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Identifying with Red, White, and Royal Blue

abhorsen.

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I was going to include this in my book review of Red, White, and Royal Blue, but it got long and personal, so I decided it deserved its own entry. Some slight spoilers ahead.

The main character of the book, Alex, realizes partway through that he is not, in fact, straight. That realization hits very, very close to home for me, because it's uncanny how similarly it tracks with my experience.

Like Alex, I grew up in a liberal, accepting household. His initial hesitance to come out to his family never seems to be based on fear, which is about where I was, too. I know that sometimes people let you down, but my parents didn't, and neither did his.

Like Alex, I had (and have) queer friends - even friend groups that initially seemed mostly-straight have turned out to be much more queer than we realized at the time.

Like Alex, there are things about my adolescence onward that are, in hindsight, pretty fucking queer. Looking back, I want to shake myself and say, "good fucking god, what do you think that means?"

Like Alex, several of the people closest to me literally said "oh, I know," when I finally came out to them - including a friend who I dated in college.

Like Alex, there was definitely part of me that kind of did know, was pointedly avoiding the subject, and justified it by saying that it didn't really matter because I had a boyfriend or wasn't looking to date anyone, anyway.

I mean, most of my relationships have not been particularly safe environments to talk about this stuff - I've had several boyfriends who fetishized bisexuality and/or had other really problematic reactions when I alluded to being attracted to women. Overall, though, there's really no good reason for me to have not figured it out when I was a teenager. I just… didn't.

And I feel like that's not an experience I've really seen represented in fiction. There's always a reason - fear of rejection, feeling alone in their experience, always having relationships feel wrong in some way and then realizing it's because they're gay, having no inkling at all until meeting that one special person… and while those are all really important stories to tell, they're not mine, and reading about an experience that I can actually identify with is something I really needed.

It also helps that I identify a lot with Alex himself. He's a ball of ridiculous energy who literally does not stop being sarcastic. He antagonizes people he likes and enjoys it when they antagonize him back. He's "hopeless at moderating his feelings, which he usually hides under ten layers of charm." He's impetuous. He is one of the most delightfully extra characters I have ever read about.

And that is also nice, because it makes me feel like maybe it's okay that I'm me, and I shouldn't spend a lot of time hating myself or trying to change things that I know just aren't really changeable.

Anyway. All of that is to say, reading about somebody who reminds me of me and who has a similar experience to mine is something I really needed, and I love this book for it.

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MuggleMaybe

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First of all, ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ 

second of all, SAME re: a different story about finding yours sexuality

third of all, I thought Alex seemed a little ADHDish at times, with hyper focus and stuff. Which was cool. Did you notice that, or am I just seeing ADHD everywhere right now?

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On 1/18/2020 at 12:18 PM, MuggleMaybe said:

First of all, ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ 

second of all, SAME re: a different story about finding yours sexuality

third of all, I thought Alex seemed a little ADHDish at times, with hyper focus and stuff. Which was cool. Did you notice that, or am I just seeing ADHD everywhere right now?

Nooo I actually 10/10 agree! I think that for me, that's part of what made him so relatable to me!!

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