Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Out of the Pocket By Bill Konigsberg

 Unrated |  Contemporary |  Dutton Juvenile | Release Date: 9/18/2008
Bill Konigsberg is my favorite type of YA author, the kind who has been writing for years but suddenly gets a big highly marketed title with tons of buzz (usually because of the big push in diversity) from the book influencer world.

Konigsberg's sixth book, The Music Of What Happens, is on a ton of most anticipated YA  list for 2019 and Out of The Pocket was his debut all the way back in 2008.

Bobby Framingham is the star quarterback of his Southern California high school football team. He is most at home with this team on the field and trying to find the best way to come out to his friends and family without losing the community he holds close. After being publically outed, Bobby is thrust in the national spotlight.  Now out of his comfort zone, he has to be the best quarterback he can be, hold his team together and support his father after he is given a life-changing diagnosis.

Out of The Pocket feels like a microcosm of teen life in the late 2000s, I was in high school during the time this book takes place and for me, this book was like a blast from the past. It's this strange time where we were using landlines and watching cable TV while at the same time using cell phones and Google. I could go on and on about the references to the pop culture like Avril Lavigne and Borat. But I think what this book really reminded me of was how 'casual homophobia' was just apart of our culture.

2008 was just ten years ago but back then Don't Ask Don't Tell and DOMA was still in effect, gay marriage was not nationally legalized and MTV had to run PSAs telling people not to use gay as a slur.

I really wonder what Gen Z would think of millennials after reading this?  I mean I remember being in high school and hearing people say everything was "gay" and a teacher making a joke about how kids ran around calling each other "homos".

I think if teen me would have picked this up I would have likened it to Chris Crutcher's novels. Crutcher wrote sports fiction which tackled race, violence, and class. This book enthralled me even though I know absolutely nothing about sports. Konigsberg has a slightly lighter touch
but if you enjoy this Chris Crutcher may be a great read-a-like. I can't guarantee his books age well but I think they are worth a try.

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