Two Boys Kissing Audiobook
By: David Levithan
Narrated by: David Levithan
Published by Listening Library 8/27/2013
6 hrs and 15 mins
Two Boys kissing Audiobook Sample
Two Boys Kissing Audiobook
#5 on the American Library Association banned and challenged list for 2016
In 2014 according to the School Library Journal, the book was challenged by a parent of a Virginia high school student reading the sample on Amazon and seeing the explicit sexual content- parent clarified that the objection was not to the gay content, but that it was sexual.
It also made the banned book list in 2016 for its cover (two boys kissing) condoning public display of affection.
In both instances, book was kept on shelves though was considered controversial for the above reasons.
In August 2019, NBC News reported a religious activist, Dorr, checked this book and two others out of his library in Iowa and burned the books. He was convicted of criminal mischief and… fined (and not the library’s late fine).
I’ve always wanted to read David Leviathan books since his writing was brought to my attention in several enthusiastic reviews for Every Day. I finally snagged the chance to listen to Two Boys Kissing for our Banned Book Week Blog Event and I’m glad I did even if it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting and it struck me hard in the emotions.
Unlike my usual habit, I didn’t pay close attention to the details on the book or the reviews from fellow readers and went into it blindly.
Boy, did I get a surprise.
The author chose to tell the story in a Greek Chorus-style of previous generations of gay men who died from AIDS observing and commenting on the new generation of gay youth. It had a strong tone of introspection as a result and hit me so hard as a result.
It also doesn’t focus on one storyline, but several gay young people showcasing different aspects of being gay- figuring out their sexuality and starting to date at a gay prom like Ryan and Avery, Cooper’s explorations online, closeted gay, figuring out when to ‘come out’, and even Harry and Craig trying to break the Guinness World Record for kissing in honor of their fallen friend. Harry and Craig end up getting a second chance together and learn from their past. The book brings the reader right into the midst of that group of observers so that both that group and the people being observed are right there. So much is touched upon that there is food for thought long after the last page is reached.
In truth, the book required full concentration when on audio as it went from situation to situation rapidly for me. It completes a thought with one story and hops to the next and the next and the next all the while the various observers are offering commentary. For all the hopping, it is not scattered or in cohesive. It feels like the story of a generation with a foundation on a previous generation with a siren call to future generations to pursue their own course and insight for those like family, friends, co-workers, etc looking in from the outside. Because of this, the book ends open ended for many of the story streams, but takes the reader through a gamut of emotions before that- curiosity, fear, hope, eagerness, tragedy, anger, shame, joy, and so much more.
The format of Greek Chorus and hopping about wouldn’t have been my choice, but it really worked for this subject matter. Through it all, I was struck by the author’s powerful writing and voice (and I don’t just mean because he did his own narration work). I was moved not just in emotion, but in thought. If I were a questioning teenager or a gay adult, this book would probably resonate even more and I can recommend it. But, I want to add that this book is for everyone, not just individuals from the LGBTQA community, so we can all move forward together with understanding.
Two Boys Kissing Audiobook Narration
As to the narration work, I don’t generally enjoy author’s narrating their own books, but I was pleasantly surprised by David Leviathan’s skill. If I didn’t know better, I’d never guess that he was not an audiobook narrator. His pace, tone, and voicing were spot on for the book. He stayed quiet and intense, letting the words speak for themselves.
I find it downright baffling to write about myself, which is why I’m considering it somewhat cruel and usual to have to write this brief bio and to update it now and then. The factual approach (born ’72, Brown ’94, first book ’03) seems a bit dry, while the emotional landscape (happy childhood, happy adolescence – give or take a few poems – and happy adulthood so far) sounds horribly well-adjusted. The only addiction I’ve ever had was a brief spiral into the arms of diet Dr Pepper, unless you count My So-Called Life episodes as a drug. I am evangelical in my musical beliefs.
Luckily, I am much happier talking about my books than I am talking about myself. My first novel, Boy Meets Boy, started as a story I wrote for my friends for Valentine’s Day (something I’ve done for the past twenty-two years and counting) and turned itself into a teen novel. When not writing during spare hours on weekends, I am editorial director at Scholastic, and the founding editor of the PUSH imprint, which is devoted to finding new voices and new authors in teen literature. (Check it out at www.thisispush.com.)