Review by Steven LaVigne
An article in the Metro section of the May 26 Minneapolis Star-Tribune captured my attention, because a book fair for middle school students held in Thief River Falls, MN, banned Gay Minnesota writer David LaRochelle’s latest book, Absolutely, Positively Not, because it was thought to be “inappropriate.” Naturally, I had to read this banned book, and it’s an absolutely positively delightful read, perfect for the beach or a quiet night sitting on the porch before the sun sets.
This charming tale follows Steven DaNarski, a sophomore at Beaver Lake High School, “The Hockey Stick Capital of the World.” Like other boys his age, he’s desperate to lose his virginity, but he’s attracted to Mr. Bowman, the muscular sub who replaces the wrestling coach as his Health teacher. His mother has just published a book on raising a tidy teenager, even though her housekeeping skills are questionable. When he tries curbing his budding homosexuality, he follows the advice of a 1970s self-help guru, using rubber bands as aversion therapy. Instead of aversion, however, this create a sensation in school when rubber wrist bands become popular. He pins a Victoria’s Secret ad over a super hero poster, but none of this leads to much, because Steven really enjoys square dancing with his mother, tries to convince his best friend, Rachel that he’s popular by hanging out at the Hockey team’s table during lunch, and dates with girls remain innocent encounters.
There are genuinely witty sequences with every turn of the page. Judging from the knowing manner in which LaRochelle relates Steven’s story, it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s based on his own high school experiences, and judging from his website, Larochelle is as adventurous and daring as his leading character. I don’t want to spoil things for you, but I will let you know that Steven’s prom date is a highlight of Absolutely, Positively Not.
Don’t think twice about it, whether you check it out from the public library, order it online or get it from your local GLBT book outlet, you will Absolutely, Positively Not not be disappointed with this treasure.