Simon James Green, Children/Teens Gay Author, On The Warpath – Not A Pretty Sight, Folks!editor
Update: 16 March 2022
Incredibly, today, a snap Ofsted Inspection has taken place in the school, so I’ve opened a new discussion thread here
I will now close this thread to comments.
Original post follows…
The author – Simon James Green – enraged that his book-signing events scheduled to take place in one Catholic secondary school on Monday, 7th March and another Catholic primary school on Wednesday 9 March have been cancelled, has launched a campaign to encourage his LGBTQ+ supporters to “make a noise” – i.e. badger the Archdiocese for daring to insist that the school’s Catholic identity be protected and the event(s) cancelled. Cheek of that archdiocese! What?!* Was that cancellation really necessary? I mean, the author, dear old Simon James Green, is quoted as saying he was merely coming in to the school to “talk about his novel Noah Can’t Even, which features a gay character.”
What on earth is the harm in that? Buckle up and pay attention because you’re about to find out. (If you’ve not read it yet, click here to reach our original discussion on this topic).
A reader, having obtained a copy of the book (kindle edition) had a look to see whether the book is merely featuring a gay character or if it is something more than that, Trust me, it’s something (quite a lot, actually) more than that. Sit up and pay attention…
In its 230 pages, you will be surprised to learn that – for a book merely ‘featuring’ a gay character – the word “gay” comes up 64 times. For a book that isn’t at all to do with sexual activity in any way, sex comes up 83 times. Read those two sentence again, and then move on – but I must warn readers that in the scene to follow, there is pure filth, if that’s not a contradiction in terms. Be warned… but also be aware that kids in Years 8 and 9 (2nd and 3rd Years in Scotland) are being encouraged to read this, and some WILL read it. May already have done so, in preparation for dear old Simon’s visit, planned so that he could – with a flourish of his pen – sign the books purchased by parents for their sons in the mistaken belief that the story merely “features a gay character”. I wonder if there would be any mention of it if the book featured a Scots character? And if there is no Scots character, why not? What’s wrong with having a Scots character in the book? Racism, it’s just everywhere, isn’t it. And Simon James Green, too, who’d have thought it?
From a skim through the book, our reader tells me, it is quite clear that the story is in fact completely centred on the theme of how a teenage boy (Noah), from a less than ideal family situation, ‘discovers he is gay’ … indeed…he is shocked and surprised by this given the fact that the book begins with plans to kiss a girl (kiss comes up 107 times) but then, at a drunken party, things work out differently.
Here is the scene (Warning, not everyone’s cup of tea, to put it mildly)…
“Oh, what the hell,” Harry muttered, putting his hand behind Noah’s head and pulling him towards him. He never thought the day would come. Things like this just didn’t happen to him. So he’d never given it any thought … but now … it was… It was actually happening. To him. Their lips touched, and his heart was immediately all thump thump thump. His stomach lurching, heavy, like before an exam, or when someone says “I’ve got bad news.” Thump. Lurch. But sort of nice. And some sort of terrible. Definitely weird. Sick and warm and trembling hands that he didn’t know what to do with. What the hell was going on? What was Harry doing? Harry was kissing him, that’s what, but why? Why were they kissing? And why was Noah allowing himself to be kissed like this? Was Harry suddenly gay? Harry was never gay before. Not that Noah had noticed, anyway. And he, Noah, wasn’t gay either. Was he? They were both drunk. He couldn’t feel his nose. They were still kissing. It was tender and soft and … Harry was good at it. Had he done this before? He was a master at kissing. A pro. Noah needed to buy time. He needed to work things out. In the absence of any other options, the best thing to do was to continue kissing…. He’d come here to kiss Sophie, and now he was kissing Harry. This wasn’t in the plan! He’d been ambushed by Harry … and now his first kiss was a big gay kiss and not a girl kiss, like he’d planned … like he surely wanted? “Are you…” Noah began, desperate to buy time, “are you … are you gay … or…?” “If wanting to do stuff with other boys means I’m gay, then yes, I’m gay.” “Well, that is what it means. Unless you’re bi, or just experimenting. You know, trying things out…” “No, it’s not like that. I’m gay.” Noah nodded and swallowed hard. It all sounded very final. How had he missed this? How had he not realized? He almost didn’t want this to be true. If it was true, it had to be faced. He didn’t want to face it. He wasn’t ready. He didn’t know how. “So … is this a recent thing, or…” “Not really. I’ve just never fancied girls.” “Right. But maybe … that doesn’t mean you’ll never fancy girls. Maybe you just don’t fancy the girls at our school. Maybe that’s all.” “But I fancy the boys. Some of them.” “Right.” “I fancy you,” Harry said”
So, the book is essentially about a teenager seduced by another boy at school and then over the rest of the book confirmed into an identity that he too is in fact ‘gay’. And of course, he proves this by passionately kissing the girl he had thought himself attracted to.
