Book Review: Freaks and Revelations by Davida Willis Hurwin

Workout Song of the Day: “Hard” by Rihanna

Before I begin with my eloquent review, I need to take a moment to squeal. I was a guest blogger over at YA Highway, and my topic was on GLBTQ issues in YA literature (which is a nice segue for this week’s book review). Check out my post here.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming…Davida Willis Hurwin’s Freaks and Revelations touched me beyond belief. The story is told by two narrators: Jason, a 13-year-old gay street hustler, and Doug, a 17-year-old violent punk rocker. Both young men are ostracized from their families–Doug’s dad is abusive, and Jason’s religious mom kicks him out of the house upon learning that he is gay. They also both rely on friends for support and affection, and these influences lead them to their first tragic meeting.

F and R is based on the true story of Matthew Boger and Timothy Zaal, who were accidentally reunited years after Timothy assaulted Matthew and left him for dead. Hurwin intensively interviewed both men to write a fictional account of their lives, but the bashing scene was real–which makes this scene so raw and difficult to read; however, I wouldn’t dare put the book down for this sequence. What makes this novel so compelling is we’re able to sympathize for both characters. I thought I was going to hate Doug–he was belligerent, racist, and self-destructive. Yet, as the story unravels, I was able to see why he felt the need to hurt others–it was because he was hurting inside (okay, this isn’t as Lifetime-y as I’m making it sound).

My only qualm about this story is that we’re not able to fully experience Jason’s first time with another guy. Sure, I felt the excitement of his first kiss, but the kid eventually becomes a hustler–and I didn’t quite grasp how having sexual encounters with strangers made him feel. I wasn’t looking for anything graphic, but more time was spent on dissecting Doug’s first time with a woman. Overall, I think this novel clearly depicts a hate crime from both angles–and I think the message would benefit anyone with insecurities and prejudices.

My Rating: 4 and 1/2 out of 5 Cookies (yes, I’m still using cookies–I may switch to carrot sticks when I start eating healthier. Or not.)

One thought on “Book Review: Freaks and Revelations by Davida Willis Hurwin

  1. LOL- I can't get over your use of cookies, but I am a lil' obsessed with cookies myself. Anyway, I have heard you rave about this book (and I saw it being highlighted in a recent magazine article in Publisher's Weekly as well). I might have to borrow it from you one day, it sounds really interesting.

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