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Booktalking "Money Boy" by Paul Yee


Imagine your father coming home with computer spy ware evidence that you had been visiting Chinese gay web sites. A recent immigrant to Canada from China, Ray Liu tried dating girls, but he felt no attraction. Ba told the boy that he was on his own. He placed 18-year-old Ray's clothes on the front lawn, in front of the neighbors. Rot!

No money, no home, no place to stay, no idea of how to support yourself. This book gives a gritty tour through the lack of hygiene, food, the drugs, the stigma of homelessness, the prostitution on Boy Street. When Ray is on the street, a robber steals all of the money on his person. In China, "money boys" are boys who sell sex to men; "ducks" are young boys who sell sex to women. Gay men are referred to as rabbits by some people in China.

Luckily, his half-brother Jian comes to visit him at a shopping mall. Ray has to restrain himself from eating the leftover feast from another mall goer, such is the hunger that consumes him. Too proud to stay at a shelter if he has money for a hostel, but he requests money from his brother.

The language barrier, lack of family support, lack of money or a home, and being gay in a new world to him, Ray struggles to survive. 

Money Boy by Paul Yee, 2011

The realities of homelessness and extreme poverty are a little bit hard to take in this work. I love reading books with gay themes, and books about how people live in different cultures. I thought that this book was an excellent portrayal of how challenging it can be for young people to come out when their families are not necessarily supportive.


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