Before you read this post, make sure you have read my post I Can Do Better to know how and where to donate, get informed, support, and follow the Black Lives Matter movement and people from the Black community. Si hablas español, y especialmente si vives en Colombia, lee mi publicación Puedo hacer algo mejor para enterarte cómo puedes apoyar a la Comunidad afrocolombiana.
Hello and happy Wednesday. I absolutely despise disclaimers because I am a firm believer that we should be unapologetic about our opinions, especially if they’re related to something as unimportant as a book. Now, I say “unimportant” when compared to more controversial issues, considering that for me books are no more than a form of entertainment and that I am not really big on having passionate debates on a book. I’ll share my thoughts, for sure, but I don’t expect you to agree with me just like I don’t want you to expect me to agree with you. Basically, we’re all entitled to our opinion and I really don’t want my comments section to become a forum in which you try to convince me to like Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli because it is just not going to happen.
I read this book between July 17th and July 19th, 2019 and gave it two stars. Now, in this post, I’ll discuss both the book and the movie because I watched the movie before reading the novel and I think it might have negatively influenced my thoughts. I don’t know whether I wrote a separate review of it in the past, but whatever. Watching the movie meant that I already knew the plot beforehand. I knew in general what the story was about, and I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing because by already having some information on the story and the characters, I read the book at a quicker pace, which is something I like, especially if I’m not liking what I’m reading. You already know that I didn’t like the book, but you should also know that the movie didn’t do it for me. I felt that, as time went by and I was able to process it and reflect upon it, I disliked it even more, and then of course after reading the book (how many times have I written the word ‘book’?) I felt that it missed the point on some key aspects.
I understand where the title change came from when the novel was adapted to a movie because the line “love, Simon” is present, but I think there was a bit of propaganda behind it as well. I mean, think about it, why would “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” be changed to a two-word title when we have “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” and nobody said “let’s change it to “Harry and the Goblet”? Is it maybe the word ‘Homo’? (trust me, I know how ridiculous that sounds, but what do I know? I’m a liberal feminist who wants all babies to be aborted or adopted by the gays). It could’ve also been the word “agenda” because we all know how that’s used around. I’m sure there are many theories going around, and if you know about them, share them with me.
Another thing that bothered me was the token diverse love interest. I mean, yes, you have your gay character, and your black character and your Jewish character, and I think that representation was on point, but then you have the white gay guy’s love interest and he’s a black, half-Jewish gay guy? What? What that character did to me was pretty much forget about the seemingly authentic representation and diversity that I’d been given. And yes, I know there are black, half-Jewish gay teens out there, but seriously? Seriously?
I think that you’ve been able to appreciate the changes I’ve made in my reading. At least I’ve noticed that I am reading more intense contemporary YA fiction, even if there’s romance involved, and that my characters aren’t all white and straight. When reading about white and straight characters, I’m more critical about them than I was before because I understand that the world is a diverse one. This, however, has come with the knowledge that representation really occurs when I’m reading an own-voices novel. What I mean by this is that the author is actually part of an underrepresented group, like David Levithan or Nina LaCour, who write about gay and lesbian characters, respectively and Julie Murphy, who’s written novels featuring a fat main character. As cool as it is to see another book about a male gay teen, it wasn’t own-voices because Becky Albertalli is not a gay man. I just think that there are some really awesome authors who’ve come up with really awesome novels about male gay teens that we should give more recognition to, at least the same amount of hype as Simon got.
The story itself didn’t knock my socks off for many reasons. I didn’t think it was original at all. I think the coming-out plot is not for me because I want to see more queer characters who are out and about, you know? I want to see more of that person’s identity and story than their coming out. I’m not saying that’s not important or relevant or that these plots shouldn’t be written anymore, but that it’s not what I’m looking for and I’m grateful to have a wide selection of queer reads to choose from. The blackmailing thing and the online romance tropes have been done before, so I don’t feel like I was reading anything new.
I have so many more things to say, but I’m tired after a long day at work and I feel like I’ve ranted enough. Recommend me good queer reads please and thank you.
Love, Miss Camila