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This story appears in the issue of School LIVE.
The main description of Duryodhana in the great epic, Mahabharata is of his deviousness, obstinacy and greed for power that would bring

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda hurls us into the rather mundane life of Simon Spier. Simon-like any other teen of this generation—adores Oreos, Elliott Smith, Tegan and Sara, and makes references to Harry Potter. He is sixteen years old and gay, and the only person who knows is Blue, who Simon has been talking to via email. “Blue” is the alias of a boy – a smart grammar nerd – from school. Simon constantly contemplates whether Blue knows about this aspect of Simon’s personality or not. Though, they haven’t met virtually or physically, he tends to feel that he can be himself when he talks to Blue… and eventually, Simon realizes that he is falling for him. It is at this juncture that Simon realizes that Blue is a person whose face he had never seen even though he was in the same school as him.

This is about as bungling as it will get for the ordinary kid coming out in this age. While prejudice and homophobia still have a strong hold on our community, the budding support for LGBT+ rights-notably amongst younger generations-means that people coming out are now more comfortable while doing so and are more self-aware in the process, while the society on the other hand, are more acceptable to this as compared to earlier times.

Simon and Blue are fascinating characters. This is one of those unique books where all the characters, even the secondary ones, are exceptionally well-written and stand out as original and remarkable. Simon’s family is a mundane family written with the same originality as seen in their weekly discussions of ‘The Bachelorette’. They are entertaining and affectionate and play a big role in Simon’s life in realistic ways. The most enthralling aspect of the book is that none of the characters are as simple as they seem, even Martin, the blackmailer. They’re complex and dynamic.

To its credit, Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda consists of no forced or unjust drama. When Simon meets a gay university student, the man rapidly gets to know about his age and puts his flirtation to an end before it could head in any specific direction. An act of anti-gay bullying is chastised instantly and doubtlessly; the school is accepting and well educated on such matters. When the almost-an-antagonist does do something unforgivable, he regrets it immediately and apologizes for his acts. There’s an acknowledgement of persevering anti-gay sentiment, but the actual drama is more in manoeuvring the high school politics of coming out.

Dividing them out, each feature of the book is impressive, but doing so does an injustice to the book, which is much more than the sum of its parts. The basis of the story might be a bit unusual, but the novel feels certainly accurate.

Malvika Nair
Student Reporter



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