Boys & Girls – Paul Burston

imagesThis is a book of literally two halves – one side for women and when you turn the book upside down it has stories for men. For the purpose of this review I will focus on the ladies half. The book comprises of seven short stories, all focusing on youth and the memory of how it was to deal with our sexuality when we were young and bewildered. The writers are Karen Mcleod, Stella Duffy, VG Lee, Jay Bernard, Sophia Blackwell, Helen Sandler and finally a note from a girl who has been helped by the Albert Kennedy Trust, of which some of the proceeds of this book go to.

All the stories are very different, in fact one of them is in the form of a very cool cartoon. They mostly focus on our initial realisation of our sexuality, having that first initial school girl crush and not really knowing how to deal with it. The guilt the confusion and the deceit towards the oblivious friend who doesn’t realise the depth of your emotions towards her! I guess we have all been there, the sleep over that means nothing to the friend but all the world to you!

The story that I had most affinity to was ‘The House Believes’ by Sophia Blackwell. Just the whole timbre of the piece took me straight back to my childhood and the feelings that I had then. The line when she is about to tell her parents she is gay in which she writes ‘I have five minutes of my old life left’ that really struck a cord with me!

Stella Duffy’s theme is the lengths we will go to in our devotion to the object of our desire. How we can be swayed into doing things we wouldn’t normally do. All in all it’s a diverse collection of stories, with a little something for everyone.

Boys & Girls

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