Monday, December 27, 2010

Will Grayson, Will Grayson: A Review

Will Grayson, Will Grayson turned me into a mushy pile of emotional goo. I know that aspects of the text are problematic and the end was totally Hallmark, but I guess its emotional sentimentality was tuned just right for me. Or maybe it's just the Holiday spirit. Either way, I found it, in part, a lovely, lazy Sunday afternoon feel-good read.

However, in traditional English-student-wanna-be-writer, my perceptions are split into one that is informal, another that is academic (with a cultural criticism sort of bent), and another that writer-centric.

Writer's Perspective

It was problematic for me. For me, there were expectations that were unfulfilled. For example, the title implicates that the Will Graysons will interact with each other way more than they actually do. I don't understand why it's titled the way it is, except maybe to set up the end with all the Will Graysons saying how much Tiny Cooper meant to them (even though they had never met before?).

Unfortunately, the ending felt particularly forced to me. We have an emotional resolution given by strangers essentially - this is just unsatisfying on all kinds of levels.

Cultural Crit

I think the text works strongest from a cultural perspective because it contests the way homosexuals are viewed and written by working as an emotional snapshot of two boys: one is straight, one is gay and their respective romance. In so doing, it deconstructs certain stereotypes about homosexuals: though Tiny is flamboyant, he's a football player and not really "effeminate" (in fact, one of the hilarious songs is poking fun about what a big deal society makes about homosexuality in general), but one of the Will Grayson is neither "flamboyant" or "gay" but simply himself - and in a world where the media still presents a one-dimensional view of homosexuality (even if it's positive and progressive), this sort of "normality" (for lack of a better word) is invaluable.

The text takes the labels of "straight" and "gay" and says, Look. There's more to these people than that. And I think that's wonderful. I also think it's great that, as a romance of varying levels, it acknowledges the fact that love is multi-dimensional - two people can love each other as friends without jumping their bones.

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