I swear it did. It laughed and it changed as I watched. As it changed, it stayed the same.
Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith
The river was all about time, it was about how little time actually mattered. I looked at my watch.
I was an hour and a half late. The river laughed at me again. It looks like an interesting project. Girl Meets Boy is Smith's retelling of Ovid's story of Iphis and Ianthe, which deals with the idea gender fluidity or transformation within the context of heteronormativity. What Smith does, however, is to tell the story, or rather a story playing with similar ideas, in the context of two sisters, Anthea and Imogen "Midge"based in one of my favourite places - Inverness.
Anthea is a free-spirited idealist who dislikes her job in the local PR firm her sister got her.
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Imogen is a straight-laced pragmatist who is pursuing her ambitions in the same firm, which currently tries to market over-priced bottled water. The story really kicks off when a protester by the artistic alias of Iphis07 vandalises the PR firm's property: The boy up the ladder at the gate was in a kilt and sporran. The kilt was a bright red tartan; the boy was black-waistcoated and had frilly cuffs, I could see the frills at his wrists as I came closer.
I could see the glint of the knife in his sock. I could see the glint of the little diamond spangles on the waistcoat and the glint that came off the chain that held the sporran on. He had long dark hair winged with ringlets, like Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean, but cleaner.
Plot summary[ edit ] Openly gay sophomore Paul lives in a gay-friendly small town in New Jersey, where homosexualitybisexualityand being transgender is accepted and embraced. His best friends at this stage are Joni, who he has been best friends with since early childhood and who he came out to in second grade, and Tony, who is also gay and who lives in the much less accepting next town over with his strict religious parents.
On a night out with Joni and Tony, listening to a friend play music in a bookstore, Paul meets Noah and is instantly enraptured. They discover that they attend the same school, and after some miscommunication and false starts, they track each other down, and start to date. At the same time, Joni who has recently broken up with her long-term boyfriend Ted for the twelfth time starts to date Chuck, a football player who was extremely cruel to Paul's friend Infinite Darlene, when his crush on her turned out to be unrequited.
This relationship causes a great deal of tension within Joni and Paul's friendship, and also upsets Ted and Infinite Darlene.
The previous year, Paul had dated Kyle, who then dumped him and spread the rumor that Paul had 'tricked' him into being gay. As Paul's relationship with Noah starts to flourish, Kyle also attempts to come back into Paul's life.
He apologizes to Paul and starts coming to him for comfort and support, as he is uncertain about his sexuality and his aunt has recently died. While Paul is at first cautious, he comes to understand Kyle more and see him as a friend.
Paul confesses everything to Joni, who then tells Chuck. Chuck spreads this all around the school, and before long people are placing bets on what they think the outcome will be.
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Noah's feelings towards Paul seem to cool at this stage. Tony is having a great deal of trouble coping with his homophobic parents, and decides to go for a hike with Paul to nearby woods. After their hike, Paul hugs Tony tightly, only to be interrupted by Tony's mother's best friend, who spreads this to everyone she knows. Rumors start to fly that Paul and Tony are a couple, and Tony is forbidden from seeing him.
The next day, Kyle is feeling a great deal of stress and fear, and Paul kisses him. Noah hears the rumor about Paul and Tony, and in the process of denying that anything happened between the two of them, he inadvertently confesses the fact that he kissed Kyle that day.
On hearing this, Noah breaks up with him, and not long afterwards, Paul and Joni's friendship seems to break.
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Paul is arranging the Dowager's Dance, a dance held yearly by his high school. The theme of the dance is to be 'death', and in order to study this theme, the planning committee including Kyle go to a cemetery one evening. When Kyle and Paul find themselves alone together, Kyle kisses Paul and tells him that he loves him. Paul says that he doesn't feel the same way, and Kyle is upset and leaves. Paul goes to see Tony and explain everything to him, and Tony confesses that he's feeling troubled by everything that's been happening but that he's working on showing his parents that he is more than just his sexuality, and that being gay won't stop him from living a full and happy life.
Tony's mother comes home and catches Paul and Tony talking, but instead of getting mad, Tony quietly challenges her and she finally allows Tony to see Paul again.
Tony also decides that he wants to go to the upcoming dance, and he and Paul decides that his parents are most likely to let him attend if a large group of people comes to pick him up.
Paul realizes that he is still in love with Noah, and that what he has to do is show him how he feels.
Over seven days he sets himself to seven tasks for Noah to prove his love and make his apology: Their relationship starts afresh. Paul goes to see Joni and ask her to be a part of the group picking Tony up for the dance, but Joni refuses, saying that she and Chuck had already made plans.
Paul challenges her, implying that she's letting Chuck control her, and leaves. The night of the dance arrives, and Paul gathers the group to go to Tony's house and ask his parents if he can come with them. At the last minute, Joni arrives with Chuck to join the group.
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Tony's mother gives her permission for Tony to go to the dance, despite clear signs of uncertainty. Instead of going straight to the dance, the group go to a clearing in the woods where Tony and Paul hike. They start holding their own celebration there, dancing and talking and laughing.
Tony and Kyle talk and dance together, and Paul and Noah dance together for song after song. Paul looks around him, wanting to fix this image in his mind forever, and the book finishes with him thinking to himself: Main characters[ edit ] Paul: