But seriously, the book was magical. The fact that a book of short fiction with trans protaganists exists is awesome but honestly even beyond that fact there are so many really delicious stories in this book and I really enjoyed reading it.
(FYI, there are a few mildly sexually explicit stories in The Collection so while I don't really think that means it's inappropriate for teens/older teens to read, I want to put that out there since I know there are some teen librarians who follow my reviews and some parents might complain if it was in your teen collection so basically you may wanna make friends with the librarian that buys for the short stories collection and ask them to buy it)(less)
I have a sort of love-hate relationship with short stories and often steer clear of them. I enjoy reading them but it's hard to get through a whole bo...moreI have a sort of love-hate relationship with short stories and often steer clear of them. I enjoy reading them but it's hard to get through a whole book because that thing that sucks me into a story so that I can't put it down lasts a few pages, then the story is over without nagging urge to read just one more chapter that sometimes causes me to stay up all night reading.
For that reason, I was kind of hesitent to read this book but someone recommended it and it seemed short enough to get through, even if I didn't get sucked in. I won't say that I got sucked in because each story was distinct, but the fact that there were some recurring characters and themes throughout the book did keep me coming back and kept me always wanting to just read one more story before I put it down.
I think this was because I found Ivan to be really down to earth. While a lot of queer people writing about their experiences with rural/heterosexual folks might be written from the point of view of an outsider, Ivan really sees themself as part of the communities they inhabit, whether that be an urban queer community or a straight community in the Yukon. When Ivan writes about the weirdos they encounter along the way, they are not writing from the perspective of a wallflower sitting in the corner judging and feeling superior, they are as much one of the weirdos in the story as all the people they write about and that really shows through. They mention as an afterword to one of the stories that the owner of the diner written about in two of the stories clipped both stories from the paper and proudly displayed them on the wall for years. I don't think a lot of queer authors do this when they write about where they came from and the fact that anywhere Ivan goes, Ivan is seen as "one of our own" by their community and does such a great job of communicating that is what makes their writing special.(less)