Reviewed by Peter Savastano
For this reader, the only way to review David Montalvo’s boy with an ‘i’ is by using metaphors. The book, and I imagine its author, are both seeds that have not yet sprouted, at least by my reading of boy with an ‘i’. The book is advertised as a "multi-media work of art". Indeed, the reader has the option to draw upon a music poetry project, also entitled "i", which comes with the book, as well as through other interactive mediums. One can read poetry related to the story the book purports to tell (website addresses for these interactive aspects of this multi-media project are included in the introduction to the book) and also to listen to music relevant to the subject of the book.
As I read the book, I could not help but wish that Montalvo had held off on publishing it to give himself some more time to develop the themes that run through the book, some of which are: "self-deprecation to self-worth", "an attempt to gain God consciousness", and dealing with the after-effects of falling in love for the first time. All of these themes are present in the book, but only in the most cursory ways.
A Gay man who has been on such a tripartite journey himself will clearly recognize that these are experiences that can best be described with sufficient depth only after they have been assimilated into one’s consciousness over time. Unfortunately, in reading this book I get no sense that this is the case for the protagonist in the book who is Montalvo himself.
The book is haphazardly written. Try as I did, I was not able to figure out where the spiritual angle on it is to be found, except that the author intersperses biblical quotes between the six sections of the book. Montalvo does mention something he calls the "God-ing Process". Unfortunately, he never defines what this process is and other than as a concept, the reader (certainly not this reader) will be hard pressed to deduce what he means by "God-ing Process" from the context in which it is used. If one is suffering from a broken heart over a failed love relationship of the adolescent angst kind that so many of us adult Gay men over the age of thirty five suffer from (such as myself over the past year as a perfect, even if embarrassing, example), then this is a good book to read. The reader will know from doing so that he is not alone and eternally stuck at age twenty-five for eternity.
Technically, there are more typos in this book than I have seen in a long time and as the book nears its end, they get worse. Having read the book, it seems clear that Montalvo has potential as a writer about the sometimes very painful connection between romantic relationships and the spiritual quest from a uniquely Gay male perspective. It be better, however, if Montalvo continues to nurture his creative seeds to allow them sufficient time to sprout and grow into the beautiful mature flowers they can be before he commits them to paper in such a final way as a book.