June 12, 2014
One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva
One Man Guy
by Michael Barakiva
Farrar Straus and Giroux
“Alek stared at the menu suspiciously. He smelled marinara sauce and a trap.”
So begins One Man Guy although it does take some time before Alek realizes just what the trap is. His Armenian-American parents are simply too busy grilling the waitress about the menu, the ingredients and even the water. When they turn their attention to Alek, he wishes they were back to tormeting the waitress.
It seems that Alek earned C’s in two of his honors classes. If he’s going to stay in the advanced placement track, he is going to have to go to summer school while everyone else in the family goes on vacation.
Alek can’t believe his miserable luck. If he goes to summer school, he can’t go to tennis camp, an event he’s been looking forwardt to the whole long school year. But his parents won’t accept anything less than absolute perfection from their son.
The torment of summer school turns into a blessing when they leave Alek alone and he falls for skater boy Ethan. Up until their first kiss, Alek never even considered the fact that he might be gay but with the kiss many things fall into place. Soon he’s skipping classes to travel from his Jersey home to NYC with Ethan who helps Alek make the transition from uptight Armenian-American to a cooler constietious guy who stands up for what is right.
This won’t click with young readers, but this reminded me of My Big Fat Greek Wedding simply in the over and above way that his parents handle everything and I do mean everything. While they are completely okay with the fact that Alek is gay, they have huge issues with his choice of a boyfriend. Still, they are impressed when their son stands up to them, sighting the traditions of his Armenian family in his arguement.
While this is a book about growing up and being gay, it is so much more. Alek’s biggest concern isn’t his sexuality but learning to appreciate people who are different from you, people you were sure were out to get you.
An excellent summer read with its lovable characters, fast pace and lessons in accepting people based on their best behavior instead of your fears.