03 March 2012

Money Boy; Paul Yee

Money BoyMoney Boy by Paul Yee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Talk about your Tiger Dad: Ray's Ba is always after him to study, work hard, get good grades (the fact that Ba was in the army and police force helps with the yelling part). The problem is that Ray isn't a good student, much more interested in hanging out and playing Rebel State, an on-line war game. And he's gay. When Ba finds out, he kicks Ray out of the house, forcing Ray onto the Toronto streets. His life of deprivation and making ends meet as a "money boy" (prostitute) only lasts a week, but it's a long week and Ray is a stronger, wiser person at the end.

This is a quick read, highlighting the similarities that gay youth have while also being about a very different culture, that of the Chinese-Canadian immigrant. The ending is a little too pat for my taste, with Ray returning home and finding acceptance from everyone but his father (who, we learn throughout the book, has failed consistently at one career or another). Still, the writing and the themes are what won this a deserved Stonewall Award.

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