Reviewed by Sid Love
STORY: You have never mattered/I have always mattered
BOOK: Lost and Found
AUTHORS: Michele Montgomery/D. H. Starr
EDITOR: Kris Jacen
PUBLISHER: Featherweight Press
BLURB: Some statistics say that 40% of all homeless teens are GLBT. They’re on the streets after their families have thrown them away, told them that they don’t matter, that they’re not normal. Well, guess what? Those families are wrong. This collection of stories by ten talented authors spans the spectrum (historical, paranormal, transgender, cutter, gay) to show that – it’s okay, there are people out there that care, and these teens are perfect just the way they are.
You Have Never Mattered and I Have Always Mattered are the two stories that are based on the life of a boy who has suffered throughout his childhood. Randall, aged sixteen, has only his mother to call as his family. However, all his life, she has treated Randy like shit. She nags about how he has been nothing but a burden to her since his birth, that she could have been well off by herself and yet lives on all of Randy’s income that he earns working all day long on a farm. Reading about the things she does – not only to Randy but the others to whom she lies or cheats and oh yes, being the master mind of an online fraud – you can’t help hating her.
It amazed me thinking how the sweet, innocent Randy was born to someone like her. And more astonishing was the fact that the boy hadn’t been severely broken and damaged by then.
Jay … he is the boy in Randy’s life who keeps him steady through thick and thin. He is the reason, Randy confesses in the story, that he wouldn’t have survived so long if it hadn’t been for Jay. It is their dream of moving out and being together forever that keeps Randy going. But sadly, not all dreams come true … Fate plays such a cruel game that changes Randy’s life. Also, when his mother somehow finds out about his relationship with Jay, she throws him out expressing her disgust for his being gay.
After reading You Have Never Mattered I had personally started to feel extreme emotions towards the characters – extreme empathy for Randy, for whom I wanted a happy ending so badly; extreme anger towards Randy’s mother – I wanted her to rot in hell and never come back and extreme respect for the two secondary characters – Mr. and Mrs. Carter (Jay’s grandparents – who selflessly take Randy under their wing and protect him like their own. YHNM is a heart-wrenching tale, which though has a hopeful ending, it also made me wonder if Randy would ever get the true happiness that he deserves. So, it was nothing but bliss I felt when we get a peek into Randy’s future life in I Have Always Mattered. It made me feel like a proud papa who suddenly realizes his son has grown up so much that he can take better care of himself. His transition over the years is narrated in this story and we see his happily ever after with the man he was always destined to be with!
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