Wide Awake by David Levithan
Published Knopf Books 2006
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Format: Kindle ebook
As my mother said this, she looked at my father, who was still staring at the screen. They were shocked, barely comprehending.
Me? I sat there and beamed.
Everything seems to be going right in Duncan’s life: The candidate he’s been supporting for president has just won the election. Duncan’s boyfriend, Jimmy, is with him to celebrate. Love and kindness appear to have won the day.
But all too quickly, things start to go wrong. The election is called into question… and Duncan and Jimmy’s relationship is called into question, too. Suddenly Duncan has to decide what he’s willing to risk for something he believes in… and how far he’s willing to go to hold on to the people we hold dear.
Perfectly weaving together a heartfelt love story and a possible political future, David Levithan has crafted an insightfully drawn novel that reminds us how history is built – one action, one person, and one belief at a time.
I really wish something kind of like this would happen in America, but then again, I really doubt it ever will. After a crazy amount of government corruption (The Rule of Fear, The War To End All Wars [essentially World War III in the Middle East], the Prada Riots [protesting the wage gap], and finally the Jesus Revolution), it has come to probably the most progressive event ever – a gay, Jewish president is elected (one thing I found funny about this book was the comparison to never having an African American president, who was later elected after publishing in 2008).
Anyway, the majority of the reason I wanted to read this book was for the premise of the future America. And this portrait of it didn’t seem that realistic to me. One thing that I found particularly strange was that they would go to stores, buy things, and then take the money and donate it to a charity. There’s nothing wrong with donations, just that I found this concept really strange. It would also probably have some economic problems with it too. Anyway, there were a lot of things in this society that I had problems with, but I did like how the majority of homophobia was gone. In the book, the US had upheld the rights for gay marriage and equality in the US.
When the gay, Jewish president is elected, Kansas votes for a recount which could shift the election to the opponent. So everyone heads out to Kansas in protest, including Duncan, the main character. Duncan is gay and his boyfriend, Jimmy, are one of my favorite parts of the story. This is one of the first books I have read that features a LGBT main couple. Before, I’ve read about people who are GLBT, but never in a relationship. They had a really nice relationship going and I liked how Duncan would sometimes, naturally, doubt how their relationship was working. He admired Jimmy so much. I could see how this would cause a problem for them later, but I enjoyed what we saw of them. There are other couples in this book, including one dealing with some cheating problems. This all causes Duncan and Jimmy to assess their relationship, especially as they go through the troubles of the Kansas protests, which hearkens back to Bleeding Kansas pre-civil war and the Boston Tea Party.
This book was a really short, quick read for me that I really enjoyed overall. The world building seemed to lack for me in its legitimacy, but the characters were really great to read about. I hope that some aspects of this would come true, but it just seemed to idealistic. However, it did give me a really good feeling about hope for the future that I really appreciated from this book.