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Young Digby Swank (Anglais) Broché – 11 septembre 2013

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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
I love books that make me think and love - this one is a definite must-read! 19 septembre 2014
Par Rainbow Gold Reviews - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
***** A Rainbow Gold Review by Marc *****

So you saw the title and now you wonder: Who is Digby Swank???

Well, after reading this book I would say Digby Swank is a borderline sociopath with strong narcissistic tendencies. In other words, a typical kid, growing up. Though like every kid, he is unique in his own way. His uniqueness shines as bright as the light of a lighthouse, illuminating the dark. Instead of celebrating it though, in the Catholic culture he grows up with any deviation from the norm is seen as bad and the fire of his spirit is quickly dowsed.

It is a very sad think to watch as people try to mold him into something that is socially acceptable and he himself tries so hard to be different from how he is, so as not to be an embarrassment and hurt his parents. In the process, however, he comes off as awkward and weird and instead of fitting in is barely tolerated. His parents and his family do love him (well, part of his family at least) in their own way, but as is mentioned in the book, the people who love you and want to protect you, can hurt you the worst. They don’t see who he truly is and instead of trying to understand him better and giving him the support he needs to be true to himself, they believe the best thing to protect him is to help him hide who he is in his heart.

Thankfully at different parts of his growing up, there are people who make his life a little bit more bearable. Though they are never a constant presence in his life and he is mostly lonely and misunderstood.

I know this sounds kind of dark and moody, but there is a lot of humor in this book and it is a wonderful coming of age story.

Digby is very smart, even if not book smart, and his observations about other people are spot-on and highlight the absurdity and hypocrisy of much that is said and done. At times it was laugh-out-loud funny and even though my heart often broke for Digby, because his childhood is such a trial for him, I always had a smile on my face.

When something strikes me as funny or especially well-written, I often highlight it on my kindle and I did that A LOT, while reading this book. However, this was not a book that I wasn’t able to lay down, because it had to be devoured in one sitting. It is long and the different chapters can easily be read on their own. They are mostly chronologically and should be read as such, but each chapter has a theme and can be appreciated on it’s own merit. For me it worked terrifically as bedside reading material and I read it night for night, chapter for chapter, thinking about all the people in my catholic village and my own family.

My mother is catholic and my father agnostic and we never had a lot of religion in the house. I was always very interested in religion, though, and helped out as altar boy (though mass was much too early for my parents). However, in my strongly conservative and almost entirely catholic village, the mandatory catholic religion class was starkly different from what Digby experiences in his catholic school. We were taught as one of the first things to not take the bible verbatim. Our teacher explained to us that the bible has to be seen in the context of its time. People were mostly illiterate and the stories were written in a way that would seem exciting and have easily understandable truths and lessons within. People had to be able to remember the stories and want to remember them. So the thinks about the bible that seem hard to believe like Jesus walking on water and Moses parting the red sea might just mean that Jesus was able to swim, which was very uncommon at the time and Moses was able to navigate the swamps left when the Red Sea departed (a natural phenomenon), because he lived in the desert and was traveling on foot instead of large, heavy, Egyptian wagons. The bible is a very important construct of its time and still has a lot of importance, today. In fact many laws that are still used to safeguard various countries were directly inspired by the ten commandments. But as were were taught that the humans who wrote it, while they may have been inspired by god, were still part of their time and culture and human, thus fallibly. The bible is not absolute truth, cannot be taken word-for-word into the modern times (as we for example thankfully no longer consider slaves as part of someone’s belonging and thus our current bibles do no longer state that desiring our neighbor’s slaves is a sin). While I was in the US, living in the bible belt and going to a religious private school, acceptance of all faiths was actively taught. It was an Episcopalian School and it accepted me (still catholic) as part of their community, part of their masses. The minister was super nice and prayed for me, when I was worried about family members and when they died. While I was their, the Episcopalian Church also ordained it’s first gay minister, our Biology teacher was a strong believer in both god and the evolutionary theory and there were teachers and students of different color, different faiths and different sexual orientation in the school.

So, the way Catholicism and Religion is taught and lived is not the same everywhere and the way I was taught and believe actually helped me to see the truth in Digby’s observations and the absurdity that can so often be found in religion. Because even if I never experienced them, myself, I know the kind of school’s described in the book exists. And I have personally experienced a lot of the religious and general hypocrisy that Digby recognizes. i have and am also guilty of some of it. The fact how easily some people judge others though, while believing themselves holier than thou, even as they daily ‘sin’ in the way they speak, act, treat others and in their judgement of others is still mind boggling to me. I am gay, but I never once considered that god would love me less for it.I will never understand the energy some people put into identifying others as sinners instead of helping others as they are able to to make the world a better place. In face of war, diseases, misery, dwindling resources… stopping consenting adults from loving each other should never be anyone’s priority.

I love books that make me think and love - this one is a definite must-read! I can strongly recommend it, even if some readers might need to get out of their comfort zone to read something other than a romance. You will not regret it!

