When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid

School is just like a film set: there’s The Crew, who make things happen, The Extras who fill the empty desks, and The Movie Stars, whom everyone wants tagged in their Facebook photos. But Jude doesn’t fit in. He’s not part of The Crew because he isn’t about to do anything unless it’s court-appointed; he’s not an Extra because nothing about him is anonymous; and he’s not a Movie Star because even though everyone know his name like an A-lister, he isn’t invited to the cool parties. As the director calls action, Jude is the flamer that lights the set on fire. Before everything turns to ashes from the resulting inferno, Jude drags his best friend Angela off the casting couch and into enough melodrama to incite the paparazzi, all while trying to fend off the haters and win the heart of his favourite co-star Luke Morris. It’s a total train wreck! But train wrecks always make the front page.

 raziel

 

What a daring debut from 24 year-old, Raziel Reid.  The book is inspired by the true story of Lawrence Forbes King.  To avoid giving away the storyline, look up King after reading the book.

In this fictional story, readers are introduced to the flamboyant Jude, with a stripper mom and sexually promiscuous best friend.  Jude is confident in his sexuality, and expresses himself by regularly wearing stripper boots, lipstick, and nail polish. He asserts “… it’s better to be hated for who you are than loved for who you’re not. (pg. 100)”

The title ‘When Everything Feels like the Movies’ comes from Jude picturing his life as a glossy Hollywood movie. Even though classmates verbally and physically assault him, he consoles himself by imagining himself as an actor in a movie, a tabloid celebrity with haters. He likes to always be trending.

Even chapter titles relate to the film industry (Hidden Feature, Final Cut, etc.). This illusion may have served as a guard or protection against reality, but in the end, Jude realizes “the script had been altered, and I didn’t want to star in this cheap fucking movie anymore (pg. 166).” I think the self-deception was the strongest element of the novel, as it was heartbreakingly clear to readers that Jude’s largely homophobic small town was taking its toll.

Although this book was awarded the Governor General Literacy Award Winner for Children’s Literature, it is a teen book. The sexual content, graphic violence and strong language are not suitable for a younger audience.  For the rest of the winners, click here.

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