Title: Coming Out Catholic
Author Name & Publisher: Alex Dunkin (Torquere Press/Prizm Books)
Publication Date: May 27, 2015
Like all good Catholic boys I care what Jesus thinks. Jesus the man, and the faith. Following him make me happy. There’s just one issue… I think I’m gay. Well, it’s hard to be sure going to an all-boys school. It could be simply liking what I know and really, oh so very, liking what I see all day, guys. Being gay and Catholic can’t possible work together. Can it?
Coming Out Catholic follows a year in the life of a private Catholic school student as he comes to terms with his sexuality. Armed with sarcasm and his best friend Mark, he prepares to take on the school thug and the awkward social encounters plaguing his late teenage years.
Confronting himself and his family are just the beginning of his trials. He learns he must find solace with his sexual desires without surrendering any of his faith. He loves both too much but when the time comes he will have to know which one he has to give up or prepare to succumb to a life of denial.
The main character (who is never given a name, lending itself well to the “every boy” feel) is the right combination of largely likable, sometimes irritating, and now and again downright exasperating. He’s so easy to root for as he works through his challenges.
I loved the cast of supporting characters. It was fantastic how in a story set at an all-boys school and featuring a gay main character, even the girls/women were well-rounded. None fell into the too-common tropes. And I absolutely loved Mark, who is the ideal best friend. I really want to read more about him, as I think his own coming to terms with himself and his sexuality would make a much-needed read.
If nothing else, this was worth it for the huge surprise at the end, which I won’t spoil. I was utterly delighted! The payoff, and the lessons learned, were worth the wait.
Everything about this was wonderful. From nail-biting moments at each new coming out to cringing over various dating misadventures to holding my sides while I laughed myself silly, this was quite a ride. Every teen—regardless of orientation—should read this book. Simply marvelous.
Alex is a PhD candidate in language and linguistics at the University of South Australia focusing on Italian literature and initiating the movement of cannibale literature into a new cultural space. He has previously worked as a journalist for LGBT publications including blaze magazine and Gay News Network and writes in a volunteer capacity as an arts critic for glamadelaide.com.au. His creative publication history includes the short stories Inside Out and A Threepence Remaining published with Gay E-Books and poems selected for publication in the Piping Shrike anthology series. He has been awarded the Youth Prize in the Mardi Gras Literature Competition and received High Commendations in numerous other competitions.