Freak Show

November 26, 2011

Realistic/Teen Fiction
By James Saint James
Reviewed by Cayli
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars

To say that Billy Bloom is a drag queen is a understatement of the highest degree. He would much rather refer to himself as the more professional term: gender obscurest.

“Billy Bloom…what are we to do with him? He expects kids at school to find him approachable, when he prances around in stilettos. He’s unwanted. A complete outcast. When people think of my son, I want them to think of the nice boy who got the winning touchdown. The LAST thing I want them to see him as, is the neighborhood’s freak show.”

You think being dressed in constant drag is hard? Try moving to a high school where everyone is living, breathing Barbie and Ken dolls. People at this school have never seen anything like Billy. So one could imagine the degree of torment Billy faces every single day of his life at Dwight D. Eisenhower Academy, the night at the living Barbie dream house. Until, Billy encountered the inevitable, a friend. Not just any friend, the seemingly flawless school’s (other than the constant, heckling, meat-headed bullies) most likely candidate for most perfect; Flip Kelly. One would think the torture ceased for Billy. ‘Ceased’ is such a strong word. It’s much easier to say that the constant humiliation for Billy took a turn for the better. Billy now lies in the ‘sub basement’ category on Dwight D. Eisenhower’s reputation ladder. Which is a step up from where he was before.

If you’ve ever been an underdog, one of the downtrodden, or unseen (except to be made fun of) masses, you’ll see yourself in Billy. Which is why I found this book so interesting to read. Because everyone has been poked fun at. Maybe not to the degree of Billy, but everyone’s had their taste. This book was very relatable, because other authors who write realistic fiction, sugarcoat everything. Some make it sound so much better than it actually is. This book is different because everything is from the point of view of Billy, so you know exactly what’s happening, when it happens. The book takes place in modern day Florida.

James Saint James writes with humor, and more than a little outrage in his words. Probably because Billy’s story doesn’t just tell Billy’s story. St. James is telling thousands of stories, that are happening in real life, all around us, every day, in one book.

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