Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Book Review- The God Box by Alex Sanchez

The God Box
Paul has lived his entire life being taught that homosexuality is wrong and a sin, and trying to keep his own secret feelings towards guys to himself while attempting to change them. Then one day, Manuel, a new transfer student, comes into his school and turns Paul's world upside down. Manuel is openly gay and Christan, and it leaves Paul wondering how the two can co-exist. Through a series of events, Paul is finally able to reconcile his confused feelings of balancing his spirituality and sexuality.

While I have not gone through a similar experience, and therefore wanted to slap the main character a few times throughout the book, I really enjoyed this novel. I was pretty accepting of my own sexuality, and figured that if my religion didn’t accept it, why should I accept my religion? By the way, there were other thoughts besides that one that led me to becoming atheist, but that’s another story and one that doesn’t need to be discussed here.

So reading about how Paul was so torn between both his feelings toward the same gender and his feelings toward his religion which (supposedly) condemned his homosexual feelings was not a relatable experience and, to me, because of my own feelings toward religion, made me not like him at certain points in the book. During these times, I desperately wanted him to just come to the obvious conclusion of leaving his religion and just being proud of who he is and who he loves. But, as we all know, not everyone is the same, or thinks the same, and reading this book showed me how someone could balance the two in their life and not feel torn between the two. It doesn’t necessarily change my own feelings as to how I view religion in my life, but it helps me to understand people who have both in their lives.

Throughout this fantastic storyline are passages from the Bible and the arguments against the specific lines pointed at when people condemn homosexuality and use the Bible to justify it. This is a very powerful book, one that definitely sticks with you after you're finished, and it's one that tackles several important, pertinent issues very well. Highly recommended!

Other GLBT titles to look for!
Rainbow series (Rainbow Boys, Rainbow High, Rainbow Road), So Hard to Say, and Getting It by Alex Sanchez

Geography Club, Order of the Poison Oak, and SplitScreen (in that order) by Brent Hartinger

Boy Meets Boy and Wide Awake by David Levithan

Straight Road to Kylie by Nico Medina

A Really Nice Prom Mess and A Tale of Two Summers by Brian Sloan

Freak Show by James St. James

Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson

Kissing Kate by Lauren Myracle

And there’s plenty more out there that deal with teen sexuality and being gay, so just look around or check out this link to Alex's site where there's a huge list of GLBT titles with book summaries. To end this post, I went back and found Alex’s answer from an interview I did with him last October about why he wrote The God Box. There’s also a longer essay about his inspiration behind it included in the back of the book as well, which was really interesting to read. Alex also has a Spirituality section on his website with lots of helpful links. Anyway, without further ado, here's the inspiration QnA:

In your new book The God Box, you focus on what it means to be gay and Christian. Was this something that was difficult to do, or was it something you had gone through as well? Did you have to do a lot of research to get things as realistic as possible?

Writing The God Box helped me to sort out a lot of my own thoughts and experiences about being gay and Christian. I did a lot of research on the so-called "clobber" passages in the Bible that are used to denigrate gay people. When you really start to study them, as the characters in The God Box do, you begin to realize that the passages are far from clear, culture-bound, and selectively used to judge and persecute people, exactly what so much of the rest of the Bible tells us not to do.


The Compulsive Reader said...

Good review! It counds like a very interesting book, and the links were jelpful.

Lenore said...

I know a lot of churches accept you how you are (as they should). The Presbyterians even allow lesbian clergy.

ambeen said...

Great review! It sounds really interesting. :)

Liviania said...

Good review! I know how hard it is to connect to a character sometimes when you just don't get their experience.

I read Sanchez's Rainbow books and thought they were okay, but way too obvious in message - particularly because I think they, like this one, will be preaching to the choir.

(As a Christian who believes homosexuality isn't condemned by a Bible, reading a book mainly concerning arguments I use quite often doesn't sound that interesting, probably b/c those arguments are rarely happy fun times.)

Anonymous said...

The fact that Christians, who are supposed to be so open and forgiving, are so prejudice against anyone gay irritates me to no end. It's ridiculous. To me, that's the opposite of what their religion and their God and Bible tell them to do. It just irritates me.

Of course, not all Christians are that way. I'm not, obviously. (Though I'm not totally sure how Christian I am.) There's this one bi girl in my Youth Group and the leader knew and she didn't say much about it but you could tell she didn't like it.

I really have no clue where I'm going with this so I'm just going to shut up now :P

Anyway, awesome, awesome, awesome review. I've had this on my wishlist FOREVER and now I just want it even more....

RR2 said...

Wow. Great review!

Steph said...

Great review, BC! Homosexuality, heterosexuality, bisexuality--whatever. Your life, your choice, your right - I'm just here to tell you that you be awesome.


Becker said...

Thanks for highlighting this one! Look for my review of Wide Awake by David Levithan in August.

Colleen said...

I loved Wide Awake, Becker. It's one of the coolest political books I've ever read for teens.

BookChic said...

Thanks everyone for the lovely comments! I'm glad you enjoyed it! :)

Becker- I loved Wide Awake too! Can't wait to see what you say about it. David is such a great writer.

Reese said...

Excellent review, nicely done. *puts the book on list of stuff to read* A tale of Two Summers is really good too...