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Posted October 27, 2009
Made for TV Melodrama
This is a well done first draft for an after school special. As a book, it has some real flaws:
Mr. Konisberg must not be father: while Konigberg's gets points for having the father react positively to the news his son, Bobby, is gay, it's highly unlikely that either parent would welcome another, older gay male (Bryan) to their home without voicing SOME concern, at least to Bobby, about safe sex (the similarly sports-themed SECRET EDGE has a good example of this).
I'm also uncomfortable with how stalkerish Bryan comes across. On the one hand, the author wanted a positive, supportive older gay role model, but didn't want too much of an age difference. However, it's unlikely that the one freshman in college who could rate an actual writing/reporting (versus get me coffee and donuts) internship at a major paper like the OC Register would both happen to be a cousin of the Bobby's team mate, Dennis, AND be a gay male the main character happens to find attractive (there must be no family resemblance with the cousin as the author repeatedly states the Bobby's lack of attraction and even wonderment at Dennis' appeal to his fellow female students).
The author makes the frequent rookie mistake of trying to cover too much ground with too many elements. The supportive (and essentially non-sexual romantic) older gay role model should have been the school counselor or the uncle of the Rahim character. The father's illness and cancer treatment also took up space that could have been used to take the character to the end of the school year, where the readers could have learned that the Bobby character got recruited by a good Division III program like Occidental or a Division II school like UC San Diego, as an openly gay college football player, either totally plausible.
Another unlikely and unrealistic plot point is the entire "outing" by the student reporter. In the text, the editor states the reporter "vouched" for his own story. No decent editor, even in high school, would allow a reporter to vouch for what he would know to be such a significant and personal detail as student (and particularly high school football quarterback) homosexuality). California has a written right to privacy law. Even if students don't get all of these rights, that's typically when the administration wants to do something like search their lockers in the interest of the 'greater good' - public safety. In this case, Bobby's privacy would be a significant hurdle for the editor and/or faculty adviser (who would have clued in the principal) to just ignore, tape or no tape. Additionally, if the editor (or advisor) heard the total tape -- and they would and should -- they would hear Bobby state, quite clearly, "maybe we should turn that off." A good reporter would also have prefaced the tape, 'do you mind if I tape this.' The first interview, at the cafeteria was not equally taped, so immediately that creates a problem -- unless the author needs to (in time honored TV fashion) create and manufacture melodrama as an easy plot point to move his story along.
Likewise, even if the oldest friend Bobby has is not really close why would he tell other team members, particularly the Dennis character that neither this friend nor Bobby is close to -- except that the author needs the plot point.
The author's sports background adds realism to the locker room and main character's narration. However, these details detract from the overall boo
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Posted December 25, 2010
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