Tuesday, August 25, 2015
REVIEW: It's About Love by Steven Camden
It wasn't until I attended YALC in July that I changed my mind. I heard the author, Steven Camden, do a performance poem about this novel and that made me really sit up and take notice. This piece of poetry was amazing and his delivery of it made me incredibly intrigued. So when I saw It's About Love on a library shelf recently, I snapped it up immediately. It isn't the first or last book that I've read because of YALC. And with It's About Love I'm really glad that I did give this book a chance.
It is about two characters, Luke and Leia, and they do meet on a film studies course. That is true. But this novel felt like much more than that as well. It felt like a journey towards creating something wonderful and about identity and friendship and family and love and how all of those things can be messy and complicated and painful and beautiful. This book was filled with so many honest truths that I cried several times at the beauty of it. There was one particular bit about tears and how there are only two types of tears and reading it brought tears to my eyes so quickly that it took me really by surprise.
I really loved the unusual format of the story. It's told from Luke's perspective and it has his narration, but there are also hand-written journal entries of his memories or thoughts or dreams. There are also some bits that read like a film script with scene headings and descriptions. It really worked and the whole film motif really worked throughout the story. I loved all the film mentions and particularly the creative process Luke and Leia writing their own screenplay for the film studies class. I loved the idea of Luke taking inspiration from his friends and family for ideas and how these little bits of conversation help shape both his writing but also his identity.
This book, as I said, is many things. It's a bit of a love story between Luke and Leia. But it's also about Luke adjusting to a new school and a different setting and social circle and trying to reconcile this new part of his life with his old friends. It's also about Luke's brother, Marc, coming home from prison and Luke and his family adjusting to life with him home again. I loved some of the scenes between Luke and his father especially in which it felt like more was said in their silence than in their words. It's also a book about film and about telling stories in different ways. And I really, really enjoyed it.