I volunteered to write a post about Perry Moore, who died on February 17, 2011. Moore was only 39 years old, and the cause of death is still unknown. I had never heard of Mr. Moore, nor read any of his work, but I wanted to learn more about his impact on gay youth.
Whatever the reason for my research, I am now a HUGE fan.
Perry Moore gained fame and success as an executive producer of the Chronicles of Narnia films, based on the books by C.S. Lewis. The three films have been incredibly popular and profitable, grossing over $1.5 billion. Moore then wrote a companion film guide to the series that made it on to the New York Times paperback bestseller list. He also wrote and directed a film, “Lake City”, starring Sissy Spacek.
As an author, Perry Moore only wrote two books, one of them being the companion guide to the Narnia films. It’s his other book, Hero, which brought a new perspective to YA fiction through its protagonist, Thom, a gay teenager with superpowers. Hero won a Lambda Literary Award as the best novel for young gay and lesbian adults in 2008; YALSA interviewed Moore just a year ago (read the interview here) Moore, who was a lifelong comics fan, publicly spoke out about the lack of gay comic book characters and the treatment of the existing ones. Hero, according to Moore’s website, was meant to be the first in a series of books about â€œmodern-day superheroes.â€
So I did my research and decided to see if my local library had a copy of Hero. I found oneâ€¦and finished it in less than 24 hours. It was good; really, really good. It’s action-packed, and funny, and includes some terrific characters. It reminds me of the significance in being who you are, and the challenges we all face in living that way. I’m grateful to Moore for publishing this story and living openly, inspiring others with his truth.
Hero includes a scene where Ruth, a much older superhero, explains to Thom that her interracial marriage in her youth was destroyed because her husband was â€œcolored,â€ and then explains the term to Thom. He comments in his narration that she did that because the word isn’t used anymore, and hopes the same will someday be true for the word â€œfaggot.â€
– Casey O’Leary, currently reading Messenger by Lois Lowry