Title: Nothing Pink
Author: Mark Hardy
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 200
WARNING: THIS BOOK REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
Nothing Pink is a familiar, somewhat stereotypical story about a preacher’s son coming to terms with his homosexuality. Vincent, a teenage boy with ‘feathered Farrah Fawcett hair’ and a ‘limp sissy walk,’ knows he’s gay and is afraid of God’s condemnation. He struggles every day with his attraction to guys and fears the reactions of his parents.
When he meets Robert, a boy from his church, they fall in love and Vincent begins to accept being gay as a part of himself. Nothing Pink‘s 1970’s Southern setting is well-utilized, even with the fairly sparse prose, and the writing itself is solid. The problem is that the book seems reluctant to tackle its own topics and Vincent’s character feels utterly defined by his sexual identity.
Robert also feels pretty underdeveloped and his relationship with Vincent, while it’s supposed to be passionate and meaningful, seems arbitrary- like, they’re both gay, so why not? And while I appreciated that Vincent’s devoutly religious parents aren’t portrayed as being ‘all bad,’ it feels like after having a conniption fit and praying over him when they find a homoerotic magazine in his room, they just seem to let it go and don’t cause any more problems for him.
It’s like, they think their son is going to hell! This should be an ongoing problem that causes strain on their relationship, not something they have a fit over and then later forget about. The author seems to drop the issue in favor of a simplistic, abrupt happy ending.
Another problem is that the story is so basic and isn’t something regular readers of LGBTQIA+ narratives haven’t seen before. It’s cute but lacks impact and memorability. It might be enjoyed more by readers who can relate to Vincent’s experiences and his struggle reconciling his sexuality and his faith, but there are much better gay coming-of-age stories out there.