8 Oct 2015

Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story by David Levithan

Release Date: 17th March 2015
Publisher: Penguin
Page Count: 256
Format: Paperback | Purchased

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Synopsis (from GR): This is the full script of Hold Me Closer, the musical written by and staring Tiny Cooper, from the novel Will Grayson, Will Grayson, written by David Levithan and John Green. Filled with humour, pain, and 'big, lively, belty' musical numbers, readers will finally learn the full story of Tiny Cooper from his birth and childhood to his quest for love and his infamous eighteen ex-boyfriends.

My thoughts: HOLD ME CLOSER, TINY DAAAANCERRR! Surely I am not the only person who sings this song in their head whenever they hear the title. First things first: if you have not read Will Grayson, Will Grayson, then this book will probably not make any sense to you. Even though it is only a companion novel, it basically assumes that you've read the novel and know the events of WG, WG. This book spoke to me on a spiritual level - so many times I've picked up an American novel and been confused by any reference to the American education system (let's not talk about how long it took me to work out what 'middle school' and 'junior high' high), sports, or... pretty much anything. A book that references Bernadette Peters and Idina Menzel is my kind of book. 

Hold Me Closer was a totally new, totally unique reading experience. I read this in the space of about two hours - it's written as the libretto to a (incredibly badly-written) musical, so it is quite a quick read. The stage directions were where Tiny's personality really shone through. At points they literally had me laughing out loud, at others they hadn't me feeling all the feelings. It's the story of a boy who so desperately wants to be loved and find some self-worth. It's also a little snapshot into living a life where everybody already has preconceived notions about who you are and who you should be. It's gorgeous and joyous and wonderful. 

My only complaint is that it's hard to pin down the time period for this - WG, WG was published a few years ago, yet this contains 2015 pop cultures references. Clearly Tiny is not still sixteen and in high school.

Finally: it's really difficult reading a musical in book form and not knowing how the songs should sound (I found myself making up a tune to sing for pretty much every song). I need someone to get this on the stage already!


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