The Road To Amazing Finds Clarity And Purpose In An Unlikely Destination
I was fourteen when I came across The Geography Club. It felt meaningful to read as a young freshman in high school who was unsure of himself. My friends were oddballs, upperclassmen who chose to hang out with the lone gay kid. Somehow, it felt nice to relate to Russel Middlebrook whose quirky friends, Min and Gunnar, resembled my own. It was the very first book I read that featured a gay protagonist. Every so often I will pick that book up and reread and it transports me to another time and place, and for that, thank you Mr. Brent Hartinger. The Road to Amazing has brought out a much needed purpose in my life that I was scared to even put into words, and yet, I found so much truth in it.
Having grown up alongside Russel is quite unusual, I mean how many readers age with a fictional character? In the final installment of The Futon Years, Russel is getting hitched to his on-and-off again boyfriend, Kevin Land. Ten years ago I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but hey, it is 2016 and same-sex marriage is happening across the States. Brent brings in current topics as dialogue, and I would find myself agreeing with Min’s liberal politics or hoping to have my own Vernie Rose impart some sage advice. It’s not just an unusual cast of characters that include a famous actor, a rich friend, intelligent and brilliant individuals that add to the magic of this series; it’s the truth behind each character. They are all adults now, scurrying about with adult things, things that I have to do. That was the scariest, all-too-real moment and I freaked because people exist not for you/me, they exist because they are actual people with their own lives.
For once, Russel only provides humor in the last of The Futon Years. His fiancé provides the worry about their wedding, hoping that nothing would ruin their perfect day. As luck would have it, or fate or whatever the hell the universe likes to dump on us, everything goes to shit! A dead orca washes on the shore, leaving the stench of death in the air. SPOILERS AHEAD, a windstorm knocks out the power, putting a damper in the caterer’s plans, change of venue is hard to come by, the fear of cancelling an important moment, somehow, all of it could be easily resolved because solutions can be found thanks to a certain brilliant and bizarre genius. Now, I can’t go away spoiling the rest of the novel but just believe everything can work out for the better, even if things don’t go exactly as you planned.
As for the part that I was afraid to put into words before this book entered my life — I was worried I would become a boring person. It wasn’t until some wise knowledge from Russel himself did I feel confident in who I am, that it’s my choice in what I do with my life. I am twenty-four years old. I am an editor for Sensible Reason, and I work a part-time job in retail and I can honestly say I love doing both. I meet interesting and memorable characters in both fields. Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that what I do, I do it because I love it and I know it’s the right choice for me. My favorite musicians will often give a shout-out for my work, I get to read these awesome books; overall, I get to lead this exciting life. This is the road to amazing and it’s my decision on where I go.
The Road to Amazing is out now! Visit Brent’s website to find more information on how to obtain your copy! And as a little bonus enjoyment in your life, Brent himself sang a song he wrote for the book with a music video set to the film adaption of The Geography Club. Watch “This Time And Place” below!