IT’S ALMOST CHRISTMAS!! How exciting! Christmas is always my favourite time of year, without fail. I just love everything about it. For the past couple of years, since I’ve had my blog, I’ve read festive books on the lead up to Christmas and it’s made me get even more excited! This year, my friends Sarah and Sophie at The Little Contemporary Corner have been hosting a read-along of the festive anthology, I’ll Be Home for Christmas.
The anthology features short stories by a whole range of YA authors (see all the names in the image above). As part of TLCC’s read-along, they’re also hosting a mini blog tour where a few of us will review a short story each. Since falling in love with Juno Dawson at YALC this year, I’ve wanted to read all of her books, so naturally I chose her story to write about.
Homo for Christmas by Juno Dawson
I was having a look at Goodreads before I started reading this book, and one thing I noticed was a lot of people saying they weren’t a fan of Juno’s story. This worried me – I don’t want to read something by Juno and not like it! I went in with an open mind, expecting something that I might not like.
I was pleasantly surprised! Homo for Christmas follows a young lad called Duncan from Newcastle, on the train back home from university for Christmas. We find out that since being in uni, he’s found a boyfriend that he absolutely adores – but he’s terrified to tell his mum. He has a great relationship with him mum and he doesn’t want it to ruin anything between them.
Duncan’s mum has some opinions that he doesn’t agree with, but ones we hear too often from a lot of people – that Tom Daley coming out was a waste, that we shouldn’t have to see gay people kissing while they have their dinner, etc, etc. You get the drift.
How I Relate to Duncan
To be honest, I’m not quite sure what people dislike about this story. I really liked it! Maybe it’s because I can relate to the character a lot while other people can’t. I found the whole story was relevant to my own life in a lot of ways. While I didn’t have any problem at all “coming out” to my mum, the parts with the LGBT Society in the character’s university seemed so real-life and truthful. You can tell that Juno has been through this herself.
One thing that I especially related to was Duncan’s description of being LGBT in university. He explains that while you’re in high school, you’re so judged by your peers. These people have known you since you were 11 years old, so the person you are in Year 7, you’re kind of glued to that image until you leave school.
Going to university gives you the opportunity to be who you are; almost to re-invent your image. If you tell everyone you’re gay in school, you don’t know how everyone will react seeing as they’ve known you for 5 or even 7 years. But if you want to tell every single person you’re gay in uni, it’s great – they don’t have any preconceptions of you, so you can completely be yourself!
Building Up to the Finale
With short stories, I really like that usually, there’s only one small point that the story leads up to. More often than not, it’s not anything major – but that’s what I like. I’ve mentioned in short story anthology reviews before that I love short stories to be a quick snapshot into a day or two of somebody’s life. That’s what Homo for Christmas was like, too – the whole point of the story was the lead up to Duncan telling his mum that he’s gay.
The story gives us little bits of backstory about a girlfriend he had in school, the first guy he had some kind of romantic experience with, and eventually, meeting his boyfriend in uni. As for a lot of people, it’s not an easy ride – he has to learn so much about himself along the way.
I got more and more nervous for Duncan as he got closer to home and he began to panic about telling his mum. Want to know how she reacted when he told her? You’ll just have to read it and find out. 😉
Overall, it was a fun story and I loved reading this little section of Duncan’s life. I can’t wait to read the rest of the stories and pick out my favourites! I’ll be reviewing the whole book at the end of the read-along. You can find the read-along dates as well as the other blog tour dates on the poster below.