Sunday, March 29, 2020

Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles Review


Title: Not So Pure and Simple
Author: Lamar Giles
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Series: Standalone
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

                I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

                So, since the coronavirus has come to pandemic status, I’ve been on lockdown for about a week and a half now; none of my family has left the house, aside from work. I’ve been trying to keep busy, writing, working, reading, and other leisure activities. I decided to tackle my library books, and I’m also rereading my Harry Potter illustrated editions, because I need something to maintain my sanity and mental health. Practice social distancing, kids, stay inside as much as you can, but don’t forget to get fresh air! When I finished Salvaged, I moved on to Not So Pure and Simple. Lamar Giles is one of my favorite authors, so I’ve been looking forward to it since before it came out. And this book might be my favorite of all of his books! I loved the way the book was from a male point of view, and how Giles examined masculinity. This book should be required reading for everyone, regardless of age. I loved it. It was funny, honest, thoughtful, and topical. This book is one of my favorites of 2020; I loved it so much. Easily my favorite of all of Giles’ work!

                Delbert ‘Del’ Rainey has had it bad for his gorgeous classmate, Keira Westing, since they were in kindergarten. So, when the boyfriend spot opens up, Del quickly starts angling for the role, even signing himself up for a Purity Pledge with Keira’s church. His best friend, Qwan, is skeptical, but Del is in it for the long game. He wants to be Keira’s boyfriend, even if it means acting like something he really isn’t for a while. And to sweeten the deal, Del asks Keira’s friend Jameer for a good word. But the other guys in school are circling her like hungry sharks, and in all of Del’s scheming, he doesn’t stop to consider if he’s doing the best thing, for the girl he loves and himself. What does it really mean, to be a man?

                I loved, loved, loved this book. I cannot properly express just how much I enjoyed it.  Del’s voice was so honest, thoughtful, and funny; I was immediately entranced by his voice. The pacing was breakneck; I finished this book in a few short hours. I also adored the way that Del, his friends and family talked honestly about sex, masculinity, love, faith and other things that come with growing up. I was laughing, crying, and cheering throughout the book. There were a few times I had to put it down and walk away, because my brain was churning, or I was so angry that I was holding back screams. But this book; it needs to be talked about, especially in the current political climate. It asks essential questions that need to be spoken about. This would be a great book for book clubs; it was contemporary, but it was fresh, funny, honest and thoughtful. One of my favorites of 2020! The bottom line: Tackling toxic masculinity, the patriarchy, and other essential things, I loved Not So Pure and Simple! Next on deck: Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore!

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