Wow. Just...wow. Queer Greer is exactly, and nothing, like what I was expecting. I was expecting for a different sort of coming-of-age story, one involving a teen struggling with her sexuality. What I got was the gritty and absolutely HUMAN story of Greer MacManus. Yes, struggling with her sexuality was a main theme, but her story is about so much more then that!
Walkley has managed to perfectly capture the everyday drama, stagnancy and constant self-doubt that is being a teenager. On top of that, she manages to give profound insight into just how difficult it can be to admit not only to your friends and family, but to yourself, that you are gay - during the especially difficult period that is high school. Not only does Walkley perfectly capture the everyday normalcies of high school, homework and just hanging out with friends, she expertly weaves the ups and downs that comes with an internal struggle into a completely believable story about self-realization.
The characters are EXACTLY how I remember high school. Self-conscious about a hobby that friends might not find "cool", bored with the weekend routine of sitting around watching movies and getting high/drunk, doubting your relationship and wondering if your feelings are for the person or for the comfort of being with any person and doubting every decision you make, always fearing that your secret will be found out. This made the characters genuine and real and completely relatable.
Greer is an interesting protagonist. She's in the middle of a love triangle for the vast majority of the book, and a part of me was constantly cursing her for being so weak. For not just letting herself be with the person she truly wanted to be with - Rebecca - without worrying about the consequences. But her genuineness as a teenager made me realize that as a sixteen-seventeen year old, I wouldn't have been that brave. I wouldn't have been able to look the other way if my classmates were constantly whispering behind my back, or, even worse, displaying outright signs of hatred because of my sexual orientation. But I love that Walkley didn't ask for the reader to feel sorry for, or pity Greer, because of the extra struggles she had due to her inner conflict. She made Greer human, in that she made mistakes (lots of mistakes!), she wasn't always strong or honest and she ended up hurting those she loved the most because of her weaknesses.
I do wish that Greer had been able to settle her relationship with Cameron, that she had at least been strong enough to end things with him when she knew that she didn't reciprocate his feelings, and that she had been given the choice to come out to him. I feel like her having that choice taken away was a disappointing end to their relationship because I was looking forward to that conversation. I also feel like the issues surrounding her cutting weren't resolved, and with it playing such a small role in the story, I have to wonder why it was included at all; I never truly saw Greer learn or grow from her experience with cutting. That being said, it was only because of her short-comings, because of her complete and utter humanness, that Greer was able to discover who she wanted to be and what that meant. She was able to find the strength she needed to overcome her fear of being ostracized and of being alone (for a while), if that meant staying true to herself.
I can't recommend Queer Greer enough! If nothing else, it has re-opened my eyes to the struggles someone is faced with when their sexual orientation isn't the assumed norm.