Lecesne, James. “Trevor: A Novella”, Seven Stories Press, 2012.
We have all heard of the Trevor project and know what it is about but I am pretty sure that we do not know much about the boy for whom it is named. James Lecesne, co-founder of the project now introduces us to Trevor, a thirteen year old witty boy who feels fear and alone. His “friends” keep away, his parents do not understand him and at school people make fun of him. Sometimes Trevor feels so badly that he wants to just die and stop feeling different.
Some of you may remember the Academy Award film “Trevor” by Peggy Rajski which inspired the Trevor Project, the national organization that is available for suicide prevention and crisis intervention for the LGBT community and we are all certainly aware of how suicides have recently increased. Statistics show that 33% of suicides among the young involve the youth of the LGBT community and a third of those LGBT kids have attempted suicide while nine out of ten students have spoken about being harassed at school. The Trevor Project and books like this are an attempt to reach these kids and make them feel wanted and loved.
In this new novella, Lecesne brings us an update on Trevor, a character he developed for a one man show and later the film short. Some might say that Trevor is a bit precocious when he decides to stage a re-enactment of “La Mort de Marat “in his own bathtub and who also decides to dress as Lady Gaga for Halloween. He is not ready to come out as gay and he doesn’t want anyone to do it for him but he certainly has become a target for abuse.
We see Trevor as a boy who is funny and self-assured but what we do not see is what he feels on the inside. We sense his exuberance in the way he tells us his story but we also sense that he is crying out to his parents to pay attention to him and he does this with his bathtub scene. Even his best friend, Zac, tells him to try a costume that is less gay then Lady Gaga and he walks away from Trevor and he is not the only one to do so. Trevor realizes that he is alone and thinks suicide would be the best way out.
As the title states, this is a novella which contains just over 100 pages and because of that things happen quickly and before we realize it, the book is over yet we are well aware of what went on in Trevor’s life. Lecesne also gives us some wonderful pencil drawings to illustrate his story. Books like this are so important in helping youth feel accepted and love as well as showing them the dangers that result when someone does not feel loved. Times have changed greatly and the youth of today not only have an easier coming-out process and help is there for them if they need it. This book may not break new ground but nonetheless it is important and joins the library of other books that deal with the same issue. In “Trevor” we see what happens when a spirit is quenched by opposition and bullying and there most certainly a lesson in that.
I love that the book mixes love and loss along with Lady Gaga and allows us to laugh at the same time we are made even more aware of the problems facing LGBT youth. It is a most welcome addition to the growing young adult and youth LGBT canon.
- Posted in: GLBT fiction