and I swear to you my heart stopped and I just sat there. Not reading. Feeling sad. And then something potentially great happens, and the rest of the book is a Roller Coaster of Emotion.
Teeny beef? The ending is a bit twee. A teeny bit. Like, if I told you what happened you’d be all, Le barf, but within the context of the story it isn’t as bad. There are also a few dangly bits, which I don’t really mind because life is an adventure and not all of our problems are solved at the same time. On a compensatory note, there is also a big fat gay musical, and musicals are never not heart-warming.
Query for the audience! So, the adjective ‘gay’ is used a ton, and sometimes meaning ‘likes boys’ like when will grayson tells his mom he’s ‘totally gay’ and sometimes meaning a certain attitude or affect like when Will Grayson describes Tiny’s musical as being ‘the gayest single musical in all of human history’ and sometimes might mean either, like Tiny discovering the ‘sheer scope of his own gayness.’ And it’s never used, I think, meanly, but I = hetero so I don’t feel like I can definitively weigh in on the offensiveness herein. Cancer jokes I can do, gay and Jewish jokes are off-limits.
So the query: do we think that using the word ‘gay’ as an adjective meaning more than just ‘wants to make it with same sex’ is helpful or harmful to the cause? Let’s put aside ‘gay’ as meaning ‘lame’ since that’s obviously helpful to no one. So on the one hand it re-enforces stereotypes because the things people describe as ‘gay’ even when they aren’t being mean are things like musicals and roller blading and purple scarves on men. On the other hand, I feel like consistant use of ‘gay’ as a non-derogatory descriptor (I happen to like both musicals and purple scarves on men) re-enforces the idea that it is just an adjective, and that I can say ‘I’m short and your gay’ without meaning offense to either of us. It helps diffuse the word, I think I mean.
I die of curiousity. I know that loads of you have opinions, even if they are, like mine, a bit hedgy. I want to hear them.
Also, nine caterpillars.
Also, second opinions (of the book…not of the query. You can put those below.)