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Authors: James Howe

Totally Joe

BOOK: Totally Joe
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Edited by James Howe

The Color of Absence: Twelve Stories about Loss and Hope

13: Thirteen Stories That Capture the Agony and Ecstasy of Being Thirteen

Atheneum Books for Young Readers

An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division

1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020

This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author's imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2005 by James Howe

All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

Book design by Kristin Smith

The text for this book is set in Jante Antiqua.

Manufactured in the United States of America

First Edition

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3

Howe, James, 1946-

Totally Joe / by James Howe.— 1st ed.

p. cm.

“Ginee Seo Books.”

Summary: As a school assignment, a thirteen-year-old boy writes an alphabiography—life from A to Z—and explores issues of friendship, family, school, and the challenges of being a gay teenager.

ISBN-13: 978-0-689-83957-3 (print)

ISBN-13: 978-1-4424-4943-5 (ebook)

ISBN-10: 0-689-83957-X

[1. Gays—Fiction. 2. Schools—Fiction. 3. Friendship—Fiction. 4. Family life—Fiction.] I. Title.

PZ7.H83727To 2005

[Fic]-dc22 2004022242


To Mr. Daly
(All Other Eyes KEEP OUT!


Part 1: October

Chapter 1: A is for Addie

Chapter 2: B is for Boy

Chapter 3: C is for Colin

Chapter 4: D is for Dating

Chapter 5: E is for E.T.

Chapter 6: F is for Family

Chapter 7: G is for The Gang of Five

Chapter 8: H is for Halloween

Part 2: November

Chapter 9: I is for Instant Message

Chapter 10: J is for Joe

Chapter 11: K is Not For Kissing

Chapter 12: L is for Leftovers

Part 3: December

Chapter 13: M is for Merry Christmas

Part 4: January

Chapter 14: N is for Names

Chapter 15: O is for Oy

Chapter 16: P is for Popular (Not)

Chapter 17: Q is for Questions

Chapter 18: R is for Religion

Part 5: February

Chapter 19: S is for Surprises

Chapter 20: T is for Thirteen

Part 6: March

Chapter 21: U is for Underwater

Chapter 22: V is for Victim (No More)

Chapter 23: W is for Writing

Chapter 24: X is for Xylophone

Chapter 25: Y is for Yesterday

Chapter 26: Z is for Zachary (Of Course)

March 10

Dear Mr. Daly,

Okay, I admit it. When you first gave us this assignment, I thought it was lame. Write about yourself from A-Z? Bo-ring. (No offense.) Besides worrying that I wouldn't know what to write for every single letter (Hello, does anybody
an x-word other than xylophone? And does anybody
the xylophone? And if they did, would anybody
), well, I was also thinking,
really tell the truth about myself?
I'm not ashamed of my life or anything. I'm only thirteen (twelve, when I started writing this), so I doubt I've gotten to the
embarrassing stuff yet, but, let's face it, I'm not exactly your average Joe and I get called plenty of names because of it. And then there was all the stuff that happened this year. I mean, was I really going to write about all that? And when you said we had to end every chapter with a Life Lesson to share with others, I thought:
Oh. My God. That is

But I got the point. You wanted us to think. You wanted this to be
something. But if it's about the real stuff—you know, the truth and all—well, I have to ask: Mr. Daly, did you think this one through? I mean, hello, we're in the seventh grade. Every single thing anybody knows about us is ammunition. And have you thought about the fact that we would end up talking about other people in our “alphabiographies,” as you call them? I mean, we could be sued for
. I know about this stuff. I watch Court TV.

Well, anyway, here it is. I started it in October and finished it last week. You're the first person to read it—other than me, I mean. I haven't even shown it to my best friends, who all shared what they wrote and were, like, “We're never speaking to you again” when I wouldn't let them read what I wrote—especially Addie, who doesn't know the meaning of “It's none of your business.” Well, actually, Bobby was okay with my not sharing. He respects privacy. But the others were, like, “Joe, it's not like we don't know everything about you, anyway.” But the thing is, I wrote stuff in here that I've never written down before. Some of it I didn't even
until I wrote it down. It's kind of personal (and some of it is seriously private). I had to decide if I should take some stuff out before
handing it in, but I liked writing it and it's all the truth—and that's what you said we should go for, right?

But the thing is, Mr. Daly, if you wouldn't mind keeping what I've written to yourself, that would be okay with me. Really. Whatever you do,
don't ask me to read any of it in front of the class, even if you think it's the best alphabiography you've ever read. I mean, I wouldn't want to betray other people—and the thing with my mother's high heels is not something I need everybody to know about. Ammunition, remember?

Yours truly,

BOOK: Totally Joe
9.17Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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