Author: Shyam Selvadurai
Release Date: July 14, 2015
Edition: Paperback (320 pages)
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
An evocative coming-of-age novel about growing up gay in Sri Lanka during the Tamil-Sinhalese conflict-one of the country’s most turbulent and deadly periods.
Arjie is “funny.”
The second son of a privileged family in Sri Lanka, he prefers staging make-believe wedding pageants with his female cousins to battling balls with the other boys. When his parents discover his innocent pastime, Arjie is forced to abandon his idyllic childhood games and adopt the rigid rules of an adult world. Bewildered by his incipient sexual awakening, mortified by the bloody Tamil-Sinhalese conflicts that threaten to tear apart his homeland, Arjie painfully grows toward manhood and an understanding of his own “different” identity.
Refreshing, raw, and poignant, Funny Boy is an exquisitely written, compassionate tale of a boy’s coming-of-age that quietly confounds expectations of love, family, and country as it delivers the powerful message of staying true to one’s self no matter the obstacles.
This is another one that I had to read for my Southeast Asia class, though I thoroughly enjoyed this one!
- The writing style is quite simple, making it easy to follow. Oftentimes, I feel like literature assigned in college can be quite difficult to follow because of all the unnecessary jargon used, but I didn’t find myself being lost at all while reading this book.
- It has a very progressive storyline, as it follows Arjie, a Sri Lankan child during a very difficult conflict. He falls in love and realizes that he is different after being called “funny” for years. It touches on societal expectations and trying to break those boundaries. I sincerely loved Arjie as a character.
- The love story. It was quite a strong one.