Jack is a teenager who wants nothing more than to be normal - even if being normal means having divorced parents and a rather strange best friend. But when Jack's father takes him out in a rowboar on Lake Watchmayoyo and tells his son that he's gay, nothing will ever be normal again.
I read this book for my book club and I was really excited to read it. From the synopsis, Jack sounded so relevant to what kids are facing today. However, I was a little bit disappointed. Besides Jack, I had a difficult time liking the characters. Jack's mom, dad, and best friend are, at best, tolerable and, at worst, self-absorbed.
Jack is a really sweet kid and the only child of divorced parents. At first he is only dealing with his parents' bitter divorce. His mother is extremely angry and his father seems very distant. Jack is having a hard time making sense of everyone's emotions, especially his own. After some time after their divorce, his dad decides that Jack is old enough to know the truth; that he is gay and that's why he left. Jack's anger is heart-breaking and made me very sad.
When this book was published, in 1989, life was very different. AIDS was still a deadly disease without hope of a cure. Bitterness and hatred toward gays was at its peak. All of the hatred and anger of the book really depressed me. I guess, I want a world where divorce is more of an issue than homosexuality. It shouldn't be that big of a deal when someone admits that he/she is gay. I tried to put myself in a fifteen-year-old's shoes and see how I would react to my father admitting that he is gay. I would hope that I would be accepting and wanted nothing more than his happiness. But, in the real world, I don't think that really happens. It seems so many people feel anger and, even shame; not love and acceptance.
The kids at Jack's school are just plain vicisous, including his best friend, Max. They write nasty things on his locker and call him horrible names. It really makes you cringe when you read it. However, I found it amazing that Jake is so resilient to handle everything. Ms. Homes made him a very strong and loving character. In the end, he discovers that his family life could be a lot worse and his parents are really not that bad.
In the end, things are still unresolved and a lot of pent-up anger faces Jack and his mom. However, they seem to be going down the road of acceptance.