Title: Guy in Real Life
Author: Steve Brezenoff
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Contemporary
I seriously did not expect to like or enjoy this book at all, but then I did and it was surprisingly a nice read. Yes, the ending was not to my liking, but looking back and considering some turn of the events in the book, I guess it was for the best that the book ends that way.
Okay, I have to say that this was a fun read for me. At first I was a bit reluctant and pessimistic about this book, I felt like I have my fair share of disappointing YA (especially after Side Effect May Vary). I seriously feel like I have had enough with the standard YA formula, one liking the other and got obsessed beyond logic about it. Ugh! But, not with this book. True, at some point Lesh (our dear metalhead) got a bit out of hand with his obsession (and I use this term lightly) with Svetlana, but it was way too mild compared to what Harvey (from Side Effects May Vary) did to his object of obsession. Well, anyway, basically the premise is about two people of different social standing (albeit that in this book, both of them are a social outcast of some sort) that falls in love and yadda yadda. What’s interesting and original is the concept of both Lesh and Svetlana’s trait as the main character of the book, and the night that they met. I’m not going to go into detail but if you took the time to see the summary of this book, then you’ll get the idea.
What interests me the most is the fact that I know no metalhead or anyone close to Svetlana in real life, so to see a character such as Lesh and Svetlana in this book was something that I enjoy the most. What I can’t understand is Svetlana’s view of some things. She’s a bit judgemental about her parents’ obsession for football (and although I have to admit that the fact her parents sort of force soccer on her is not something I would want to experience myself), but what about her hobbies anyway? It’s not that role playing (or whatever it is that she’s doing) is a despicable hobby (because it’s not), but why so judgemental Svetlana? To each their own, Svetlana. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate Svetlana though, I just can’t understand to what do she owe the privilege of being judgemental about one’s interest? Lesh, on the other hand, was surprisingly my favourite character just halfway through the book. There was something endearing about Lesh’s character (it somehow reminds me of Park from Eleanor and Park).
Something that I liked the most was the revelation of Lesh’ secret to Svetlana. I did not see it happening like that. It was so epic! And what I liked the most was how calm Svetlana dealt with it, even though she needed some time away from Lesh (which is totally understandable). I would have been totally bummed out about this story had the revelation of Lesh’s secret to Svetlana happened like how Greg (Lesh’s bestfriend) found out about the secret; that would have been way too predictable and ruined the whole experience for me, especially since I liked the story the more I read into it.
Now, one thing that blew me off was how in God’s name that what Lesh’s did in the MMO game turns into a big question of whether or not Lesh wanted to be a girl (or Svetlana for that matter)? I mean, I can totally get why Lesh did what he did in the MMO in the event that he was captivated by Svetlana, I would have probably done the same had I was more into MMO or anything. Put it this way, just because I’m a girl I don’t always have to be a girl when I played Sims, right? Or any other game where I am required to choose and create a character of my own; also, just because I chose to play as a dude does not mean I question myself as a girl and therefore I might want to be a dude, although when I was younger I see that being a boy would bring me more advantages than being a girl. So, that aside, I don’t get why that became a major issue that Lesh and Svetlana seems to dwell on, nearing the end of the book. Maybe I’m ignorant but I really don’t see it as a problem. Seriously, I don’t, and it’s not like I’m saying this because of my Lesh bias.
Did I enjoy it?
Yes, of course I did, and the fact that I didn’t even expect to enjoy the story adds the specialty to it even more. The characters were definitely interesting, even Fry and Jelly who seems to be a fleeting of a moment that has no significance whatsoever to the story except to give grievances to Svetlana. One thing that bugs me the most was Svetlana’s after school activity club? Really? Does hanging around with a bunch of kids and played a role playing kind of game can be counted as an after school club? I know that it takes a lot of creativity (and I mean, A LOT) and commitment to create what Svetlana had managed to create, but I just don’t think that should be a legit after school club. I just can’t buy it.
As I mentioned before, the ending was not to my liking; it had left a huge question mark as to how the story actually ends. But, the more that I think about it, the more I decided that the ending was the perfect ending for the book. Besides not all ending of a book needs to have a proper ending, maybe it just had to end and I liked that the ending involves something that would remind me of Lesh the most.