With Love, Simon is the new name for “Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda”, By Becky Albertally, first released in Brazil in 2016 and, in 2018 with a new edition, as a result of the film, by the Intrinsic publisher.
Simon Spier is 16 and a normal boy. He has a loving family and nice friends. Although he is not the most popular person in the school, we do not see a “borocochô” character, but someone very interesting. Simon and his family live in the suburb of Atlanta, Georgia and attend Creekwood High School. But what nobody knows is that he keeps a big secret: he is gay and he does not talk about it with anyone, because he does not see problems in his sexual orientation, but rejects the idea of having to explain things to people - after all, why only gays have to present themselves to the world? Do we heteros need to go through this? Why is it simpler for some than for others?
As he reads, Simon exchanges e-mails with a boy named Blue. Both hide their true identities. At all times Simon identifies himself as Jaccques and everything is going well, until one day, he uses the school computer and does not end the session ... someone prints his messages sent to Blue and starts to blackmail him. And in that moment, everything seems confused. Does he see blackmail or not? Dealing with doubts, with insecurities, with accepting not only yourself, but the world and still not being sure whether or not you want to reveal yourself is very complicated.
“I am tired of living in a world where I cannot be who I am. I deserve a great love story and I want someone to share it with. ” - Simon
The book deals with maturity and in the course of the plot we see the growth of Simon and the other characters. Each character has its own story and we know about each one even though it was narrated in the first person. A very interesting detail is the identity of Blue that we only know at the end of the book. The essence of the work is self-love and not being afraid and facing difficulties. We are able to feel what he feels at all times of stress, anger, happiness, sadness ... and we hope that he can actually be happy.
Something that draws a lot of attention, is the writing of Becky that is light and flows in the course of reading. She manages to show each feeling through words and each chapter has the feeling of falling in love too. And in addition to all this, many reflections on sexuality are discussed in the book, this question of coming out and how it can be complicated and even more when they take that moment from you as it happens at a certain moment in the plot. Blackmail is now taking shape and of gigantic proportions. We see many manifestations of prejudice, of disrespect, but we also see the attitude of adults who are sensitive to the cause. Who fight for equality and repudiate any act of violence. The most touching moment is the family that accepts and welcomes, each in its own way, but welcomes Simon as he is.
“Why is the straight guy the standard? Everyone should declare in one way or another, and it shouldn't be that weird, whether you're straight, gay, bi or whatever. I'm just saying. ” - Simon
Many chapters are composed only of the e-mails that Jacques (Simon) and Blue exchange. And it is very beautiful, as both are sincere and natural. And we realize that in each word is printed a demonstration of love, affection, affection, looks, musical references and others are very present and make them create their own relationship and it works, even if virtually. It is worth mentioning that, despite the theme, it is a light story with several moments of humor and that sends a message, but chooses to bring it between moments of relaxation, in a very soft setting. Simon is white, has a structured family that loves him, is of upper middle class, has his group of friends and lives a very good life. But none of this detracts from the fact that he still doesn't feel "safe" to expose his sexuality to the world.
And after he is exposed, he is forced to reveal himself and it is at that moment that the author puts our brain to think. Why is there so much “naturalness” in you being heterosexual, which is the main assumption that doesn't need to be announced? Even with the serious tone of the questioning, there is still a conversion to make everything light and relaxed. And other themes emerge as the family environment, the jokes about sexuality, the friendship between the characters, the love in adolescence and the school bullying that is always present. But Simon manages to deal with all this “snowball” in a serene and calm way.
The adaptation has its grace, although many things have been cut and changed, the film has that “High School” film footprint and the actor chosen for Simon was incredible. With love, Simon is a teenage love story that warmed any heart and makes us hope that they stay together and that they can overcome all the conflicts, difficulties and judgments that this new reality has in store for them. It is a work of belonging to the young and perhaps even of encouragement to the elders, in the choice or not to “present themselves” to the world.