After reading all these books I've gotten to thinking that I actually had a pretty easy time with adolescence, even if it didn't feel like it at the time. There are so many things that I didn't have to deal with that other people did. In this book it seemed like poor Mel had just too many things to handle all at once.
First of all, there's race. Like we were talking about in class, I had a privilege that I didn't even realize until I was older. I was white, and so was the rest of my world, so race wasn't an issue. Mel was black. Though in his neighborhood and at his school most everyone else was black as well, he was constantly aware that outside of that little world, he was different. This was especially difficult because his skin was extremely dark, which made him even more different.
Even though he wasn't exactly denied anything for being black, just hearing people snicker and make jokes about his color, like the boys at the beach, makes him question himself.
I couldn't help but wonder if Mel's family really was all gone, or whether his mother just told him that. It seemed likely to me that, like Kristen, EC might have told her family she was gay and they were not accepting. Whatever the case, it must feel somewhat lonely not to have a family other than just your mother. Even though Mel and his mother were close, it must be hard to have that be all you have. Mel did mention that it didn't matter to him that he didn't have a father because he never knew otherwise, but I still think it must have taken some toll on him. Also, it was just another thing that made him different. Everyone else had families and he didn't.
Finally, there's the obvious difficulty that Mel faced, that his mother was gay. I think it's important that she told him, but I also cannot imagine how hard that would be to hear. Not because there's anything wrong with having a gay parent, but because it made him question himself again so much. He was afraid that because his mother was gay that she hated him for being male and that he must be gay as well. He was worried what his friends would think. Plus, it was extra difficult, again because of race. Since Kristen was white, that brought up a whole other set of issues. However, it was refreshing to me that Ralph let Mel know that it didn't bother him. Friends are so important at that age, and even though he may have lost Sean, it was nice to know that Mel wouldn't be without real friends entirely. Hopefully Angie didn't mind either, because, after all, I'm a hopeless romanticÃ¢ÂÂ¦