Young Digby Swank is a sweet story about a young pudgy boy growing up in a Catholic world and eventually discovering that he was gay. The story opens with his mother discovering she was pregnant after already giving birth to 3 other children. Although she was less than thrilled at giving birth to another child she could not deny her somewhat strict Catholic faith.
As an infant, Digby had developed a sly little smirk. His smirk became an unnerving quality and set the tone for his “off” behavior, especially in the eyes of the people around him. With both parents having to go to work, Digby’s paternal Grandmother moved in to care for the boy. She was a stern and severe woman who was both illiterate and ignorantly religious.
Digby enjoyed playing dress up, having teatime and practicing his pageantry moves with dreams of being a “somebody” someday. His antics were innocent enough but was lost in translation once he attempted to execute his many plans. Digby, frustrated with the people around him, delves deeper into himself and through it all manages to continue marching to his own orchestra.
I think it was well into the 2nd or 3rd chapter that I realized how well written this book was. I was able to empathize with many of the characters even though I didn’t agree with some of them. In many ways, I was reminded of my own upbringing. There were several moments that the story had me laughing at the sheer craziness of Digby’s life.
You will definitely find yourself rooting for Digby as I was, to have all of his wishes come true, and you will find yourself standing beside him cheering for him to prevail when he is bullied and picked on. It caused me to reflect on similar situations that I experienced growing up and how those situations made me feel.
It’s the innocence of Digbys life that pulls you into the story and his wanting to fit in and be something spectacular! Young Digby Swank is a story about real life, a story of a Gay Catholic boy coming of age and trying to find himself while living in a messed up crazy world, one where God was always watching…Think of The Catcher in the Rye but with a gay Holden Caufield.
The book is a good read at about 350-ish pages give or take and I’ll be sure to check out other works by Mr. Keehnen. You can find Young Digby Swank at Wilde City.