Going the Distance by John Goode

Title :  Going the Distance                 Word Count : 81,982

Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance / Young Adult

Blurb : Looking like the perfect all-American boy—tall, handsome, and athletic—makes it easy for Danny Monroe to blend in with the in-crowd of a new high school. It’s a trick he picked up moving with his father from one Marine base to the next. When you aren’t going to be around long, it’s better to give people what they want. And what they want are his quick hands and fast feet on the basketball court.

On court, he can be himself and ignore certain strange developing urges. Everyone knows you can’t like boys and be a jock, but for Danny his growing attraction is becoming overwhelming. At the thought of losing the only thing that matters, Danny starts to panic and realizes he has a choice to make: happiness or basketball.

My Review :  It must be extremely  hard to try to outrun yourself,  it’s virtually impossible. Army brat  Danny  has first hand experience of this, since the first time he was caught fooling around with his friend at a sleepover and the friend hung him out to dry. His father was exceptionally dissapointed  in him and threatened to send him away. Danny promised his dad that it would  never happen again and suppressed any desires or questions  he ever had about his sexuality.  This holds true until he meets Cody Franks, one of the guys on his basketball team,  an all around  good  guy. Cody and Danny forms a bond where they become the best of friends,  but there is a doorway that is opened in their relationship  that could lead to some thought provoking questions. After a team member sees them kissing on the court one night, Danny pushes Cody away, shuts him out and stops being friends with him. Danny didn’t even get to say goodbye or apologize  when he heard that Cody was moving away.

 Danny is devastated but he does nothing more than push his true self further away.The more you deny your true self is the more you lose the most important  part of yourself. Danny decides the best way to lose himself is to do it through something that he loves and is good at, basketball. This works for all of two minutes, until he starts changing into an unrecognizable  bitter team captain who has isolated and backed himself into a very  far corner. 

After getting dressed down by his coach after a lost game due to his inflated ego, Danny gets into a horrible  car accident. After having an out of body near death experience,  Danny sees himself for what he truly is. It takes his accident for him to finally face up to the truth, that he just might be gay. He has to come to realize  that  he is lucky to be alive and he  needs to stop using other people as a way to hide and deny his sexuality. He faces a constant  battle with his sexuality. His friend  Nate helps him to cope after his accident. Nate accepts that his friend is possibly gay, but Danny refuses to acknowledge  the truth of his desires.

This novel truly resonates with me because it touches on the many facets of life. This is a true coming of age story that talks about love, heartbreak, disappointments, faith, perseverance and throughout  it all fear. Danny gets a lot of things wrong along the way, but that just makes him a teenager and human. It takes a lot of soul searching  and Cody reappearing for Danny to gain forgiveness for his harsh treatment . He has to learn to love himself first and foremost  before he can find love. In my estimation  this novel was definitely a journey. It shows the struggles that many gay or questioning athletes feel that they need to go through to prove themselves to the world. Danny’s journey leaves us on a cliffhanger  with many unanswered questions. I give this my ratings of 3- it was ok, give it a try.  I was left unfulfilled and yearning to  see where Danny would end up.  

Favorite Quotes : 1. “If we are servants of God, and I mean true servants and not just in name, then we have an obligation to love everyone in the name of the Lord. Not just the people we agree with and not just the things we can understand, but everything. Saint Augustine said it best when he wrote ‘Cum dilectione huminum et odio vitiorum.’ It translates as ‘With love for mankind and hatred of sins,’ but nowadays we just say love the sinner, but hate the sin. And though it is true we must love the sinner, I think Augustine got it right the first time. With love for mankind. That is the point, for all of mankind. Not the white folks or the straight ones or the nice ones, for all mankind. ( If we all lived our life by these dictates, the world  would be a  far better place.)

2. You think the answer is hating them? You’re wrong, dead wrong. And I assure you, if you think the fact you are here, dressed up on a Sunday, is a golden ticket to heaven, it isn’t. You want to quote Corinthians and tell me that the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, or men who practice homosexuality will not inherit the kingdom of God, then be sure to finish the quote with thieves, greedy people, drunks, revilers, and swindlers too. You think having money and wanting more is good? Not according to that quote. You want to think getting the best out of a deal is good, you’re better off finding another passage to defend it.” (People are always quick to throw stones in a glass house, rather than see the sins and wrongs that they  have committed. )