Heather's Reviews > Totally Joe

Totally Joe by James Howe
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May 02, 13

bookshelves: childrens-books
Read on March 12, 2011

I don't usually read other people's reviews of a book before writing my own, but in looking for a summary of the ply of Totally Joe I came across two that made me shake my head. Both mentioned how well-written the book was, and how engaging the story was, and then went on to mention how unrealistic it is that a gay middle-schooler could be so comfortable with themselves, and that their family and friends could be so accepting. It is such a sad testament to the fact that most people still see being gay and coming out as traumatic experiences filled with self-hatred, family denial, and rejection. Believe it or not, there are families out there that are completely and unreservedly accepting of their gay children. I know at least three such young people myself, who came out in middle school to their families and close friends and had nothing but positive, supporting experiences. I love the fact that Howe does not make Joe's journey and coming out full of drama and conflict. Why is it unrealistic to describe what a loving, accepting family structure looks like? This book, a companion to The Misfits, does not have its power. But Joe is an engaging, likeable character, and his story of self-acceptance and first love is sweet.
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