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It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living
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It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living

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4.13  ·  Rating details ·  1,873 ratings  ·  230 reviews
Growing up isn't easy. Many young people endure bullying that makes them feel they have nowhere to turn--especially LGBT kids and teens who often hide their sexuality for fear of being bullied. Without openly gay mentors, they don't know what the future may hold. After a number of suicides by LGBT students who were bullied in school, syndicated columnist Dan Savage uploade ...more
Hardcover, 338 pages
Published March 22nd 2011 by Dutton (first published March 1st 2011)
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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 ·  1,873 ratings  ·  230 reviews


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Thomas
Jul 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone, especially those who are GLBT or know someone who is
Shelves: nonfiction, lgbtq
The fact that this book exists makes me happy. It really does.

I know so many people who wish that there had been a book like It Gets Better when they were a teenager. Not just people who contributed to this book itself, but people I talk to in real life. Better late than never, right?

This book fulfills its purpose perfectly, as I am 100% convinced that it will, and it does, get better. While not superb in its structuring - there is a bit of redundancy and some of the stories are on the weaker s
...more
Eileen Charbonneau
Apr 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to our son Lawrence and son-in-law Teddy, my husband and I speak up for our family on page 240. Just learned that this hardcover sampling of over 10,000 Youtube videos made for the "It Gets Better" project has hit the NY Times bestseller list! Could not be more pleased.

All proceeds to anti-bullying non-profits, folks!

I invite you to: TAKE THE PLEDGE:
Everyone deserves to be respected for who they are. I pledge to spread this message
to my friends, family and neighbors. I'll speak up agai
...more
Jordan
Nov 10, 2012 rated it liked it
When I was a deeply closeted college student, the It Gets Better Project held tremendous power. Throughout my senior year, I would watch the videos in my room, with headphones so my roommate wouldn't know what I was doing, and I would cry over the beauty and happiness that every video purported could one day be mine.

Now, I have been out for almost two years. I have been on dates, and even had relationships. I have found love, and I have found heartache. Above all, I am content with who I am, an
...more
Justin
Sep 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, lgbt, suicide
For roughly three years of my teenaged life, I was the target of anti-gay bullying. The fact that I am quite heterosexual did nothing to alleviate it; in fact, the bullies harassed my girlfriend, too, just for good measure.

Granted, it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. The main instigator was as cowardly as he was stupid, and he lost much of his power to intimidate when he backed out of a surprise opportunity to settle things one-on-one, outside of school (one that I was more than happ
...more
Melissa
Apr 20, 2011 rated it liked it
This is heartbreaking. The fact that it even needed to be written is so sad, I guess mainly because I look at my happy, lovely, wonderful little son & know that someday he's going to teased because of something or other. Someone is going to try to make him feel bad about something that he is or does. This book gets repetetive after awhile, but I am not a gay teen so I suppose I didn't read it out of the necessity of absolutely having to to hear over & over again and to know - "my teen years were ...more
Kathrina
Mar 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Here is the easiest way to save someone's life. Really. I'm not exaggerating.
Thanks to the generation we live in, we have access to interactive media and real-people resources that can provide the essential information and support that can save a person's life. Being a teenage homosexual or having gender identity or perceptions issues has never been, and isn't now, easy. But even a decade ago these kids suffered in total isolation, either ashamed to admit their concerns in an effort to find a li
...more
Maurinejt
Mar 29, 2012 rated it liked it
First, I am not the target audience so my response differs from the true intent of the authors. Still, I probably would have given the book a 3.5 if allowed...while I didn't LOVE the book, I can see myself recommending it under the right circumstances. What I chiefly took away is that if you're gay and survive middle and high school, you will be wildly successful and blissfully happy. The key to all of this is to come out. Then, you will meet people who love you and do something amazing! Wow, I ...more
Jennifer
Jun 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Dan Savage started a video campaign on YouTube called "It Gets Better" in response to numerous teen suicides by LGBT youth. His initial idea was to get 100 LGBT adults to post video testimonials on the "It Gets Better" channel to help teens believe that their lives are worth living and help them get through the difficult teen years. His video campaign was an unqualified success and within a couple of days, there were more than 100 videos and within a week or so, there were 1000 videos posted. Th ...more
Brian Murray
The "It Gets Better" campaign has helped millions of Queer youth across the world, including myself. I picked this up hoping it would be a little pick-me-up read, and I was curious to see how the two editors managed to narrow down thousands of videos into a simple collection.

