I am so glad that I finally got to read this fun novel after such a long wait. Btw, it’s my first gay-story, and it surely didn’t disappoint.
Simon Spier is a gay highschooler who’s been in a long inner debate whether to disclose his homosexuality or not. He didn’t think about it much before, but after he’s stumbled upon this post on Tumblr, he now thinks about it all the time. The post was pretty generic really, it was something about loneliness. But in a mystified kind of way, it was also sort of about a gay hiding in a closet. Si immediately felt that he could relate so much with the guy who’d posted it. In fact, seeing the post has tickled him to make a contact with the author.
And that’s how Si met Blue. He met him on the internet world, and for now, they’ve agreed to keep it that way. They’ve been emailing back and forth sharing stuff they’ve never shared with anyone before, under cover names and faux email address. However, Si has a strong feeling that Blue is a student at his school. But because Blue is so adamant about them being cautious not to reveal their true identities, despite his all over the place curiosity, Si wants to respect his request.
The thing is, Martin Addison accidentally sees his emails with Blue, quickly puts two and two together and figures out that Si is gay and decides to blackmail him using them. Those emails, have been Si’s only safe zone to be completely himself. And now, this bully is threatening to expose that one safe space to all the homophobics and not homophobics around them.
So now, Si’s mind kinda goes haywire. He is still questioning if he wants to hide forever, but he also doesn’t feel fully ready to come out yet. He doesn’t want to help the bully, but there’s a trickle of fear of everyone finding out. Will he, ever ready to tell everyone?
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is aptly placed under young adult genre. It’s light, fun, and entertaining. It reminded me a lot of Sex Education series btw. First half was a bit tedious, but it quickly picked up the pace around the coming out thing.
Everyone in the story is a high-schooler, and in their own and each unique way they’re all suitably immature. The fact that they all start unripe gives a space to the plot to develop to all the right directions. The characters constantly fight about small matters that you won’t fret about when you’re an adult, but only through all those arguments, the characters grow. They start to understand people a bit more, they learn how to forgive and forget, and the most important thing is, that in between of all those things, they also learn about themselves.
At first glance, I thought this book was a romance. But as it turned out, it isn’t. The love story is only there to allow Si to contemplate about the magnitude of his coming out. This is a story of a gay teenager who is trying to find his place in present-day society, which is still unclear to him. Some of his friends are overt homophobic who won’t think twice before hurtling demeaning insults, but a couple of others might actually be cool with gays. And this poor boy hasn’t even figured out where his family stands! He’s in a situation where he won’t know the result if he doesn’t face the thing head-on. Whether him coming out will backlash or be his best decision ever, he won’t know until he’s there. Scary, huh? Imagine yourself in a 17 yo’s shoes.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda reveals a real-life struggle of gay youths, growing up with no one to guide them on how to be a gay adult. With no one to show them where they’ll sit in among the people. Our acceptance towards gay society is nascent, and still precarious in nature. Some people are still in the wait and see phase, while some others are still very sure on holding their contempt. In this kind of novel condition, more often than not, teenagers take the hardest blow. When the irony is that every minor should own the right not to question if his identity meets the moral codes. That question alone, is depressing.
In Si’s account, he’s confused as of why he feels the urge to come out, or otherwise he feels like living in a closed box and suffocated. When no straight guy in the world needs to declare his sexual orientation. It’s really sad that he has to deal with all these confusion in hiding, with no one to discuss it with and nowhere to ask his questions to. But the thing is, the answer to these issues is a luxury that we don’t yet have until today.
Everyone should have a safe space to openly be themselves, no matter how different they are from the rest of the world. I feel like, this is the goal that we’re heading right now, and that’s a good thing. I’m just hoping that we don’t take too many detours, because I really want all teens in similar situation to Si’s to asap feel welcomed and accepted in humanity. After all, it shouldn’t be called humanity if it’s not humane.
All in all, I loved that Si is written as such a positive persona, because otherwise, between the problematic reality and Si’s juvenile problems, this story would feel downright gloomy. I was also grateful that Si’s surrounded by a bunch of happy and lively folks. It’s really a good thing that this book deals with a dire situation in a cheery and uplifting way. Because! Better dance in the rain, right?
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