Surprisingly busy day, so I didn't do too much reading today.Mastbaum, Blair. Clay's Way. Los Angeles: Alyson, 2004.Summary
: Hawaii. Teenaged skateboarder Sam is infatuated with the super-cool surfer/pothead/partyboy Clay, and they become involved. Unfortunately, Clay refuses to own up to their relationship, except after a brief period during a nature getaway after he almost drowns. Sam returns alone from the getaway and tries living briefly like Clay, but he can't hack it, and when Clay does come back, he is enraged by Sam's presumption and beats the boy up in front of all of his friends.Comments
: The Oahu setting of Mastbaum's debut novel was perhaps the most interesting thing going for it. Quite a nice change from the usual East Coast or Middle America settings of American novels of this type. The colonized history of the islands, as well as the peoples' mentality as depicted, makes for a clever juxiposition with the pressure of sexuality. (Of course, white people in Hawaii, and Sam is no exception, love bellyaching about their minority status, neglecting to mention that the economic and social superiority that they enjoy elsewhere in the US remains in force there--I've little patience for such crap.) Unfortunately, he didn't swing the multicultural aspects of the island quite as skillfully--you call that Japanese? *sighs* Otherwise, the story was your basic coming-of-age+coming-to-terms-with-homos
exual-identity story, right down to the love object who is somewhat sympathetic but unwilling to come out and is therefore wholly unsuitable and unhealthy for the protagonist--and it's through Object's self-hatred that hte protagonist learns that he must accept himself as he is. Think John Fox's The Boys on the Rock
, for one. Anyway, these sorts of archetypal stories never grow old, and it's a sure bet if you write one...but I'd like to see something genuinely original from Mastbaum in the future. He can do it, no doubt; he just hasn't. Yet.Notes
: hardcover, exclusive BCE; trade paperback edition availableRating
- A solid novel of its type, but it doesn't break the mold.