The greatest thing this collection manages to achieve is to supply the reader with a diverse array of stories and voices. We have people both straight and gay, cis and trans, famous and unknown, young and old. But beyond tho
...more
Sam
Nov 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbtq
I guess this book is good... If you're a gay white male that's willing to sit tight and endure until you hit college.

Honestly, though, out of about thirty stories, I only remember one being by a trans* person, and it didn't really address the specific issues that trans youth have. I also only remember a few stories with bisexual or pansexual authors, and I don't remember any mentioning being a person of color.

Basically, while it did have plenty of stories about it getting better for people, this
...more
Sphinx Feathers
Apr 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: teen, lgbt
Great idea in theory, but it's mostly just people saying that they love you and that they're here for you when they're really not. In the entire book, there's one person who gives contact information whereas the rest simply say they're there with no follow-up. I understand that it's not ideal for stars to put their contact information, but it just seems like it's all about the publicity when they say there's something better and that you have a friend in them and can always call on them when you ...more
Cynthia
May 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Dan Savage is a genius. These stories are so meaningful and inspiring... I'm moved by the idea of a crowd reaching out to the desperate kid who's stuck and frightened and can't see a path, or the idea of reinvention, or becoming who you really are... all universal ideas. But it's so smart, speaking directly to the gay kid who cannot imagine they have done anything but fail before their life has even begun. And it's an uplifting read before bed.
Elizabeth
Apr 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I cannot say enough about this book or the project It Gets Better. Dan Savage took his outrage, channeled it, and made (and continues to make) a difference.

Dan Savage, I adore thee.
Josh
Apr 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
What a truly remarkable, inspiring, and life-affirming collection of stories from LGBTQ people and allies! As an offshoot of the YouTube internet video project dedicated to reaching out to youth feeling marginalized & terrorized, this book gathers messages of hope with the common idea that life gets better for LGBTQ youth as they get older and that suicide is not a solution. What a fantastic idea! This book should have a place on the shelves of every school library and be handed out to GSAs acro ...more
Meghan
Apr 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: anthology, essays, lgbtq
It gets better because not only do you have more control over your environment once you're an adult - meaning that you can MOVE AWAY and live in the city, or in a cabin in the woods - but you can have more control over what messages you absorb from family, friends, and our culture. However, one of the most striking things in these essays is how similar they are, despite being written by people from all different parts of the country, of different ages, backgrounds, and nationalities. One theme t ...more
C.E. G
Jun 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Some of the essays were really stellar, but I ended up skimming a lot of them due redundancy, questionable sincerity (I'm looking at you straight politicians), or dull writing styles. Maybe they were more engaging as videos? But then again I'm not really the targeted demographic, so maybe I'm not the best judge.

Despite my lukewarm feelings on the length and selection choices, I wholeheartedly recommend this book for any library or school collection. I think the message (that things get better or
...more
Jennie
Mar 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
If I were rating the value of this book in terms of its importance to a collection and what was selected for inclusion I would give it 10 stars. It should be required reading in every high school on earth and it gives a great picture of the lives of a wide variety of people in the GLBTQ community. I wish I could put a copy in the hands of everyone who needs the affirmation that "It Gets Better."

