Thursday, 18 September 2014
This Book is Gay- James Dawson
Former PSHCE teacher and acclaimed YA author James Dawson gives an uncensored look at what it's like to grow up as LGBT. Including testimonials from people 'across the spectrum', this inclusive book explores everything anyone who ever dared to wonder wants to know - from sex to politics, how to pull, stereotypes, how to come-out and more. Spike Gerrell's hilarious illustrations combined with funny and factual text make this a must-have read.
I really wish this book had been around when I was growing up. Firstly, it talks seriously about every aspect of sexuality/sexual identity but in a way which is non-threatening, totally normative and best of all exceptionally funny. Secondly, there are these great comic illustrations from Spike Gerrell which break up the chunks of text (I imagine, especially if you are a teen trying to suss out what you think/feel/believe, they are a nice bit of respite). Thirdly, I think anyone-no matter how worldly wise/'openminded' -will learn from This Book is Gay.
I grew up in a small market town. Nearly everyone was, or at least presented as, straight. I first started questioning my sexuality twenty years ago ('why does my tummy do that same funny flip it does when I see [insert male crush of the week here] when I see [insert girl I think is ultra beautiful here]?') I now know there is absolutely nothing 'wrong' with that and that being attracted to people regardless of their gender is not something exclusive to me, but at 14- well, there was no one to talk to about it and this book would have helped me A LOT.
There's all sorts of stuff in this book- the history of sexuality, LGBT* in relation to religion and culture, how same sex couples 'do it', a list of gay icons and top gay literature/films etc. But the most touching part of this book is how real people have explained real life through heartfelt words. Strong emotions of anger, rejection, fear are told through the stories of LGBT* people who have shared their stories, but the overriding feeling is of love, self-confidence and acceptance. It will give those just starting out on their journey of discovery hope that things will get better.
So James, Spike, Hot Key Books and all those who shared their private journey to understanding themselves better- thank you. You've created something very special.
This Book is Gay is out now, published by Hot Key Books. With thanks to the publisher for giving me a copy of this book to review in return for my honest opinion.