Linmark, R. Zamora. “The Importance of Being Wilde at Heart”, Delacorte, 2019.
First Love, First Heartbreak
When Ken Z meets Ran at the mall, his life changes and that is because he also met his first love. Ran introduces him to his first kiss but Ran is mysterious and he suddenly disappears. This makes Ken wonder why he should ever love if this is what happens.
With the help of his best friends, his haikus and lists, and strange, surreal appearances by his hero, Oscar Wilde, Ken discovers that love is worth so much more than the price of heartbreak.
What a great imagination R. Zamora Linmark has. He has written a sweet story that is a celebration of diversity centered around a gay romance. We all remember our first lover and how that love affected us. When we first meet Ken Z, he is slowly figuring out who he is (with the help of his mentor: Oscar Wilde).
One day he decides to go to the other side of the territory he lives in which is much nicer but stricter. He pretends to be an archeologist on a tight budget and gets to see how the other half lives. While he’s there, he meets Ran, who sits down with him at a restaurant and talks to him about Oscar Wilde. They become fast friends even with the distance between them.
They begin to visit each other and their bonds deepen, and Ken Z chats with his hero for guidance. Oscar Wilde takes him to the realization that they are more alike than they think. Ken Z and Ran fall in love fast and hard, until one day Ran went away. There was no warning and Ken Z was left grieving and began to push away from everyone in his life, including Oscar.
Unfortunately we never get to know the characters well enough. Aside from their common love for Oscar Wilde, we really know nothing about them.