Dream Boy: A Novel

Novel best served with creative minds and a cup of coffee.

Author: Jim Grimsley

Publication : 1999

At first, the title suggests a starry-eyed love story. A boy equivalent to Prince Charming chased after by women in wedding gowns. Despite the title connoting a same old romance, it however unravels a queer love story of two teen boys. CAUTION! One of the protagonists has a dark past and lives his wound every day.

The book can be labeled as coming-of-age, romance, suspense, young adult. But when all of these elements are mixed, surprisingly we get a fine drama.

The story is set up in country and narrates the tale of Nathan, a shy and intelligent boy. His family consists of an alcoholic and abusive father; a meek and invisible mother. Nathan develops a crush on the stereotyped boy-next-door, Roy, an athletic jock. Together they embark on a sexual and emotional relationship.

Although it has a diversity of elements, most of them have been overused over the passage of time, as a result of which, the beauty of the moment is diminished. The juxtaposition of the optimistic and the unaccepted love with a gruesome and vivid imagery of exploitation is a classic element {which has been used frequently}.

Despite all the shortcomings, the characters have been well thought off. The characterizations are such as the readers would definitely connect with them and make them come alive. e.g. Nathan, who is shy throughout the journey, shocks everyone by showing everyone his bold side at various points.

At times Nathan’s back-story is explored which is sure to well up the readers latent emotions. It guarantees to break even the hardest façade into tears.

The ending is the most emotional segment of the novel which will bewilder its audience. It is kept open so as to let the reader go through the realm of his/her own imagination. As a result, it pushes the reader into an endless suspense.

The chemistry between all the characters is to be noted. The relationship of the leads is strictly sexual at first but then they start to connect on a whole new plane. The strained relation between Nathan and his father revives the readers’ anger and frustration. The invisibility of the mother and her absent-mindedness is strung along {though at one point she tends to break out of her regular image}.

In addition the book voices the minority and represents the LGBTQ community. It also emphasize upon the fact of homosexuality still being a taboo. Hence, this book serves an extra reading between the lines assignment for the readers who muster up courage through reading.

Grimsley elucidates every single detail as he himself is experiencing the said situations. Although there is not much dialogue between the characters {which may be due to the difference between their personalities}, but he compensates the conversations by beautifully describing the silence at the moment and their thoughts.

In short, Jim Grimsley’s ‘Dream Boy: A Novel’ is an impeccable example of a story that addresses both minor and major themes. It is a beautiful example of queer literature which at its very core holds the ability to become a classic, though it also has its own modern twist.