Justin's Reviews > Love Drugged

Love Drugged by James Klise
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's review
May 26, 2011

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Read from May 26 to 27, 2011

When I was a wee little boy and my eye began to linger a bit longer on the boys it was right around the time I began to reread the books of my early days as a reader. All the books I read, especially the one's by Judy Blume centered on some young protagonist whom felt they were different than everyone around them. I picked several favorites and read and reread them over and over savoring the outsider tales identifying with them deeply.

If I had come across a book like Love Drugged during my early days of sexual awareness it would of been apart of the books I read again and again.

James Klise's tale for young adults centers around the teenage archetypal awkward everyman of Jamie Bates and his high drama navigation of personal identity & societal sexual stereotypes.

Like the young protagonist the book balances it's self between Gay Lit and the traditional Young Adult faire of teen transition. To say the book is merely a coming out tale for boys would gloss over the actual discussion occurring in Klise's book.

Love Drugged centers around an imaginary miracle drug which offers it's users freedom from physical attraction to those of the same gender.

The characters in this fast paced tale not only exposes modern misconceptions about sexual & gender identities it opens a dialog about compassion and the social pressures young adults face as they begin to given more responsibility of their own day to day lives.

The contrasts between Wesley, Celia and Jaimie and their discussions around the choices they make in regards to the practicalities of personal pharmaceutical use are where Klise's writing is at it's best.

One thing that was omitted quite noticeably was an equal treatment of the recreational drug & alcohol use many teens encounter today. A bottle of wine makes it's appearance but the characters quickly move onto the next subject allowing the reader to focus on the topic of Prescription Medication practices.

What seems to be just a tale of a gay boy figuring out being gay is ok is actually a subtle critique of the modern practice of life modification through self medication.

The few moments the author slips into cliche is in his treatment of Attention Deficit, Hyper Activity and Latino stereotypes. Young readers will not even notice the villain is a Gun toting Mexican wise guy but an author's cultural biases will always come to the surface with enough examination.

I'll forgive the white guy. He's a gay librarian in Chicago- at least the evil drug figure was not African American, right?
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05/26/2011 page 229

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