A chronicle of boys in love

Say Tola / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Author Soung Mak. Supplied

“High School in Love” is author Soung Mak’s second book, released at the end of last year, which depicts love among boys. It’s about a handsome boy who comes to the city from his province and falls in love with his classmate.

Mak’s writing style in “High School in Love” is contemporary and he uses emojis to express the feelings of his characters. These help the readers visualize facial expressions, once the characters respond back to each other.

The book starts off with Samut and Norty. Ironically, they detest each other when they meet at the first day of school because one thinks that the other is more handsome. But as time goes by, Samut (though he has a girlfriend) becomes obsessed with everything that Norty does and secretly admires him. Unsuspecting to Samut, Norty, too, has a crush on him and feels jealous when the popular Samut talks to girls.

One day Samut sees Norty waiting for motorcycle taxi and decides to give him a lift. Samut then takes Norty to his house and decides to confess his love to him. At first, Norty is taken aback and shocked, but he too confesses that he can’t live without Samut. Then they decide to make love.

The beauty of “High School in Love” is that it examines feelings and Mak writes about it brilliantly.

Both Samut and Norty are in love but they can’t openly show it because of taboos in society.

In one part of the book, when Samut has to change school he pretends to have a new girlfriend to avoid hurting Norty. Norty’s good looks on the other hand attracts guys, and Samut feels jealous when he sees him hanging out with other boys.

“High School in Love” uses a lot of slang language which is popular among youth. Adopting the vocabulary of a non-mainstream culture helps youth connect with their peers and seek their advice. This is clearly evident when they have personal or sexual problems.

“I wrote ‘High School in Love’ because I knew other writers also wanted to write such stories but didn’t dare publish them due to fear of being criticised. For me, however, it’s different. I want to do things that others haven’t done and I don’t care what others think of me. I’m not afraid of criticism,” said Mak in an interview.

It took Mak three years to complete the book and he explains why.

“I started publishing these series of stories in my blog between 2009 and 2012.

“At times the plot of the story challenged me and I didn’t know how to continue it on further. But the comments and feedbacks on my blog really helped me continue on. They just gave me ideas on how I should continue on with the story.”

Social norms are challenged in “High School in Love” and it gives a voice to those who might be muffled by their holier-than-thou parents and teachers.

This book is available at Raintree building.

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