This genre has been on my mind a lot lately. (Is it a genre or a theme?)
The first novel that I read featuring a homosexual protagonist was Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. (You can find my reader reaction here.) It was one of the books that I read for a book club that ran through Instagram. Actually, it was the first novel that we were reading together as a group. I was hesitant because even though I’d read books that highlighted homosexuality (like Cassandra Clare’s novels with Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood), I hadn’t read a novel with a gay main character in a book written about their journey to realization (which is what A&DDtSotU is about). After reading it, though, I fell in love.
Since then, I’ve only read a couple books with homosexual main characters: Leo Loves Aries and Timekeeper. In my TBR list on goodreads, though, there are several more. Right now, two of my current reads are Frankenstein and The Art of Being Normal. Why am I including these? I’m reading Mary Shelley’s novel for a paper in which I’ll focus on the homosexual tendencies of Dr. Victor Frankenstein and how Robert Walton (the writer of the letters at the beginning) is his parallel to show more clearly these desires.
So why am I including The Art of Being Normal? I want to put a mini disclaimer right now that states that what follows will include slight spoilers (though nothing too big since I’m only halfway through the novel) and also that I do not have a very good grasp of what it means to be transgender. Let me be clear: I am not prejudiced in that way, but I simply haven’t ever spoken with anyone who is about it so I feel ill-qualified to talk a lot on the subject. The main character(s?) are transgender, not homosexual. This has been a very emotional read so far, but also really enlightening. My reader reaction for this will be one that I look forward to writing and (hopefully) getting comments on to spark conversation.
There are so many novels out there that feature diverse characters who face real problems that a lot of us can’t really fully understand. I highly encourage readers to gravitate toward these types of books. It’s too easy to get stuck in a loop of only reading stories that follow characters that we can fully relate to. Why? Because we want to read about ourselves in places doing things that we haven’t experienced. It’s living for us. But diverse reading lists are important, especially now.
If you have any recommendations for me from this genre, I’d love if you’d comment titles or links. Thanks for reading!