Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bromance Fiction

I have been hearing the phrase “Bromance” floating around the movie world for a couple of years now but never really paid much attention to it in the literary world. It wasn’t until I read two young adult novels in a row that I thought - yeah now I get it! According to Wikipedia (who got it from a John Elder article in The Age) “a bromance is a close but non-sexual relationship between two (or more) men, a form of homosocial intimacy”.

Friendship has been a theme that has featured female characters forever. The first female friendships that come to my mind are Anne Shirley and Diana Barry from Anne of Green Gables, and more recently the four girls in the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants by Anne Brashares or the women of the Hot Flash Club series by Nancy Thayer. Male friendship does not seem to be as valued or at least not written about. Here are a few titles that may get you interested in exploring this theme further!

I must admit that I will read a review of something and then forget that I have requested it. This book was one of those, and since I forgot why I requested it, I kept suspending the request as other library books arrived for me. When I finally had time to read it, I kicked myself for waiting so long! I absolutely love Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan! Throughout the novel I loved the authors’ ability to turn a phrase. I was constantly reading some line or other to people like “I’m not quite sure how to described this band’s music, except to say that it sounds like a hundred thousand weasels being dropped into a boiling ocean”or “Chicago traffic is unkind to begin with, but in this case it was moving slower than a stoner’s thoughts.” Oh, how can you not share this with someone?!

The novel is about Will Grayson and his best friend Tiny Cooper. Will is one of those people who most people would not notice and he has difficulties with his emotions. Tiny Cooper is not shy about his emotions and seems to fall in love at the drop of a hat. Will’s description of his friend is “Tiny Cooper is not the world’s gayest person, and he is not the world’s largest person, but I believe he may be the world’s largest person who is really really gay, and the world’s gayest person who is really really large.” By chance Will Grayson meets another Will Grayson in a random shop where neither one of them belongs. This chance meeting changes both their lives and Tiny Cooper’s as well. And I believe if you read this novel it will change yours too –if only for a moment.

The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith “....crawls inside your head and won’t leave” (Michael Grant). I would love to hear from someone else who read this novel because it hasn’t left my head.. I really enjoyed reading it but I must admit there are still some parts that have me puzzled. It was only afterwards that I learned that it may become a series of novels so that may answer why I still have questions. It is about 16 year old Jack Whitmore who gets kidnapped and narrowly escapes with his life. And that is just the beginning of the story. He and his best friend Connor travel to London on summer break. Once in London, Jack is handed a pair of glasses by a stranger. Through these glasses Jack is transported into the grim world of Marbury, where life is literally gray and dismal The reader is continually trying to figure out if Jack’s experiences are real. Is there a “Marbury” or is it all in Jack’s head, (perhaps a case of post-traumatic stress disorder). Jack is haunted both by his past and the world of Marbury. The glasses keep calling him back time and time again to the horrors of Marbury.

Here are more bromances that the reader may enjoy :

Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer
by Mark Twain

Gene and Phineas in A Separate Peace
by John Knowles

Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings
by J.R.R. Tolkien

Jack Aubrey and his friend Stephen Maturin in the Aubrey/Maturin series
by Patrick O’Brian

Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson novels
by Arthur Conan Doyle

Amir and Hassan in The Kite Runner
by Khalid Hosseini

George and Lenny in Of Mice and Men
by John Steinbeck

Lestat and Louis in Vampire Chronicles
by Anne Rice

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