The best books, the best works of art, make you feel something. Sometimes, what it makes you feel isn’t quite what you wanted to feel. For me, even if the feeling is unpleasant, to feel anything is a good thing. The world can make you dangerously apathetic. And a book that can open your eyes, that can remind you of old wounds or inflict new ones, should be praised.
I read ‘Forgive Me if I’ve Told You This Before’ on a recommendation from Sara Quin, who you might know from the band Tegan and Sara. Followers of my blog or Twitter know that I am a HUGE fan of Tegan and Sara. Sara liked the book, but that’s not the whole reason I read it. Just a large part of the reason. That’s how recommendations work. You get the title of a book in your head, and someone you respect likes it, so you track it down. And if the synopsis sounds like something you’d dig, you read it. That’s how I do things, anyway.
The book follows Triinu, a high school-aged girl who discovers that she’s different, that she doesn’t like boys the way her friends do. She finds herself attracted to girls and in love with her friend Ursula. All of this happens against the backdrop of a conservative group’s push to put an antigay bill on the ballot. There are bullies in her town, lots of antigay sentiment. If you’re at all decent, this shit will piss you off. That human beings can treat each other like this is horrific. But it happens, not just in Oregon, and certainly not just in the past. I hate it. And while figuring herself out, which is tough enough, Triinu has to deal with all of this, too.
The antigay stuff made ‘Forgive Me…’ kind of a difficult read, mostly because it made me so angry. Shakingly, jaw-clenchingly angry. I’m glad I read it, though. There’s hope in these pages, the sense that love, no matter who it’s between, will prevail. Those that seek to destroy the beautiful unions between people will ultimately fail. Love wins, always.
And a special Thank You goes out to Sara Quin for mentioning this book (can’t remember where/when). It woke up my soul. Buy it, read it, and you may be able to say the same.