Guy in Real Life by Steven Brezenoff


This was a pretty infuriating novel. It didn't focus on the issues it should have, is full of objectification of women, and doesn't have very relatable or interesting characters.

Lesh is a metal-head, who spends his time listening to music and hanging out with his video-game loving best friend, Greg. Svetlana is a dungeon master who spends her time sewing and doing her best to ignore her family and their love of soccer. The two meet in the middle of the night; Lesh is drunk and on his way home from a concert, and Svetlana is on her bike, on her way home from a friend's house. And everything changes.

Lesh is hooked instantly by Svetlana's hair and personality; so much so that when he begins to play his computer game for the first time, he creates his character after her. So begins a complicated relationship between acting like a woman online, and being a guy in real life. Lesh is confused, to say the least, especially when he begins to fall in love with the actual Svetlana. What will happen when she finds out what he's doing? How could she forgive him?


This book was very disappointing. Everything was just...wrong. I don't know how else to put it. The plot wasn't very organized. It didn't feel like there was really a point to the book for the long time. The relationships weren't really progressing, there wasn't a problem that needed to be solved. It was confusing. And this issue I think is most important, the issue of gender identity, was barely a part of the book. It was a side issue that didn't get the attention it deserved, because it wasn't treated right. It was just thrust upon us, and we were supposed to believe it was a part of the book the whole time, when it was only mentioned once or twice. Every amateurish to me.


The characters were probably my least favorite part of the book. Before I start with Lesh and Svetlana, I want to talk about Lesh's friends first. They were terrible. They used "fag" and "gay" to end every other sentence, and Jelly, who becomes a second love interest for Lesh, is just in the book to start drama, not with real purpose of substance.

Svetlana was fine, there wasn't anything bad about her, but there wasn't anything really magnificent either. But I hated that every single guy in her immediate group of friends, that wasn't gay, was obsessed with her. They didn't just have a crush on her, they wanted to marry her and build shrines to her. It felt very cliche; like the popular girl that all the guys want, except she's the hippie that every guy who meets her wants.

And Lesh was very misogynistic. As a guy who might maybe identify a little bit as a female, or at least admires the female identity and gender, he really treated women terribly. Every girl he looked at he objectified. I understand that he's a hormonal teenager, but still. It was very disturbing to read. I really didn't like it, which made me more critical of everything he did. I just wish the novel would have focused more on his gender identity than on his obsession with the female ass.


I didn't really like the relationship between Svetlana and Lesh. It was underdeveloped. Lesh is just immediately obsessed with her and her looks, and we are supposed to believe that because of that, they are meant to be. Puh-lease. I don't want to read that shit anymore. Maybe you should try to get to know a person before you decide build a fantastical character around her image.


The writing was very mediocre. It had a lot of "and suddenly"s and writing what a character says instead of writing it as dialogue. It wasn't terrible, very straightforward, but I wanted a little more creativity.

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