Book 39 Drama


Drama by Raina Telgemeier fulfilled the prompt
“Read a Banned Book
During Banned Book Week Sept. 20-26” for the PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge.
The graphic novel was banned for three years in Texas for being explicitly
sexual, and “promoting the homosexual agenda.” (Quotes from the Wiki article
that quoted the ACLU of Texas.)

Drama depicts a coming of age story for
several middle school children while they work on a school play. Cassie, the
main character, experiences the pitfalls of seventh-grade life—falling for the
wrong person, dealing with friends, and being in the school play. She is not
the only character to grow and change as the story moves forward. Many of the
characters experience life-altering emotions and events that push them toward

Cassie befriends a set of male twins at the start of Act
II. (It’s written as a
five-act play.) One brother wants to try out for the play and as the two get to
know each other, he shares with her he is gay. Cassie is remarkable in her
response—one mature, one totally seventh-grader. She hugs Justin and promises
to keep his secret. Then she considers his brother Jessie as a love interest.
As the book goes on, more drama occurs and more tough times and heartbreak for
Cassie—though she is amazing in dealing with all her disappointments. In an age
when many middle-schoolers are wracked by depression and anxiety, Cassie holds
her head high but also lets the tears go when she needs to.

Spoilers ahead!

I believe the book was banned because it depicted a
kiss between two boys (probably both were around thirteen), one of whom is in a
red dress. Since it’s a
graphic novel, we see the kiss. It was a beautiful moment. Our wonderful Jessie
steps out from the shadow of his brother (a place he chose to be allowing his
twin shine).  He goes out on stage,
pushing all his anxiety behind him, and saves the show. And it means playing
the female lead and wearing her costume. The real actress refused to return to
the stage because of drama. Jessie gets to sing, perform, and kiss the boy he
has a crush on. West, who plays the other lead, goes with it and kisses Jessie
without hesitation.

loved it. Such a monumental moment for a great character. But knowing the
homophobic attitude I see in some parents, I’m not surprised it was banned. I’m
so glad I let my kids read this book. (Actually, my fourteen-year-old stole it
from me and read it twice this week.)

Ms. Telgemeier is the author of two popular graphic
novel series—The Babysitters’ Club
and Smile/Sisters. My children, like many others, ravenously ate up
those stories and craved anything else she wrote. Perhaps conservative parents
were shocked to have LGBTQ+ characters in the book, much less a full-on smooch.
But this is the world our kids live in. Teens today are very open about gender,
sexuality, and personal preferences. They are not bogged down as older
generations are with what is “normal” and what is “wrong.” They just see people
and love them for who they are.

so happy this book is in the world. I loved reading Jessie’s story and cheered
for him when he could finally be himself. I felt for Cassie too, chasing all
the wrong boys. By the end of the story, she learned her lesson about not “liking”
every guy who is nice to her. I hope Ms. Telgemeier writes more stories with
LGBTQ+ themes.

I give Drama
by Raina Telgemeier Five Big Cannon Pops.

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