The brilliant BERNARDINE EVARISTO had recommended this book in one of her Instagram videos. I had to read it, no second thought!
This delightfully uplifting book; despite it’s dark atmosphere and melancholic subtexts, is an important read in today’s troubled times. It traces the story of a Jamaican, gay, Jehovah’s Witness boy Jesse; from his early days in the Black country to living and finding himself in London. The difficult relationship between Jesse and his mother which translates into him having a difficult relationship with himself is so delicately portrayed. The life Jesse leads as a prostitute upon his arrival in London just so that he can survive, to the scare of finding friendships and love in the backdrop of race, sexuality and religion, is disheartening at times but empowering nonetheless.
Paul Mendez’s narrative of such contemporary issues, in a refrained, nuanced, definitive and constructive way, is a stroke of genius! Music and art form an integral part of the story. The conversations between Jesse, Owen (his white boyfriend) and other characters are embroidered with truth, honesty and depth. Jesse’s character is multi-layered and interesting. The words in this book are almost poetic despite the harsh realities it talks about.
It’s educational and endearing at so many levels.
It’s surreal I chanced upon this book, especially when it’s the Pride Month and BLM chants are echoing the world over.
~ JUST A GAY BOY. ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜🤎🖤🤍