Thursday, March 8, 2012

Dumb Jock by Jeff Erno

Dumb Jock by Jeff Erno
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Novel: 198pages
Rating: 4 out of 5

Dumb Jock is a touching, coming-of-age story about a reserved, self-conscious, teenage boy growing up in a small northern-Michigan town. Jeff Irwin is short for his age, timid and studious, never yet having dared to take any chances for fear of ultimate rejection or failure. He is a bit of a social outcast and lives quietly in the shadows of the popular kids at his school.

Afforded the opportunity to assist the town's high school football hero Brett Willson, Jeff embarks upon the challenge of educating the world's dumbest jock. The ensuing relationship that develops between the two young men proves far more challenging, however, than any tutoring session. Their budding friendship helps bring Jeff out of his shell and reveals a much deeper side of the dumb jock.

Tragedies befall the ill-suited young couple, and the losses they endure are unthinkable. In the end, however, they must decide whether to be true to their identities or return to the previously held conformity of their comfortable stereotypes.

Dumb Jock is a coming of age story set in the 80’s and that is like Jurassic years to the gay movement. I cannot fathom how hard it must have been to be a homosexual person, when you are surrounded by bigoted minds, and hateful words. This story made me cry, and not the silent tears streaming down my face, but the headache induced tears that made my heart break. It was just a beautiful story of a young boy finding his place in the world through love, heartache an intense tragedy.

Jeff Irwin is the boy you never see, he is small, studious and quiet, and at fourteen, that description can sound all kinds of hellish. Well Jeff stays away from bigger crowds and keeps to his very small group of friends. His very small world becomes huge, when he is blackmailed into tutoring Brett Willson; secretly Jeff is excited because he worships Brett, and not that type of worship. They type where you nerdy Jeff wants to be like jock Brett. There is a lot of preconceived notions between the two, Jeff was expecting a dumb insensitive jock and he gets the complete opposite, this is a little life lesson of never judge a book by its cover.

What begin's is a genuine ,and a love that will test everything they have ever known. To say this relationship is not easy, when the very basis of what they are is degraded everyday. Brett does not fit that mould because he is a man’s man. There is no way the star football player could like boys, but the small boy who seems effeminate is definitely gay. Just proves the type of close-minded world we live in. Their meetings and embraces happen behind closed doors, even their very friendship had to remain a secret. With all this love, tragedy makes its way into their lives, and this is the reason why this story feels so very real. It is a pause between, this can happen, this does happen.

The relationship between Brett and Jeff is very sweet. Their kisses and feeling towards each other feels like that of teenagers. They do have sex and the reader will know this, but it’s not uncomfortable because it is not detailed sex, you just know that they did it. I was perfectly fine with this; it just seemed to blend it with the story. They are teenage boys gimme a break, I would have been surprised if there was no sex. I liked both characters but Jeff more so he was no push over.

This book brings up a devastating topic, gay teenage suicide and this is what mad me cry. As a mother, it pains me to see our children kill themselves because of their sexuality. So many things wrong with the world and sexual orientation should not be an issue. Children should not feel less than they are because they happen to like the same sex, I just think it plain fuckin sucks. This book manages to bring many issues in to light, homosexuality and the church, and I dislike people spewing hate in the name of God. God is love, and some of us have seem to forgotten that part.

My main dislike is the usage of the word f*g in this book, I plain just hate that word. I do not like when they call themselves that and I really do not like when it is used to hurt. It the most unnecessary, part of the book.

Overall, a very sweet and touching read filled with wonderful characters, and a realistic view of others who spew hate because they just do not understand. Dumb Jock is a great coming of age novel that should not be missed. Do not be deterred for the fact that there are young boys having sex. It is not explicit and the book is so much more than that. I guess this book readers will have a many different opinions, I for one found it deeply emotional and the sex, and that Jeff was somewhat submissive too Brett was just the side issue. I think I understand what the author was trying to convey, life is a bitch and bad things do happen, but throughout all of it you have to remain yourself. The ending might seem unrealistic, but in a perfect world you can hope all things end this way. Where gay boys can stand in front of a crowd and declare themselves in love, and to hell with everyone else. This is what I took away from this book.

Really enjoyed the songs Jeff, made it so super sweet and I even recognized a few of them.

4 Pants Off

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