Monday, July 18, 2011

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: Blame It on the Raging Hormones by Nathan Goh

Release Date: February 10th, 2010
Publisher: Tincture (Lethe)
Page Count: 190
Source:Complimentary copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!)

This coming-of-age memoir of an ordinary gay boy from Singapore, in the form of an online journal, is brutally honest, endearing, poignant and raw.

Nicky, an insecure youth in Singapore, goes on a journey of love and self-discovery and soon crashes into an underworld of sex, drugs, hustling and betrayal. After a series of failed romance, he heads for a breakdown, especially when his three friends, Dexter, Daniel and Dave, the Triple Ds, who support and guide him, have problems of their own and cannot help him.

Can Nicky survive the cruel gay world of superficialities? Will he ever find true love?
What Stephanie Thinks: Nicky's deepest of revelations and rawest of desires are revealed in his popular online blog. His voice is childishly honest and in the beginning, painfully innocent. As the story, and his life, progresses, he begins to learn just how vicious society—but more importantly, love—can be, and we read along his journey of maturing and discovering the real world.

Reading a personal blog like Nicky's makes me feel really attached to him as the main character. I feel Nicky's frustrations about relationships and school, and think Goh did an excellent job portraying the daily life of a Singaporean gay male (not that I would know the life of a Singaporean gay male). Nicky's quest to find true love and self-realization are heartbreaking and uplifting, alluding that true love comes at the price of heartbreak.

The annoying thing about this book is how Goh writes it in the dialogue of a Singaporean boy, and therefore includes improper grammar and spelling to make it seem realistic. While this is thoughtful, it's a little irritating. It doesn't at all impede the flow of the book; in fact, it's a very easy read. However, just knowing that Goh wrote mistakenly on purpose (oxymoron!) bothers me. Would it have been too much for Nicky to be a Singaporean who excels at English? If a fluent English-speaker in Singapore is rare, couldn't the novel have been written in Chinese, then been translated?

Blame it on the Raging Hormones is Goh's authorial debut, and I really have high hopes for him as an author. His take on fiction doesn't hold against anything; it not only includes the horny gay men constantly having sex (yay), but also the unkempt truth about gays socially and mentally, which is something normally completely overlooked in contemporary gay fiction.

Stephanie Loves: "You know... I wonder what life is really about though. Chasing of our dreams and ambitions? A journey in search of 'true love'? To find true 'happiness'? I still wish to have what Daniel and Dave share with one another but I wonder if I will ever get there.

Radical Rating: 8 hearts: An engaging read; highly recommended. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