Sunday, 1 February 2015

Book Review: The Understatement of the Year

The Understatement of the Year 

Author: Sarina Bowen

Publisher: Rennie Road Books

Year: 2014

Genre: New Adult Romance (M/M)

Synopsis: At the start of pre-seasons training his junior year Mike Graham's life is thrown into a tailspin when John Rikker walks into the dressingroom. Rikker, knows things about Graham that Graham can barely admit to himself. Things he hates himself for. Five years earlier a kiss in a car changed lives. What happens now is anyone's guess.

Review: This was my first experience with the New Adult Genre and it was a very happy one. I could not put the book down. For so very many reasons.

Last year I read A LOT of romance. It was the fluffy reading I needed for various reasons and most of the books followed a fairly predictable pattern. Boy meets girl. Boy and/or girl swear that they will NOT get together because they are NOT looking for love. One of them falls in love. The other finds out and freaks out. They stop seeing each other. The freaker outer realizes that they too are in love. They get back together, get married and they all lived happily ever after. This book did follow that pattern to a certain extent but it felt so much more real. The characters, main and supporting felt more real. It was also much more of a gradual growth. A gradual coming to an understanding of who you are and who you love.

Graham's fear is so very palpable that although you want to smack him over the head, you can't fault him. Especially not when one of their idiot teammates continually proves that he does have something to fear. Even when he is willing to admit to himself and Rikker that he is gay, I can still understand his fear that people will treat him differently. I don't think you need to be gay to understand that feeling. We all have secrets, big ones and little ones, and we fear that others will see us differently if they find out about them. The thing is, we can never control how others view us, and I think that this book shows us very well that Graham's fears aren't all about how others see him but also about excepting himself as he is, not how he thinks others think he should be. The section where he talks about being worried about how people see him is so wonderfully spot on.
I didn't want people to see me as a stereotype. Faggot. Queen. Fairy. I didn't feel like any of those things, and I didn't want to be called those names. I just wanted to be Michael Graham. It's just that Michael Graham was attracted to men. And always had been. (255)
The book also shows how much discrimination and bigotry against homosexuals still exist in the world today. As Bella, one of the (major) minor characters in the book says:
 'Sports really is the final frontier, isn't it? Now there's same-sex marriage in seventeen states. But the NHL is a hundred percent straight.' Sure it is.' 'Right?' she laughed. (62)

The fact that it is a big deal in 2015 when a future NFL star comes out is sad but also shows why this book is important. I really cannot understand the fear that seems to exist in some places. Do they really think they will get attacked in the locker room by marauding hoards of gay men?! Do they not realize what it says about them? That they don't think they could control themselves around naked women?

On the whole I thought this was a great book about love, friendship, growing up and about coming out. I really recommend it.

Copyright ©2015 Zee from A Tea Stained Page. This post was originally posted by Zee from A Tea Stained Page. It should not be reproduced without express written permission

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