I’ve heard about this book by Becky Albertelli for a long, long time and I always meant to pick it up. I finally did buy it in February (mainly because the film was approaching and I needed to get a read on before I saw it!). My girlfriend managed to get us free tickets to an early screening of the adaptation, Love, Simon, at the Vue cinema in Manchester so I was able to see it on the 19th February! I sped read the book the weekend before and had only a few pages left before I sat down ready for the movie. I just want to have a little chat about the book and the film and what I thought about them!
A brief synopsis for those who haven’t read it/know about it, Simon Spier is gay and isn’t out to anyone he knows. He is emailing Blue, another gay guy at his school but Blue and Simon don’t know who each other are. Someone finds these emails and begins to blackmail Simon and the story follows this complicated situation as well as his road to coming out and his relationships with friends and family too.
The first quarter of the book I wasn’t fully into, however, I was enjoying it. I think I had to get used to Simon’s voice as he has a very strong one which is wonderful but for me I had to get into it and get a feel for his character. I adore the way the book starts. You’re thrown straight into the situation along with Simon. No time to guess or pick up clues, just straight in! Which was really refreshing. Once I got used to Simon’s voice, I found myself constantly wanting to read it and find out what happens next.
Simon is a very loveable character. Sometimes he dives into decisions headfirst and once he thinks he knows an answer, nothing can budge him (he knows this and even his family call it “Simon logic”) and I found myself internally shouting at him like “Simon please don’t do that!”. The way he deals with coming out and the idea of coming out is really brilliantly written in my opinion. He has intelligent thoughts about sexuality and he is a very open minded and accepting person himself. He sometimes makes mistakes but he makes sure to learn from them and listen to how others perceive things.
His friends are also amazingly written. I do get a little annoyed with them at one point towards the end but overall I think they too learn from mistakes and they are very complex individuals. I personally adore Abby but Nick and Leah are also wonderful. Simon has such different and real relationships with each of them. I love the fact that this book didn’t solely focus on coming out and the romance aspects. I love that drama with friends was also put into it and the very true arguments or slight issues friends have particularly at school/college age.
I won’t write spoilers here as to who Blue is because the mystery is such a fun part of the book. There are clues and red herrings left, right and centre and it’s so fun trying to figure out who Blue could be as well as seeing Simon guess at a few different people. The romance aspect is so uplifting and adorable. The email exchanges are brilliant, full of every single emotion you could think of. The way Simon and Blue write about different things show a lot about their personalities and how they want to come across to each other.
The film adaptation is also so fun loving and important. It’s a typical rom-com, teen movie but the main character is gay and the main romantic relationship is a gay male relationship. The representation is pretty fantastic. There are some issues with it, just as there are the book but nothing is ever perfect. When I first came out of the screening, I wasn’t as enthusiastic as I am about it now. A lot is different from the book but I always try to see adaptations as a separate entity anyway. At the end of the day, an adaptation is one interpretation of the original text, and everybody’s would be different. Some things that were added were excellent additions, some things that were changed were better for an on screen portrayal.
I think that Simon’s friends could have been a bit less one dimensional in the film as they lacked a lot of what made them them. I’m also very gutted at them cutting one of my favourite characters in Simon’s family. However, I’m so, so happy this is a film which is aimed at young people and will hopefully be super popular, because it is such a cute and important film. It was refreshing to see a stereotypical teen love story between two boys rather than another heterosexual one.
Both the book and the movie are endearing, funny and adorable. I highly recommend both of them! Also, the film soundtrack is amazing!
Thank you for the free copy of the book which we both received at the TEENSgate bloggers event which was Love, Simon themed for this month’s event! It was my first time at one and it was a lovely couple of hours organised by the lovely Kimi and Fiona!