1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The World According to Digby 29 décembre 2013
Par Mistervic - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
In "Young Digby Swank" author Owen Keehnen gives us a hapless, luckless child protagonist whose inability to comport himself within the accepted strictures of his loveably flawed Irish Catholic family leads to an endless string of embarrassing missteps. Though Digby struggles to do what he thinks is called for in any given situation - either to win approval or to simply articulate how he feels - his foibles confound his family, the nuns who attempt to teach him at Holy Martyrs school, and pretty much everyone else whose path he crosses. Digby is a very young, effeminate boy with questionable judgment and an inability to conform no matter how much he wants to. By the age of twelve he is already world-weary and disheartened - trapped in a small town, largely friendless - but filled with a growing wisdom about the ways of the world, its illogic, its hypocrisy, its cruelty, its mystery - and its whimsy. That he is gay reveals itself to him towards the end of his childhood; but its revelation produces only more questions in his quest to sort out and make sense of a life that always seems more difficult, confusing, and torturous than it should be. By being an outcast even among other outcasts, Digby Swank becomes a lens through which the reader glimpses a world as distorted, hideous, and hilarious as a reflection in a funhouse mirror. The characters are richly drawn, the writing is slyly clever and crisp, and there isn't a page without a shock, a guffaw, a wince, or a belly laugh. By the time the book ends the reader hopes that Keehnen will continue Digby's story through his teenage years and beyond in future installments where the unique perspective of his intrepid, wickedly funny antihero can continue to explain the world's inanities with an appreciation for the absurd, a thirst for adventure, and the courage to seek out happiness in unsuspecting places - even if Catholic Guilt and a healthy mistrust of God's sense of humor must be our guide.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Witty and Soulful 14 janvier 2014
Par Loriella - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
This is an extremely witty yet soulful and wistful look at what growing up different feels like, with the added and evil twist that in this case, different means it's likely everyone you love will hate you and on top of that you're headed for hell.

Rhythm works better as an accompaniment to Blues than it does as a birth control method, and so little Digby is made aware that his birth was neither planned nor wanted and that it's unlikely that even if he hadn't loved dress-up and dolls and using bugle chips to extend his nails, his very existence would be looked at askance.

His über-Catholic parents & Grandma Swank didn't get the part about each child being God's gift, and their dismay and disdain only grew with both their & Digby's realizations about just how different he was. Pudgy, girly, fashion-mad and (horrors!), left handed, he wasn't able to "be like them" no matter how hard he tried, and the only person who accepted him, Grandma Rose, was killed in an accident.

Ultimately of course life changes. He finds love (in a sauna) and begins to understand that the kind of belonging he has always yearned for does not necessarily include one's biological family, one's narrow religious community, one's restrictive home town.

Publication of this most enjoyable book comes at a time of change, not predictable I'm sure when writing began. Digby could in many states now marry and raise a family, his sexual orientation is less and less of an issue with most people, and even his new pope may ultimately convince Catholics like Digby's family that it is not a sin to love.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Total enjoyment. 30 décembre 2013
Par Daniel R. Steiner - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
From the first pages, when we are introduced to Digby as an infant, who smirks rather than smiles, to the final pages as he takes his first hopeful adolescent steps into what he might become as a gay young man, we are rooting for him. The other characters: Digby’s family, friends and foes, teachers, nuns, and priests all reminded me of people I have known. I found myself bent over in laughter many times as I followed the verbal assaults of the perpetually inappropriate Aunt Edna and Grandma Swank, the neighbors and nuns, or the Catholic version of sex education in school. On the other hand, I also found myself getting a little teary-eyed as Digby finally gets a glimpse of what it is to be accepted, wanted, or even loved, by another.
This book is a surprisingly hilarious reminder of what it is like to feel like an outsider in a world of outsiders and it is a total enjoyment to read. I hope Mr. Keehnen decides to continue the story with a sequel to the “Young Digby Swank.”
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Brilliantly clever! 11 mars 2014
Par Christopher Moss - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
Poor Digby started out on the wrong foot by being an unwanted pregnancy of a woman who had all the kids she wanted, thank you very much. When he proceeds to show every indication of being aan oddball, he is seemingly doomed. He will never fit in. For one thing even as a baby his usual facial expression was a smirk. He loves show tunes, Judy Garland, and to dress up in girly clothes and act out beauty pageant fantasies. His mother's solution to all problems is snack cakes and ice cream, so he has to deal with chubbiness too. All his family seems to care about is how things will look to the neighbors. Raised Catholic Digby puzzles through why God made him the way he is. At his parochial elementary school he is constantly being punished for just being himself. He doesn't feel like he's a bad kid. In fact, he doesn't see the problem with his own behavior. No surprise then that he begins to question the reasoning involved, if any, in religion.
Digby's redemption occurs through the appearance of anther boy who does not fit in, whether Doug, whose parents are ultra born-agains, or during his brief stint in public school the "Noel Coward" of the school, when he finds another who also does not fit in. The reader watches him slowly realize that his little town, Running Falls, is not the sole arbiter of what is right and proper.
This novel was a joy to read, clever, funny -- especially in its observations of Catholicism -- and intelligent. I laughed out loud every time I picked it up to read. I am sure there were some in-jokes I did not get, but that just means the book is funnier than I even thought. It is poignant too, with the reader inevitably witness to a childhood squandered by parents, siblings, teachers, peers and others. It unerringly puts the spotlight on how convention stifles growth, creativity, and, saddest of all, one's self esteem.
As I was reading I wondered if Digby was transgender. Apparently his dress-up was not a desire so much to be a girl but just not to have to pretend to be the sort of boy he really is, as well as showing Digby's colorful dramatic flare in a monotone world.
Even before I finished reading this delightful book I was on Faqcebook telling everyone, "If you haven't read this book, you must, especially if you are Catholic." The same goes now that I have finished the book.
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