Blog, Reviews

Blog Entry No. 29 – Full Disclosure

Dear Readers,

have you ever read a book that made you wonder how you could walk through society with your eyes closed until now? Well, I truly hope so for you. If not, you maybe should consider reading Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett. This book, published in 2019 in Great Britain by Penguin Books, isn’t just a great bestseller. It’s eye-opening, honest (at least it feels honest) and relatable.

To be frank, I usually don’t like photographs as cover, but this one – taken by Theodore Samuels – fits the novel pretty well. It’s unobtrusive, nearly shy, but still beautiful. It portrays the main character extremely good, I think. The title and the authors name seem to scream, because of the bright colour and therefore build an intense contrast to the calm blue in the background.

Full Disclosure is told by the main character Simone. She is finally happy again at her new school, after she was hated badly at her old one, because the students and parents found out that she’s HIV-positive. She has found her beloved, two, best friends – Claudia and Lydia -, she’s directing the school musical Rent and she’s making out with Miles, the attractive boy, who helps with the musical’s set. Simone is happy, full of questions about having sex with HIV, but happy. But as she finds an anonymous note in her locker that threatens to tell everyone that she’s positive, her world is standing upside down again and definitely not in a good way…

Full Disclosure is probably the first Highschool-novel that actually taught me something. I mean a way of understanding a perspective I definitely can’t relate to, because I’m luckily not affected by the issues black people and people with HIV have in society. I’m glad that I found this novel, because it showed me that there are things I will, I can never understand, since I’m one of the privileged, healthy, white folks that urgently need to be told what it’s like to be affected by racism and ignorance. This topic is highly complicated, amongst other things, because it’s an emotional one that involves many different, individual experiences as well as a complex history and a lot of ignorance and unreasonable fear. I get confused about the whole matter frequently, but I try to understand. I’m sorry for everyone I might have hurt because of my own ignorance. I think we all should communicate more and in a healthier way. Listen to what the people have to say. Listen to how they feel and I guess then there will be at least a chance to improve, to understand and to stop the sorrow. Full Disclosure is – in my opinion – a book, that explains to the reader in a subtle, sensitive way, how it feels to be hated and not understood. The story is told by Simone, so one gets to know her thoughts while reading, which helps enormously to realize, why she’s reacting in the way she does. She’s a character that develops and that is independent which leads to a perception of her as an authentic person. Additionally, all the supporting characters are drawn in a deep and original way with their own problems, that get discussed and aren’t just ignored like in other novels.

All in all it’s a gorgeous book with great characters and important matters. It discusses the perception of HIV-positive, of black and of queer people and doesn’t forget the “simple” matters of growing up. No matter if one likes Young Adult or romantic novels, I think everyone, but especially all the privileged, white, healthy, ignorant people should read Full Discosure at least once in a lifetime, but actually as soon as possible.

Have a great week,
Aly

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