Thursday, June 11, 2015

Review: This History of Us by Nyrae Dawn

Sometimes it's not about coming out, it's about settling in. 

Eighteen-year-old Bradley Collins came out a year ago and hasn't looked back since. Who cares if he doesn’t know any other gay people? Bradley has friends and basketball—that’s all he needs. Even if that means always sitting on the sidelines when the guys go out looking for girls. 

When cute film-boy TJ tries to flirt with Bradley while his friends are doing their thing, he freaks. Yeah, he’s gay, but he’s never had the opportunity to go out with a boy before. He’s never had to worry about how his friends will react to seeing him with a guy. 

Bradley accompanies TJ on a road trip to film TJ’s senior project documentary. In each city they visit, they meet with people from different walks of life, and Bradley learns there’s a whole lot more to being honest about himself than just coming out. He still has to figure out who he really is and learn to be okay with what he discovers.

Barnes and Noble

4.5 Stars by Jen Skewes

I could not wait for this book.  I remember seeing Nyrae Dawn post about what she was working on at the time and couldn't wait to get my hands on it.   The History of Us is a story of two boys finding love but it is so much more than that.  This is a story that everyone should read.  It is a story that will touch you in so many ways.  Because while this is TJ and Bradley’s story it is also tells the story of others who have faced their own struggles because of their sexuality. 

Bradley is gay and he knows it, his friends know it and his mother knows it.  They don't seem to have an issue with him being gay, and they never judged him for it.  They accepted him for who he is.  But since coming out Bradley seems to be the one with the issue. He is still so afraid of what other people will think that he has held back from truly being himself.  The only people that he knows and hangs out with are his friends who are straight, who when out, are flirting and trying to pick up girls.  But Bradley seems to be ok with it because these are people that he has been friends with since he was a kid.  Until he meets TJ. 

TJ is the guy who is gay and is proud of it.  He has no issues being who he really is.  He isn’t afraid of being out in the open for people to see.  He accepts who he is and those around him need to accept it as well. 

Tj is getting ready to go an a two week road trip for a documentary that he is making.  He plans on traveling to different states to meet with men and women who are gay and have their own stories to tell.  With encouragement from his mother Bradley decides to accompany TJ on this road trip.  And this trip is exactly what Bradley needs.  He has never really had a friend who is gay before.  His mother has encouraged him to meet other people but his fears would get in the way.  Together TJ and Bradley set out on this journey together.  And in a way I think this journey is one of self discovery.  It is a journey that will help open their eyes to the world around them.  And most importantly Bradley learns how to be himself. 

I loved this book for so many reasons.  For one I loved TJ and Bradley.  I felt for them and the struggles that they both faced.  It took a lot for Bradley to come out to his family and friends but it takes so much more for him to see that it is ok to be who he is.  TJ I just loved.  He taught Bradley so much.  But I think along the way he learned so much for himself as well.

This book was so unique and so different from anything that I have read before.  Yes this is TJ and Bradley's journey and we see how their feelings of friendship start to become more.  But it is more than that. Along the way we get to meet the people that they are fliming for their documentary.  You get to hear these stories from people that will touch you in so many ways.  Each one has their own story to tell.  And you have no idea what you will get until TJ and Bradley get to their destination and set that camera up.  And from that moment you are completely sucked into their life and want to know more about these people.  You want to know it all and feel it all with them.  And I did, I felt it with each person that they met along the way.  Each story was different and my emotions changed with each story.   Some broke my heart while others made me smile.  Coming out is not easy and as the blurb says sometimes it is more about settling in.  We see through the eyes of these people that TJ and Bradley met along the way, how difficult coming out and settling in can be for them.  It isn't always an easy road but we see how these people try overcome it and work through it.  

I just want to say while Tj and Bradley do find love this is more of a journey of self discovery.  It is about finding yourself and learning to accept the person that you are.  I loved watching the two of them grow and learn so much from their journey.  Seeing Bradley come to accept who he was and learn from his journey just melted my heart.  I loved watching them as they discover their feelings, discover what it is that they truly want and then go for it.   Nyrae Dawn did an amazing job with this story.  A must read.

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