I was surprised with this book. All in all I enjoyed reading this book. I was surprised when the author leaped onto the subject of young adolescent boys being gay. I imagine that most adolescent boys would react the same way as A.J. Brandiosa did when he first found out about his best friend Tully being gay. When the author made A.J. Brandiosa even questioned his own sexuality with his confusion of being in love with his best friend. It was nice to read in the end that A.J. finally accepted Tully for who he was.
A.J.’s best friend.
A.J. knows Tully and him are on the Cyclones hockey team. But he can’t lose focus. He has to keep on working hard. Later on he finds out that his best friend Tully is gay. He finds this out by seeing Tully with some guy’s arm around him. He blames Tully for being gay. A.J. can’t talk to Tully after this. He is very angry and starts to take it out in the hockey games by beating people up. He tries to make Tully to go see a counselor to make him change his ways. In A.J.’s confusion he starts to think that he is in love with Tully. Tully lets him know that he loves A.J. too but explains why he thinks A.J. is just confused and so nothing happens between A.J. and Tully. A.J. finally accepts Tully for who he is. At the end of the story Tully is dancing around at a wedding and A.J. is looking on sitting besides Tully’s sister and says “Keep on dancing, Tul”.
Analysis – Plot
The story starts off at a wedding people are dancing to western music. All A.J. wants to do is get up enough courage to ask this girl he calls “Pink Satin” to dance. He gets his friend Tully to talk to the D.J. to put on more up to date music. He starts heading over but gets stopped by his drunken uncle Mike. By the time he gets away Tully and the girl are gone. A little bit later on in the story A.J. is looking for Tully hoping that Tully is not doing anything stupid. He notices Tully’s car but it is parked and empty, so he walks in to a coffee shop/billiard spot call Chicco’s. As he is sitting there he notices that everybody is in couples gay couples. So he gets up to leave as he is doing so Tully walks in with this guys arm around his shoulder. A.J. gets very mad and starts taking out his anger in his hockey games. A.J.’s is confused with his own sexuality and starts thinking that he is in love with Tully. This gets A.J. mad and he feels that he needs to prove to himself that he is not gay and forces himself on Tully’s sister. Tully and A.J. finally end up talking and Tully explains to A.J. that everybody is different. In the end A.J. finally accepts who Tully is and always was, his friend.
A.J. Brandoisa is one of the main characters in the story. One of the first thing you here when A.J. is describing himself is that he lost weight, put on some muscle and that he is now able to look in the mirror without being totally disgusted. A.J. is very aggressive. He wants to be accepted by everyone. When he found out about Tully he was very angry and took out his emotions on the hockey ice playing against other teams. When he found out that people liked him because of the fights he started on the ice, he continued. Tully the other main character is more care free, outgoing and loves to be around people. People love to be around Tully. Tully enjoys being liked by everyone and he seems to have a hard time when someone does not like him.
Point of View
The story is told in first person narration. The third person narration limits the thoughts, feelings, and perceptions of a single character. I believe the author chose to write the story this way is to allow the reader limited points of view from several characters in this book. You are able to understand what the characters are feeling.
The story is set in Moose Jaw; Saskathewan in a mid-sized town but has a small town feel. The only worth wild sport to play in the town is hockey. Almost everybody in town watches the hockey game, do to the fact that there is no professional hockey team. Excluding the hockey games weddings are the only entertainment and it didn’t matter if you knew that bride and groom, wedding were fair game for anybody who was dress presentable.
Style and Symbols
The book was not very hard to read. It mostly contained small words and small chapters. One of the symbols in this book was the mustang. This is where A.J. felt safe to be himself. A.J. also mention that he loved the mustang. Another symbol is when A.J. says that “all cats are grey in the dark”. I interpet this that when he goes to kiss Summer he is actually picturing Tully.
There are a couple of themes but they sort of tie into each other. First of all, the story shows what young adolescents will do and the lengths they will go to be accepted. Second, the book shows that gaining tolerance in an intolerable society is very hard to do. Finally, the book shows you that you should never assume anything in life because life is full of unexpected twist and turns. Just because you find out something surprising about someone else it does not change the person they are inside.