Sunday 19 April 2015

#CBR7 Book 45: "Hold Me Closer: the Tiny Cooper story" by David Levithan

Page count: 208 pages
Rating: 4 stars

About a month ago, I read the excellent Will Grayson, Will Grayson and through its pages got to know not only the two Wills, but the incomparable Tiny Cooper, who (if I made such a list, and I may have to now) would end up high on my top 10 greatest characters finds of the year. Tiny Cooper, best friend extraordinaire to one of the Will Graysons, and briefly boyfriend to the other, is an absolute delight, and his attempts to write, direct, choreograph and star in the musical based on his own life, was probably my absolute favourite thing of a book I loved.

So when I discovered that there would be a companion novel, featuring the entire script to Tiny's musical, I was very excited. Suffice to say, I blazed through the book in hardly no time at all, because this really is a very quick, but also very entertaining read. It contains the script, complete with lyrics to all the songs, with comprehensive stage directions and suggestions from Tiny on how characters should be dressed, and what the mood of a scene is intended as. While Tiny was a scene-stealing supporting character in Will Grayson, Will Grayson, here he is naturally front and centre.

Tiny Cooper is just so unapologetically comfortable in his own skin, to the point where he wanted to make a musical version of his own life and present it to the world. Having lived a deeply privileged life in a part of the world where none of my gay friends have ever had any problems with feeling forced to stay closeted, bullying or discrimination, I don't even want to pretend that I understand what being a gay teenager is like. I am, and always have been, as straight as they come. But I am pretty sure that Tiny Cooper must be a great role model for any teen, gay or straight and this book is a great example of being confident and proud of who you are, and focuses on how important it is to be loved and accepted by your friends and family no matter what age you are or where you come from. I'm glad I got to experience Tiny's musical in full, not just in the snippets we were given in the original book.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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