Eight Seconds by Jean Ferris: Book Review

eight-seconds2EIGHT SECONDS
Jean Ferris
Harcourt Brace
Young Adult
ISBN: 0152023674


Just like movie trailers, some book reviews give more information than I need, especially if they are not that long and involved. I would prefer that the review entice me rather than give too much information and spoil the story.

Let’s say this about Eight Seconds: the story is one of those that keeps the reader intrigued throughout the entire story. Of course, it’s aimed at the teenage reader, and obviously, being reviewed here, it has a running gay theme, but I’d actually call it gay “light”.

The story centers on John, a guy’s guy, growing up on a working ranch, who is learning to be a rodeo cowboy. Underlying the main storyline of a teenage boy growing up on a his parents’ Rocky Mountain ranch is John’s own journey of self-discovery.

Teenagers, whether gay, straight, or uncertain are going to relate to John’s own experience in figuring out who he is. Although the book’s central character is an 18-year-old guy, girls too will be pulled into the story’s constantly changing (and realistic) relationships. Librarians and parents should not have any problems with their kids even as young as 11 or 12 reading Eight Seconds (unless they are completely hostile towards the topic of homosexuality) because the text contains no strong language nor any type of direct sexual activity.

John’s sense of “innocent self-discovery” during his late teens is one of the most attractive elements to this story as compared with other similar “coming out” novels, which frequently revolve around teens in a school environment and the difficulties they encounter. This particular “slower” coming out process will be one that many readers will be able to relate to. Another positive aspect of this novel is that while we are able to empathize with John through his personal evolution, we also see other characters in the story at varying levels of acceptance of homosexuality.

If you are interested in reading Eight Seconds, check your local library, your local bookstore, or order it on line.

You can find out more about the author Jean Ferris at her website.