Sweet Tooth is the story of a gay Type 1 diabetic kid growing up in the 80s and 90s. As you could probably already guess, this book was pretty weird. But is was a good kind of weird…a really refreshing and good kind of weird.
My dad was actually fairly recently diagnosed with diabetes, so this book was good timing. It’s not quite the same, since my dad’s is Type 2 and didn’t develop until adulthood (and he’s not gay!), but getting to see a really nitty-gritty inside view of what living with diabetes is like was very eye-opening for me. Tim suffers from dangerously low levels of low blood sugar multiple times throughout this novel, and what occurs because of that is, at the same time, somewhat horrifying but also a little bit hilarious (actually, a lot hilarious).
And I think that was the point of this book…sometimes being gay, or different, or suffering from something like diabetes, can be awful and really suck. But many of the stories that can come out of those situations, once looked at in hindsight, are actually quite funny. Tim’s outlook on life seems to be that even the most dire circumstances can become hilarious, if seen in a certain light. This positive mindset is constantly apparent throughout the book, and made it so that Sweet Tooth was not only funny but also served as a lesson.
“As all gay folks know, the road to gay hell is paved with the good intentions of straight people.”
I really enjoyed everything about this book…from it’s humor to it’s parabolic nature, and Tim’s relatable voice most of all. Sweet Tooth was such a good book because of how easy it was to connect with its narrator. Tim is every high school kid who’s ever worried about being different, is every teenager who’s ever wondered if he’s gay, is every college student who just wants to find friends and fit in, is every 20-something who can’t quite figure out their place in life and is the “I can’t afford my blood sugar test strips, but let’s go get some Bojangles” kind of broke. I could relate to Tim at every point in his story, and I liked how accurately and how much of his humanness was weaved in throughout.
The one that I didn’t love about this book were the third-person-narrated little inserts between each chapter. It was just kind of weird. And although the rest of Sweet Tooth was the good kind of weird, those little sections were the bad kind, and I found myself rapidly skimming over them so that I could get to the next chapter faster.
But overall, Sweet Tooth was awesome. It’s incredibly real, incredibly human, and incredibly funny. I laughed out loud countless times while reading it, and I loved it’s good-weirdness and how different it was from other memoirs I’ve read. I’d recommend this memoir to LGBT readers and fans, as well as anybody who’s dealt with diabetes personally or second-hand. This was definitely a cool book that I won’t forget for a long time.