I think the book cover for Pride by Jonathan Hill is really eye-catching. It's not often that I'm bothered about a book cover. I belong to the generation that borrowed most of its books from the public library where they were displayed spine outwards with only the title and author's name visible. So the fashion in recent years for artwork book covers has largely passed me by. But on this occasion I've gone back to look at this proud bird several times and think it is truly stunning.
Don't let the simple, easy narrative of Pride lead you into thinking this is a simple book; it isn't and that's because it works on a number of levels.
On the surface Pride tells the story of Liam, an adolescent who is coming-of-age and coming-out. It's a charming story of a young man who meets another and falls in love. There are ups and downs in an ever-changing social whirl but all is resolved in a happy-ever-after ending.
At the next level Pride is an exploration of the difficulties encountered by a young person who has come to terms with their orientation but is struggling to share the news. The author has explored sensitively some challenging relationships between parents and child. The reactions of others, both those who are empathetic and those who are openly hostile, adds depth to the story and provides the conflicts and tensions which make the book so engaging and interesting.
And at a third level author Jonathan Hill has managed to create a story which, although focussed on a young man who is gay, over-arches the emotional development of all adolescents. The values explored at this level are relevant to any situation where individuals from one social group move outside pre-conceived and expected mores. Pride is a paradigm of otherness and the search for inclusion.
There is an interesting juxtaposition of narrative intercut with reflections from the older, and wiser, Liam. And it's here where there are hints that all is not quite as happy-ever-after as the young Liam's story suggests. Maybe there is more of this story yet to tell.