Bill Konigsberg’s Openly Straight is a refreshingly honest and hilarious look into the life and mind of a highly realistic character, Rafe Goldberg. Rafe is an openly gay high school student from Boulder, Colorado. He has very supportive hippy parents and his best friend, Claire Olivia. His mother is the president of PFLAG and Rafe even goes to other schools to talk about tolerance and his experience. But Rafe starts to find his sexual orientation confining, and decides that he doesn’t want to be known as “that gay guy” anymore.
We pick up the story as Rafe transfers to an all-boys school in New England, where he decides that he will be “openly straight”. He doesn’t see it as going back in the closet, but rather an opportunity to just be Rafe. On his first day, he makes friends with the school jocks, something he had only be able to wonder about doing back in Boulder. Rafe feels that he is finally being accepted for himself, not his sexual orientation. But being openly straight becomes more complicated as Rafe is forced to lie to his new friends and the person he cares about most, Ben. Openly Straight is thought-provoking, while maintaining a level of humor and cheekiness that kept me laughing and eagerly turning the next page.
Bill Konigsberg is the winner of the 2008 Lambda Literary Award in the LGBT Children’s/Young Adult category for Out of the Pocket, his debut novel, and is a fellow Arizonan, living in Chandler, AZ with his partner, Chuck and their Australian Labradoodle, Mabel.