Bacon Grief

Young Adult - Romance
153 Pages
Reviewed on 04/02/2022
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Author Biography

Joel Shoemaker has been a librarian for a decade and a magician for three! He lives in central Illinois with his husband and his dog, Maximus. He consumes an inordinate amount of cheese.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite

Joel Shoemaker’s Bacon Grief tells the story of two teens who are devoutly religious and deeply in love—with each other. Charlie is a 16-year-old teenager from Illinois who is well-versed in musical theatre. Tim loves The Lord of the Rings, computer games, singing, playing piano, pickles and olives. The two met online, where everything began with their fascinating discussion on food and fashion. They go to the same high school, and Tim, being the son of a Baptist Church pastor, invites Charlie to their church. Charlie then invites Tim to a drama club where Tim decides to try theater as a hobby. In the process, they discover that they are both in love with Jesus and with each other. Coming out proves easier for Charlie as he is surrounded by supportive people. Tim’s family, on the other hand, is hurt by this. His parents ask him to repent and attend counseling sessions for possible remedies. Will their love for each other weather the storm?

Charlie's and Tim’s differences and their common ground make up the message of this novella, a message that you may or may not agree with depending on where you stand. One thing is definite though, Joel Shoemaker doesn’t stop at good storytelling; he also wants you to think. The story is succinct and well-written with a pathos that cannot be ignored, and you might even appreciate it - even if you disagree. Shoemaker’s writing style is excellent and so intelligently done that it is worth reading this book. Apart from their sexuality, Charlie and Tim are realistic when it comes to their takes on religion, snacks, and fashion, which sound wickedly funny most of the time. Readers will find Bacon Grief highly entertaining in its argument that the most important thing about individuality is to be who you are.

Clarissa Pattern

This book was a really great find, the quirky narrative style makes the characters come alive. Charlie is a beautiful protagonist navigating the potential angst of first love, aligning sexuality with church going, and finding a place in the school drama club, all with buoyant humour and hope.

The choice to use footnotes fits perfectly with Charlie's character, a logophile who gets Tim's attention with his wide vocabulary. The seriousness of Tim being torn between his parents' belief about what the Bible teaches and his growing attraction to Charlie is presented realistically, but the tone of the novel remains positive. People are flawed and make their decision based on hundreds of unknown factors, but there is always a place where you will be accepted and loved.