I started reading this book late last night and found myself eagerly turning the pages, unable to stop reading until I had finished – and stayed up way too late doing so. However, after I had closed the book, I found that I had a lot of problems with it. The main problem was that the book was too short, and things happened too fast. There was also more telling rather than showing, especially when it came to conversations between Russel and Kevin who wind up starting a relationship – while Russel is still duty-bound to going on dates with Gunnar’s potential girlfriend’s friend Trish. Russel keeps telling us how Kevin listens to him as he talks about his problems with Gunnar and Trish, but the actual dialogue is not included in those scenes. As such, I had a hard time really getting a sense for Kevin and his motivations. The same can be said for Ike and Terese, both of whom Russel only interacts with during their actual club meetings – something else that isn’t shown in much depth until after the problems of the article, straight student Brenda, and Brian being tormented for being gay – even though there’s no proof he actually is – arise.
Russel, as the narrator, also tells us in the beginning that there is no way he can tell his parents that he’s gay, but never goes into detail why. His parents also fail to feature in the story at all, and adults very rarely feature into the story in general. There’s a scene in the beginning where Russel overhears an argument between the school principal, the health teacher, and a local reverend about censoring what the health teacher chooses to teach her students, and I thought it was going to play a much larger part in the story. In fact, I was hoping it would, because it was such an interesting scene from what little of the argument Russel overheard, and a great subject to include. Unfortunately, except for the article in the newspaper, nothing else is mentioned in regards to the argument. In fact, the only adult to really feature in the story is the baseball team’s coach once Russel decides to join the team in an attempt to spend more time with Kevin – which he doesn’t even need to do because right after he joins, he finds out Kevin is interested in him, too.
You can read the rest of my review at my blog: http://readerlymusings.com/2013/10/02/book-review-geography-club/