Bright Purple: Color Me Confused by Melody Carlson

purpleTh1nk Books, 2006 ISBN: 1576839508

Ramie’s best friend since childhood suddenly announces that she’s a lesbian, causing Ramie to flee to the restroom in the mall where she throws up.

Following this extreme reaction, Ramie settles into bigoted religious cant and, despite her mother’s urging that Jessica needs her best friend now more than ever, makes things worse as Jessica’s secret gets out at school. She worries that people will think she is lesbian simply by association and by her participation in girls’ basketball, going so far as to quit the basketball team temporarily.

The attempted suicide of another student who has been teased for being gay is an eye-opener for Ramie, and she starts to realize how much she is hurting Jessica. She and another friend reach out to her, and find that Jessica has been carrying an even deeper secret, one that she desperately needs help for. This event leads to the author having a gay teen didactically quote the statistics for harassment, gay-bashing, and suicide rates among gay teens.

Meanwhile, Ramie convinces her Pastor that the church should hold a forum on the issue of religion and homosexuality. The forum dissolves into lots of shouting, as well as misguided, but well-intentioned attempts by the members of the youth group to show “Christ’s Love” to the gay teens.

Carlson has a heavy-handed agenda, and I don’t think the book will change the minds of Christian teens about homosexuality, nor bring other teens to appreciate the Christian point of view. Too little has been paid attention to Jesus’ message of love and acceptance.

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Filed under * Not recommended, 2000s

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