Friday, September 6, 2013

Thoughts on Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

I read this book in one sitting last Sunday and turned the last page in awe at this powerful narrative.

At the core of this story two young boys stand kissing to beat a world record for the longest kiss (32 hours, 12 minutes, and 9 seconds.) Circling around them in this patchworked, yet seamless, structure are two boys falling in love, and another boy searching and yearning for it, perhaps, misunderstanding its roots or its potential as he explores his sexuality. The narrators?  A greek chorus of gay men lost to the AIDS epidemic. (Genius much?)

I loved it.

Levithan writes about relationships as few can. The heart-pounding newness of meeting someone for the first time and, both, the familiarity and strangeness of being with someone you knew and loved once. The way two people discover one another, what is revealed when we give ourselves to someone else and the surprise, the pain, the beauty of the many ways a gift like that can be received. As well as the fumbling, desperate, complicated, beautiful, terrible ways we struggle to love ourselves, our children, the people who brought us into this world, or the people who threaten to take us out.

While everything points towards this book being about two boys kissing, at its 'heart', this is a book about love. About what it was and could have been for a generation of men lost, what it can be, and, most importantly, what it is, right now, today, for two boys, for two people, for all of us.  Said best here by Levithan:

Love is so painful, how could you wish it on anybody? And love is so essential, how could you ever stand in its way?


  1. Reminds me of Nabakov,he wrote Lolita, selected a way out subject, in order to look the subject of obsessive love.

    1. For me, two boys kissing is not a way-out subject. Just a normal thing. The love in this book is universal and a beautiful thing to read.

  2. Wow, I absolutely need to read this one! It sounds phenomenal, and I love David Levithan's other books. This will now be at the top of my TBR pile. Thanks for the review!

  3. Love the quote, and it sounds like beautiful writing - thanks!

  4. "While everything points towards this book being about two boys kissing, at its 'heart', this is a book about love."

    There is often so much emphasis about how people conduct their lives physically, and I think it detracts from what's really important, which is of course, what's going on in our hearts (on the inside). Love is universal in any way, shape or form, and I'm intrigued to read a story where the author describes to what's within us—rather than appearances. (Hope that made sense. In case it didn't; I want to read this book based on your review. :P)

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  6. I find this to be a severely profound book (more because of the narrator but also because of the beautifully diverse characters). I think it should be required reading for everyone. It reminds people who identify within the LGBTQ+ community that they are not alone in this fight, and it fosters empathy and understanding in everyone, even for those who identify as straight.

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