Simon and Simon

in books •  last year 

Holding one Simon in your hand and watching another fixated on the big screen. Can it be any better than that? 

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli is everything a young adult coming-out novel should be. Adorable, engaging, entertaining, real. It’s a real story (don’t confuse it with a true story) of young Simon who leads two lives: a real-time life in which Simon keeps his huge secret from his family, his friends, and everyone in school until he is blackmailed and his secret is threatened to be revealed; and his virtual life in which, under his alias Jacques, he emails with a teenage gay boy hidden under the pen name Blue. In his online life with Blue everything is easier for Simon, even to come out to him, a stranger.

If anything of that sounds familiar to you, you will with no difficulty relate with Simon and Blue as they confide in each other and develop their flirtatious relationship into a sweet addiction when Simon can no longer get Blue out of his head and starts looking for him among his high-school friends determined to meet him.

I took a reversed order of watching the movie Love, Simon before reading the book, so I didn’t have the usual fears of the movie butchering the book (as it is too often the case) but rather something extraordinary happened. Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger wrote such a great screenplay and Nick Robinson and the rest of the cast gave amazing performances, so the story of Simon and his friends was screened into a bit different and special experience! Some of the scenes are rewritten and made more dynamic, some characters altered and turned more charismatic, while the highlight of Simon’s secret about to be revealed and Simon being forced to face his big coming out is portrayed with more passion, excitement and movie drama.

The “motion picture” Simon is a fantastic addition to the “literary” Simon! Each of them gives us their perspective of how difficult it is for a young boy to accept his true feelings and sexuality and tell others about it. Maybe to understand why it is so hard we shouldn’t look in someone’s (in)ability to admit the truth to themselves and others but rather in a society which makes such a big deal out of it and makes it so hard.

Both Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and Love, Simon offer us an excellent insight of the young Simon’s inner turmoil, coming out drama and restrained feelings. They will make us appreciate his struggle and determination to find his love with tears, passion and outburst of our own emotions.

Bernard Jan
www.bernardjan.com

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