But I am not the target for this book, and so it was a bit like thumbing through an encyclopedia on a
...more
Michael
May 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a hard book to rate. I think the "It Gets Better" video project is a beautiful thing, and I hope that it's helping people on both sides to gain some perspective. But video is probably the best format for this. As a book, because the stories are so short, things start to feel a little repetitive after a while. The stories are still good, but it feels like a little too much surface.

On one hand, the large number of short entries gives a better range of experience, so hopefully every LGBTQ
...more
James
May 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The whole project is amazing of course. Coordinated and vocal pushback against homophobic bullying in this country is long overdue. All they really had was hoping LGBT kids knew so little about how small the world they were living in was that they would submit to the "authority" figures around them and believe that the closet was their only option. A really good mix of celebrity and regular folk testimony about how small the world we all grow up in really is and how much you can make the life yo ...more
Wren
Dec 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book of short stories was great! It was very inspiring to me because it contained stories from people of all different backgrounds and beliefs, and talked all about the benefits of holding on through those tough times in life.

These true accounts of life through the eyes of queer individuals were genuine, sincere, and filled with emotion. I found myself able to connect to some of the stories, and I was educated through those which I did not personally connect with.


I recommend this book to t
...more
Cheryl
Mar 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
The book brought back a lot of early high school memories, some good, some bad. Some I had really forgotten and was surprised to remember.

Still this book enraged me to read about some of the experiences people had during their teenage and young adult years.

Happy and inspiring to read the various takes on how life did get better. But still. BUT STILL.

I worry about my daughters being bullied. They're already different from many of their peers. I worry about them being the bullies in attempt to f
...more
Rachel
May 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Incredible essays- this book made me extremely grateful to have wonderful people in my life and an amazing family who would accept & love me no matter what. As I am only an LGBT ally and have experienced, thankfully, minimal bullying in my life, I will acknowledge that the essays eventually became a little repetitive for me, but every single one was so important. Five stars for sure, and once my wallet recovers from vacation, I'll be purchasing 2 copies of this book- one for Carolina House & 1 f ...more
Erin
Mar 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Awesome collection of essays reaching out to gay teenagers to let them know "it gets better." I love the wide variety of people who contributed. They were from all walks of life. I think that is really important because if a teenager picks up this book and is struggling with their identity and facing bullying at school, they can find AT LEAST one person in the book that they can relate too.
Well done.
Jai
Sep 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: reread, audio, read2018
there are plenty of legitimate criticisms to be made of this book - mostly gay, very little trans/bi/etc rep; that we should be changing the structures that allow for LGBT kids to be disenfranchised rather than telling them to stick it out; some of the suicide talk is hamfisted. but sometimes you just want to listen to queers talk about things working out for the best, and this book does provide that.
Ryan
Mar 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A great collection of personal essays that will hopefully change the way some people live and think. This book's potential comes from the honesty that the contributors enlist to inform readers that life gets better no matter how bad growing up may be.
Julia
May 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is very, very powerful. It's an emotional read because it speaks to the true experience many LGBTQ teens have in high school. It also speaks to the true experience of most people in high school. Everyone should read this book.
Sara Habein
Mar 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
My full review can now be found on Pajiba. ...more
Kirsten
Apr 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Incredibly moving and powerful - with a wide range of experiences and backgrounds represented. I am extremely proud that a friend of mine is included in this collection!
Alex R. Orue
Apr 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A little bias coming from me (given that I'm in it) but truly a good read, a very touching and full of inspirational essays. This should be at the libraries in every high school.
Scott
May 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: homo-lit
It's perfect for what it is. Not necessarily acover to cover read, but something I will keep in my classroom library as long as there are kids who will need it.

Thank you Dan Savage, et al.
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Dan Savage is a writer, TV personality, and activist best known for his political and social commentary, as well as his honest approach to sex, love and relationships.

Savage’s sex advice column, “Savage Love,” is syndicated in newspapers and websites throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. He is the Editorial Director of The Stranger, Seattle’s weekly alternative newspaper, and his
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