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Love & Other Curses: 08/21/20
Love & Other Curses by Michael Thomas Ford is a queer coming of age tale set in a small Upstate New York town. Sam Weyward is part of a cursed family. If he falls in love before his seventeenth birthday, he's doomed to die. He has nine weeks left and he's not expecting to fall in love, that is until a new guy comes to visit for the summer.
Sam's life is compartmentalized. He works days with his father at the Eezy-Freeze. He spends his evenings at the local gay bar where he experiments with finding a drag persona. He spends his nights making random phone calls — until he finds a friend who is an aspiring musician.
Through his friendship with the boy visiting for the summer and his exploration of drag, Sam spends a lot of time wondering about sex attraction and gender. He knows he's gay. He knows he's cis. He knows the boy is transgender. He hopes the feeling are mutual but has to face the reality that his new friend is as straight as he is gay.
But the most interesting piece to this novel is the side plot of the phone calls. They are the means by which this novel finds itself on the road narrative spectrum. It's a spot that can be described as Holes meets Landline.
Both Sam and the woman he talks to can be seen as marginalized travelers (66). Neither has enough agency to do exactly what they want. In Sam's case it's because he's a minor and he's stuck in a small town.
The destination for Sam is uhoria (CC). His talks with the woman give insight into his family's history. Like, Landline, though, it's also a literal conversation across time.
The route taken is the labyrinth (99). There is no immediate for danger and the route taken by the woman has already happened. It could be argued that the route is dangerous for her, but ultimately the novel is from Sam's point of view, so his journey is the one setting the placement in the spectrum.
All together, Love & Other Curses is the story of marginalized travelers going to uhoria via a labyrinthine path (66CC99).