The Official Description: RV is a good kid, starting his freshman year at the demanding Boston Latin School. Though his genes didn’t give him a lot of good things, they did give him a decent brain. So he’s doing his best to keep up in high school, despite all the additional pressures he’s facing: His immigrant parents, who don’t want him to forget his roots and insist on other rules. Some tough kids at school who bully teachers as well as students. His puny muscles. His mean gym teacher. The Guy Upstairs who doesn’t answer his prayers. And the most confusing fact of all—that he might be gay.
Luckily, RV develops a friendship with Mr. Aniso, his Latin teacher, who is gay and always there to talk to. RV thinks his problems are solved when he starts going out with Carole. But things only get more complicated when RV develops a crush on Bobby, the football player in his class. And to RV’s surprise, Bobby admits he may have gay feelings, too.
Just the facts: Young Adult, coming-of-age, self-discovery
My thoughts bit: Let me begin by saying that I’m not the intended audience for this book. It’s classified as a Young Adult novel – and much as I wish I was, I’m not one anymore.
Let’s see! RV is a young teen when the novel begins. He’s got a lot going on in his life and in his head all the time. His character was great, constantly bouncing back and forth between emotions and thoughts. It seemed quite authentic to me.! Being a teenager can be a bit overwhelming. RV takes to writing everything down in a journal so that he can try to understand himself.
He’s Lithuanian and struggles to find his identity as a result of that. Is he just American? Does he have to do all the “Lith” traditions that his parents insist upon? At the same time as he struggles with his cultural identity, he begins to wonder about his sexual identity.
This was the part at which, for me, I thought the voice slipped a little. I felt as though I was reading a middle-school-aged character rather than a teenager. While RV is a terrific character, he reads as much younger in my mind. That’s okay, it’s just that I think it may make it more difficult for older teens to connect with this book.
Many of RV’s struggles seem “typical” of teenagers and some are unique. He’s been raised to be very religious and wonders what “the big guy,” thinks of the “gay” feelings that he’s been having. for his age, he is quite open with his thoughts and feelings.
It’s a good story, biographical, and RV is a great character.
Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) abusive father (emotional), description of past incidents of domestic abuse, the character is a victim of a hate crime and is hospitalized.
I received an ARC of Why Can’t Life Be Like Pizza? by Andy V. Roamer from NineStar Press via Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.