Whole New Thing (2005)
- Summaries (2)
After years of being home schooled by hippie parents, Emerson is enrolled at his local high school. The intelligent and androgynous youth confounds his classmates and captures the attention of his English teacher. The teacher-student relationship leads to problems for everyone involved.
Rog and Kaya Thorsen and their thirteen year old son Emerson Thorsen live in an isolated house they designed and built themselves in the woods in rural Nova Scotia. Rog and Kaya are hippies and have passed on their ideals to Emerson. They encourage free thinking and being open in all aspects, including not being ashamed of nudity. They frequently host potluck dinners where guests can freely exchange ideas, with Emerson treated as just another person and not as Rog and Kaya's teenaged son. Emerson is just experiencing his sexual awakening, which has so far only manifested itself in wet dreams, that and him masturbating about which they openly talk. Rog has moved from one successful environmental technology project to another as a means to earn a living, it now being a two year hiatus he has taken from work. Kaya has home schooled Emerson his entire life. Emerson has excelled in those areas which he likes, namely English and literature, having written plays until he figured he could not improve on William Shakespeare. He then moved to longer form writing having just completed his first novel. However, he places no effort in those subjects he doesn't like. As such, Kaya believes it is time Emerson went to public school to get some structure in his life. His public school life is potentially fraught with hazards in dealing with his classmates, as he is unapologetically non-conformist, the most outward manifestation of that being having an androgynous appearance. His English teacher ends up being Don Grant. In his personal life, Don is a lonely man, having a hypercritical mother who has always considered him to be a loser. Don has a lot of pent up emotion as his mother now has Alzheimer's and is in a nursing home, his visits which are comprised of him taking care of her while she doesn't remember who he is, but denigrating who she remembers to be her son. As such, Don has never been able to maintain a satisfying personal relationship, he now cruising for anonymous gay sex to satisfy his adult needs. Although slow to warm to Don, Emerson eventually begins to form a deep bond with him. Emerson has never placed labels on things like sexuality, he never considering himself straight or gay despite all of his fantasies being about his parents' female friends. However, he eventually falls in love with Don, who, although not attracted to Emerson sexually, may not be able to handle the situation adequately based on his own personal issues, beyond maintaining the appropriate teacher-student boundary. Meanwhile, Rog and Kaya are slowly drifting apart, with Kaya entering into her first ever affair with a hyper-masculine local named Denny. Rog and Kaya have to deal with the problems in their marriage while maintaining their roles as parents to Emerson during this crucial time in his upbringing.
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