Eight Seconds Review

Eight Seconds
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The world of bull riding is not anything that I'm familiar with. Growing up in the suburbs, my life was skateboarding and walking down to the U-Totem to pick up the latest Archie comic book. But one great thing about dating is that you constantly and endlessly exposed to the new. My boyfriend, a rodeo fan, picked up this book on a recent trip and devoured it, and handing it to me saying "Read this". I did, and found a beautiful, intriguing coming out tale.
John Ritchie is the main character, a normal teenage boy whose life on the ranch is seemingly idyllic. He has a family that loves him, chores to do, and a vision for his future, well as strong a vision that a teenage boy could have. His father suggests that he attend a rodeo school, which John cannot wait to attend. Going with his best friend Bobby, he meets Kit, a tall, strong cowboy with whom he feels an immediate attachment. Kit and John become friends, and spend their time at rodeo camp discussing how they've always felt different from others. Upon returning home from camp, John learns his new friend, challenging him to the core, both about his beliefs about homosexuality and his own internal struggling with it.
Ferris does something wonderful with this story. She allows John's eventual discovery of who he is to come slowly and naturally. It's both sweet and without much fanfare, but powerful enough to launch John on the rocky and uneven path of acceptance we've all walked. For anyone just coming out, this book shows that path, a small section of it, as a positive step forward.
Set in the world of rodeos, this book also serves as a primer for those of us city folk uninitiated with that world. The rodeo scenes were authentic and honest, and why anyone would want to sit on a bull for eight seconds is beyond me, but you appreciate the characters desires to do so.
Eight Seconds is a powerful, simple coming out story, with an interesting, unexpected ending, that left me thinking for days, as I'm sure it would you.

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