Flamer - Book Review

Experience More - Subscribe to Our Weekly Events Newsletter

Posted 2023-08-22 by Marisa Quinn-Haisufollow
Photo from Pan Macmillan Australia

Flamer is a Young Adult coming-of-age graphic novel from award-winning author and illustrator Mike Curato. It is 368 pages long and was published by Henry Holt & Company on 26 October 2020. Flamer is set in 1995 and tells the story of Aiden, a teenage boy away at summer camp, who is bullied for his appearance and for acting like a stereotypical gay man. The book follows Aiden as he navigates friendships and struggles with feelings of self-loathing after he realises that he has developed romantic feelings for a boy named Elias. Mike Curato began working on Flamer in 2011 and drew on his real-life experiences for inspiration.

Flamer deals with several major themes such as toxic masculinity, homophobia, fatphobia, and racism. Aiden is bullied for having an effeminate voice and for being biracial, overweight, and queer. He tries to fit in with the other boys at camp but finds it difficult. They are all going through puberty, use homophobic slurs, and act rambunctious around each other. The more Aiden tries to fit in, the more he stands out for being different, which frustrates him and makes him a target for bullying. As Aiden tries to navigate life at summer camp, he develops romantic feelings for another camper, a boy named Elias. This sends him into a panic. Aiden was raised Catholic and was always taught that homosexuality was morally wrong and a sin. He doesn't understand why he is crushing on Elias and dreaming about him. He doesn't like the word gay. It makes him feel unsafe. Aiden tries to suppress his feelings towards Elias, which causes him to develop feelings of self-loathing. In a panic, he writes a desperate letter to his pen pal, a girl named Violet, and asks her if there is anything wrong with him.

Flamer has been the target of widespread criticism for its LGBTQ+ content and has become embroiled in a wave of book banning that has been gaining momentum in the United States. Flamer has been flagged in multiple states to be removed from libraries and schools due to it being considered "pornographic content" and being deemed "material that does not have serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value." I decided to read Flamer after hearing about how controversial it was. I don't think that Flamer is a pornographic book. I didn't find it to be offensive at all. There is some mild nudity, some masturbation, he has some erotic dreams, and he kisses his crush on the cheek. I can't believe that so many people think that this book does not have any serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value. This is a book that is worth reading and belongs in libraries. For some teenagers going through a difficult time, this book will change their lives. Just look at this review that I found for this book from a 15-year-old kid:

This book was the closest I'd ever come to crying. I'm a 15-year-old gay teen who's currently going through a very rough time and this book is really helping me not feel so alone. I usually hate reading but the format and wording make it easy to read. I 100% recommend this book to any teen struggling with coming out or finding their way through life. 10/10!!

I really enjoyed Flamer and highly recommend it. I don't think Flamer should be banned and removed from schools and libraries. It is really important that LGBTQ+ kids see themselves reflected in the literature that they read. I didn't think there was anything inappropriate in this book. I thought it was a sweet coming-of-age story with an important message in it about learning to love yourself.

Summary: Flamer is an award-winning graphic novel from author and illustrator Mike Curato about a teenage boy named Aiden who struggles with feelings of self-loathing while away at summer camp.
Flamer - Pan Macmillan AU
Mike Curato - Children's Book Author and Illustrator
Cost $44.99
More Book Reviews by Marisa
Flic - Book Review
Clementine Book One - Review
Hungry Ghost

82771 - 2023-06-11 06:34:21


Copyright 2022 OatLabs ABN 18113479226