I am too old to read high school drama anymore but seeing people rave about Simon vs The Homosapiens Agenda and Leah On The Offbeat, I finally gave LOTO a try. And boy am I glad.
Initially sceptical, because the writing style is aimed at teenagers, the first few chapters were a bit difficult to get through. I found the language exceedingly plain, it was overall too kiddish. It was when the characters developed in the next few chapters, that I was hooked. I have yet to read such great character development in a high school book.
Let's start off with Leah. She is your average protagonist - angry at the world, a broken family, overthinking things, overweight, smart, the only difference, she isn't lonely. She has a lot of friends. Oh and the fact that she is bi, secretly. As we delve further into the book, her layers peel off. She is in love with a girl who is dating her best friend who happens to be a guy. The love triangle, but how could we do without it?
You may think that this is the whole story but no. Love and friendships, for me, played a secondary role here. The book, in some instances, gave great insights on the thought processes of bisexuals and their reactions to insensitive things others may say. Here, I am not talking about homophobia, but regular, accepting people who belittle lesbians and bisexuals.
The book highlights how lesbians around the world are sexualised for male pleasure when it is anything but. Two women being together still seems incomprehensible to most people. Herein lies another problem - how are women pleasuring themselves without the involvement of men. From a staunch patriarchal perspective, anything a woman does that does not directly/ indirectly pleasure a man is unacceptable. When you think about it, the topic is a lot deeper than seen on the surface.
Moving on, the bias against bisexuals is nothing new either. Many times, most of us, have been guilty of accusing bisexuals to simply be experimenting for a while. The fact that this is an actual sexual preference is incomprehensible to our brains. But we, even me, are learning every single day and growing. Trying to be better for our sake and others.
Again, this book schooled me in more ways than one. To be more mindful of what I say and not in front of who I say. You never know when you say something without thinking, you may be shutting someone up for good, unknowingly forcing them to hide who they truly are. Be mindful, of your words, your posts, everything.
Leah's problems, her inhibitions, her reactions and defence mechanism, it seemed extreme but so so understandable. She wasn't hiding, her mom knew and accepted her, her best friend was gay and yet, yet she struggled to speak her truth.
You think you know someone your entire life but all you actually know is what they want to show you.
Here's me, asking you all to pick up this book. Not because it is going to be an amazing read but because it will help you understand and it will help you be better.
That's all from my side.
To more hugs and kisses for everyone.