The God Box

Reviewed by guest blogger Kaye Moore

Alex Sanchez, 2007.

Paul is in denial about two major areas of his life: one, that in spite of being named Paul, he is a Spanish-speaking Latino named Pablo, and two, that he is very gay.  Paul’s long-term girlfriend Angie is his best friend, and while he loves her very much, he doesn’t feel any attraction for her physically.  He just hopes and prays by the time they marry, he will feel something else.  He pins their lack of making out on sexual piety, and everyone in his small-town religious circle accepts that too, until openly-gay and Christian newcomer Manuel joins their group.  Manuel’s gaydar is in high alert; he knows that Paul is gay, and also forces Paul to recognize his Mexican heritage by outing him as “Pablo” at their first meeting.

Slowly, Angie begins to recognize the nature of the antagonistic relationship between Paul and Manuel, and tries to get Paul to share with her.  This is unsuccessful, and we have to wait an incredibly long 90% of the book before Paul ever tells anyone that he is gay, although his covert relationship with Manuel starts about 2/3 of the way through.  Paul finally starts living honestly after Manuel is beaten badly by homophobic rednecks. 

Paul’s religious and personal development seems stilted, and it seems as though Sanchez wanted to make a point in writing this book and never really warmed to the topic internally.  The religious point that God loves people as they are was well-received, but the dialogue was awkward and emotionless.  I also found it odd that it was so clear that Paul was uncomfortable with his Latino heritage, but we never really found out why other than he just wanted to fit in with the other kids at his school.  The book ends with a breezy and cheerful update on all the major characters, and manages to avoid any depth at all.

Lukewarm or not, Sanchez’s work can’t be ignored.  The book covers an important topic, and contains points that may be of interest to religious LGBTQ teens, and for that reason it is recommended for all public and high school library collections.

Reviewed by guest blogger Kaye Moore


This entry was posted in 2007, Alex Sanchez, gay male, gay-bashing, guest blogger, high school, latina/o, problem novel, queer protagonist, religion, secondary queer character. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The God Box

  1. LibrarysCat says:

    I am visiting from BBAW and I am so glad that I did! Thanks for an excellent review ~ from a guest, no less ~ your other reviews are wonderful as well.

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