A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{June 28, 2010}   Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend by Carrie Jones

Plot: Belle loves her boyfriend, Dylan; she thinks he might even be her soul mate. So she doesn’t know how to react when one day he tells her that he’s gay.

When I read the title I half- expected a silly, angsty book about love going awry. I was thus pleasantly surprised to read this beautiful, touching story. This isn’t so much a story about the horrors of finding out your (ex)boyfriend is gay. Yes, that’s where it starts but after a bout of crying and self-pity (Belle refuses to be a “Malory” who wallows in misery for weeks on end), Belle moves on to some more interesting issues: will the newly outed Dylan be safe in their small town? Who is she now that her relationship is over? (and how did who she was come to be defined by her relationship?!) And is it OK to fall in lust/crush/love with Tom so soon after the break-up (does that mean she never really loved Dylan?!)?

The characters are wonderful and complex. They hurt each other while trying to find themselves and while trying to navigate the different ways one can love someone but they make up again. I love the unique little quirks each of the characters has that seem to perfectly capture their personalities and their traumas. Belle’s best friend Emily takes photos of people, all the time. After her father died she found that all she had were smiling, posed pictures that told her nothing about him. She wants to capture the people she loves in pictures so that she can never lose them. Belle carries her guitar, Gabriel, everywhere. She can only truly express herself through music and in the story, music becomes a true barometer for her feelings. And most charmingly, Belle’s new beau Tom loves duct tape (which makes the book cover clever rather than just quirky). He builds sculptures, sticks quotes on his shoes, etc. Duct tape can do anything (which makes me wonder if they watch the Red Green Show in the States). There are many more but I’ll let you discover them yourselves.

The book is written in prose but there is something poetic about it. Jones’ language manages to perfectly capture Belle’s state of mind. I got through it in one sitting. Definitely worth a read.


[…] the book. The writing is solid and the characters are interesting. As we saw in her earlier novel, Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend, Jones has a gift for quirky, realistic characters. I especially liked liked Zara. I liked her […]

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