Gimme Pride, J. Tomas
Publisher: Queerteen Press
Genre: YA, LGBT (G)
Length: 24 pages
“Sexy swimsuits dangle from the hangers – Speedos in bright Spandex, colorful one-pieces with revealing cut-outs, cropped and shredded T-shirts that can serve as cover-ups on the beach or at the pool.”
If Gimme Pride is to be believed then the entire gay world is full of the aforementioned clothing and little else. Normally I wouldn’t review something this short, but I had heard good things about this author and thought it’d be a nice break from my usual 300+ page books.
Fifteen year old Chip is helping his older sister out with her swimwear stall at the Richmond Gay Pride Festival. Along with his best friend Jen he is modelling one of the outfits and is trying to drum up sales for his sister. At one point among the crowd Jen spots Bobby, a jock from their high school and points him out to Chip. Bobby has been Chip’s crush for quite a while and he rushes in head first to work out whether the boy of his dreams is in fact compatible.
“And now Jen says Bobby’s here, here, at Pride? Oh, holy crap. Chip doesn’t even dare hope it’s him.”
“But it is. Thank you, Jesus, it’s him.”
Part I Liked
At the core of this book there is a story of how hard it can be for some people to come out. Bobby is exactly this, being a jock, and quite fearful that if he does come out his world will be in ruins with relentless bullying and a complete overhaul of his life. Chip has had the support of Jen over the years and hasn’t had to fear the relentless bullying due to her protection.
Their chance encounter at the festival leads to a clash of these two situations with Chip being overly expectant of Bobby making a statement on his sexuality; likewise Bobby is resentful of Chip’s ability to be out and proud. The coming together of these two worlds is a good learning experience for the both of them and is somewhat poignant.
Other Than That This Book Is Poor
There is an issue of continuity in the first half of the story. Chip tells multiple tales of him coming out with both of them completely different and “X was the first person I came out to.” He came out to his sister and parents when he was thirteen in freshman year, so he could go on a date with the neighbour boy, then he came out to Jen when he was fifteen in freshman year – it was specifically stated that each time was the first time.
Obviously these two situations do not match up and chances are Chip wasn’t in freshman year both when he was thirteen and fifteen. In addition Chip later mentions that he has never been on a date even though he earlier stated he went on one with the neighbour. This is the kind of error that should raise a red flag during editing and given the length of the book this should not have been too hard to spot.
I am very disappointed with the way Chip is portrayed in Gimme Pride. For the entirety of the story he is running around in an incredibly skimpy red speedo with the only other item of clothing a feather boa. For a period of the story he is dancing on a box outside of the stall with the clear and stated intention of luring men into it to increase sales.
The clothing and actions depicted here is NOT appropriate for a fifteen year old, even at a Gay Pride event, and does not depict an accurate representation of what other young men his age should be expected to wear at such an event. I was truly disturbed by this and I do believe the story could have been told without this costume and it would have been much better for it.
Despite having a decent story at the centre of it, Gimme Pride is too deeply flawed to recommend it to other readers. I strongly suggest considering the above points before you purchase this book.
“Bobby wants to keep their budding relationship between them, and Chip thinks maybe that’s exactly where it belongs.”