His gran, who earlier in the book is depicted as the humorous, wise and loving friend to the main character, reassures Noah in his confusion…
““Gay, straight, it’s all the same. Kiss who you want, I say. You can’t help whom you love. I had a dalliance once with a girl called Meredith Southgate.” “What? Really?” said Noah, not really wanting to know, but at the same time, really wanting to know. “Don’t you be wrinkling your nose like that!” she scolded him. “You should be a bit more open-minded. I used to be your age, you know. And one day you’ll be mine, and then you can reassure your grandchildren that all the nonsense they’ve got up to is nothing new and you’ve already been there, done that, got the tea cosy.” “T-shirt.” “Just chill out about it, Peanut. You’re probably making it a hundred times worse for yourself by worrying. If you don’t care, no one else will either – react and you play straight into their hands.” Maybe she was right. Old people usually were. People could probably see it was stressing him out, so they were just winding him up even more. “You know what I did when they found out about me and Meredith?” she said. “I embraced it. I didn’t deny it. Although I didn’t confirm it either. I was aloof about the whole thing. Maintained an air of dignified silence and mystery.””
So, for a book depicted as ‘featuring a gay character’, we discover that the book is, in fact, a teen ‘discovery’ and ‘coming out as gay’ story, with the idea very firmly being placed that the correct response to a potentially passing teenage attraction, is to identify yourself as ‘gay’, and to begin relationships with a guy of the same sex as well as fantasising about other guys.
There is also a scene in which Noah blasphemously characterises the Lord’s prayer being said by a teacher in assembly:
“Let us pray,” “Our Father, who art the gay boy? Noah be his name…” Oh yes, “people have better things to think about.” “He makes Harry come. He gives him one. On earth as it is in heaven…” “And lead him straight into temptation. Right into a gay bar. For Noah is a gay boy. Who likes to suck cock. For ever and ever. He’s gay.” “OK, sit yourselves down!” said Mr Baxter, head of year. The Year Elevens all shuffled back into their seats. Noah despondently plopped back down, straight on to a banana that the hilarious occupants of the row behind had placed on his seat during the prayer. “Awww – right up his arse!” said one of the lads. (It wasn’t.) “He loves it!” said another. (He didn’t.) “Oh, Harry! Do it to me!” sighed a girl. (Not a phrase he would ever use. He wasn’t a porn star with no class.)
Listening to the enthusiastic young woman in the video, would you have a clue about the reality of this book? Her breathless uncritical praise is really signalling the advent of an entirely new genre in its own right – how to review a book without actually detailing the content!
If you want a book that just happens to feature a gay character, try Brideshead revisited, a remarkable example of Catholic fiction. Here you see the topic navigated much more faithfully, yet totally respectfully. If you want a ‘gay coming out story’ as a celebration and induction into the fantasy world of LGBT, a world at odds with Catholic morality, try “Noah Can’t Even”.
I have no (printable) words for this author, and whoever organised his invitation into not one, but two Catholic schools. In order to achieve these invitations, he’s had to falsely represent his books – certainly Noah Can’t Even is not a book which merely features a gay character. That is not true.
And having been caught out, with the event(s) now cancelled, we see the other side of the grinning Simon James Green – the apparently vindictive side, where he seems determined to punish the Archdiocese of Southwark for doing what it was established to do, defend and spread the Catholic Faith, in season and out of season, against all enemies, domestic and foreign. I am hearing from all sides that the archdiocese is not fazed, that it is standing firm and so, on this Feast of St John Ogilvie SJ, Scotland’s only canonised Reformation martyr, I cannot express sufficiently, my admiration for all those on the side of Truth who have refused to be bullied by the LGBTQ+ lobby into silence and/or compliance. Deo gratias!
St John Ogilvie, pray for us! The Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, pray for us!