Hidden is pure power

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hidden by Tomas Mournianbook review.

Hidden, by Tomas Mournian is quite possibly the most important and relevant novel about queer youth that has yet been written. It is powerful, wrenching and inexpressibly sad and yet it tells us that even in the most terrible situations, love, sacrifice and courage will rise up and give us hope. A stream of consciousness story that becomes a personal experience for the reader, the tale is told through the eyes of Ahmed, a boy whose self-centered, dysfunctional father and stepmother send him to a “treatment” center when they discover he is gay.

This center, supposedly focused on turning gay kids straight, is in truth a prison intended to warehouse children who have become an embarrassment to their families. Surrounded by barbed wire and isolated in the middle of a dessert, it is staffed by quacks and disciplinarians. Such places are quite real. Most of them exist under the cover of “religion” and hence are protected by our society’s unwillingness to confront the fact that that the attitude of fundamentalist religion toward queer youth is nothing less than child abuse.

This whole novel is quite real – quite frighteningly, horrifyingly real. Though the characters are fictional, Ahmed and the kids he meets following his escape – the underground railroad of homeless queer youth fleeing from abusive families and arrogant, insensitive authorities are very real indeed. There is nothing in this book that is in anyway dissimilar to the stories your reviewer has heard from the young people at New Alternatives For Homeless LGBT Youth in New York. (http://www.newalternatives.nyc.org/) The reader is forced to cry out “how can things like this be allowed to happen to kids and how can we, as a community, allow it to continue?”

This is a book for everyone to read – young and older, queer and straight. It ranks with Catcher In The Rye, The Diary of Ann Frank and A Separate Peace as a masterpiece of vivid tale telling in which the strength of youth and the hope of love and security, the struggle to figure out what this life and this society is really all about, confronts the power of hatred, repression and, in some ways even worse, indifference. No one can read this book and remain unchanged if there remains within them a single spark of human kindness.  Thank you, Tomas Mournian.

ISBN 10:0-7582-5131-9, Kensington Publishing Co.,

http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/ $15.00, paper

 

hidden by Tomas Mournianbook review.

Hidden, by Tomas Mournian is quite possibly the most important and relevant novel about queer youth that has yet been written. It is powerful, wrenching and inexpressibly sad and yet it tells us that even in the most terrible situations, love, sacrifice and courage will rise up and give us hope. A stream of consciousness story that becomes a personal experience for the reader, the tale is told through the eyes of Ahmed, a boy whose self-centered, dysfunctional father and stepmother send him to a “treatment” center when they discover he is gay.