Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Tomboy Survival Guide” as Want to Read:
Tomboy Survival Guide
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Tomboy Survival Guide

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  881 ratings  ·  155 reviews
Ivan Coyote is a celebrated storyteller and the author of ten previous books, including Gender Failure (with Rae Spoon) and One in Every Crowd, a collection for LGBT youth. Tomboy Survival Guide is a funny and moving memoir told in stories, in which Ivan recounts the pleasures and difficulties of growing up a tomboy in Canada’s Yukon, and how they learned to embrace their ...more
Paperback, 239 pages
Published October 18th 2016 by Arsenal Pulp Press (first published September 2016)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Tomboy Survival Guide, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Tomboy Survival Guide

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
In case you had the wild notion that it wouldn’t be: Ivan Coyote’s latest and unbelievably 11th book is just as great, and possibly greater, than everything they’ve done up until now. If you’ve never read an Ivan Coyote book before, Tomboy Survival Guide would be a great one to start with, as I think it really shows this celebrated writer and storyteller at the height of their powers. But if you’ve read every single book Coyote has written, and seen them multiple times doing live performances li ...more
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
You know what I love in a person?


You know what else I love? Intelligence.

Layer on top of all that a good dose of kindness, and I am smitten. Completely in love.

I have fallen for Ivan E. Coyote in the same way that I am star-struck and weak-kneed over Barack Obama and Carol Off. I'm awed and breathlessly impressed. I want to have Coyote over for dinner. I want them to speak at my kids' school -- and maybe they will, if I have anything to do with it. I can't wait to have the opportu
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
You don't have to look a certain way to be a tomboy. Don't let anyone tell you that, ever, and please don't find that here in my words. Tomboy thrums in your heart. It's in your head. It's what is holding your spine in place. It can't be hidden by a haircut. It's not about nail polish or not. It's running right now in your veins. If it is in you, you already know. Tomboy blood is so much bigger than the outside of you.

I guess I'm late to the Ivan Coyote party. Tomboy Survival Guide is their (C
Robert Pearson
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Everyone should read this. There were a few stories not quite as strong as the others, but it feels like I am quibbling.
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This memoir is how memoirs should be.

Coyote's tender craftsmanship is incredible. Their vignettes are like memories, with a message they tie into their later life, like a lifeline. Each time you read a new vignette, you can feel it building and building, until they release it like a rope, coiling at your feet. The message comes through. This is why they wrote this.

Arsenal Pulp Press published this book and they are definitely one of my favourite publishers. They've included gorgeous illustrati
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian, memoir, lgbt
I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed reading this book, by a newly discovered author. Coyote writes with much humour and compassion, and evoked so many memories for me. Fighting with siblings over the best individual cereal boxes with the perforated lines. Are You There God, it's Me Margaret. Crime of the Century. Tea for the Tillerman. Twister. Lite Brite. Many parts of my childhood resurfaced while I read this engaging book.
Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbt-story
An other amazing book by an amazing author. I was super excited about this book and really, I was not disappointed.

As usual, Ivan's stories are deeply moving and touching, and their discourse on gender is really on point.

One of my favourite passages from this book explains the problem with the (unfortunately) too common expression "trapped in the wrong body":

I am not trapped in the wrong body; I am trapped in a world that makes very little space for bodies like mine.

I live in a world where pu
The Canada Reads 2018 theme is "one book to open your eyes"... This memoir made the long list but shockingly not the short list?! It can only be defined as an eye opening read for anyone, particularly those of us that fall into the mainstream heterosexual culture. Even those who claim to be open minded and welcoming.... Ivan Coyote invites us into the inside pysche and constant turmoil, even in acceptance, those who define themselves as Trans, deal with every single day. It's brilliant, beautifu ...more
Rebecca Jessen
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
'Writing about vulnerable things doesn't make me feel vulnerable. Writing about my tenderest bits is the only way I know how to have power over them. Staying silent would leave me alone with them. My silence is what makes me vulnerable.'

I have all the feels for this book and this beautiful human. There is such warmth in these stories, I cried more than a few times at points of difference and similarity. Read it so you understand, even just a little, what that other life is like - that life you h
Apr 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"I am not trapped in the wrong body, I am trapped in a world that makes very little space for bodies like mine." This book is warm, well written, and moving. Detailed snapshots of Ivan's life show their struggles with not fitting into a gender binary as a young tomboy turned butch. But Ivan also highlights the pockets of beauty throughout their life, such as the relationship with their grandmother, who had secrets of her own she didn't share until much later in her life. I felt like I was really ...more
Danika at The Lesbrary
Apr 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved this! I really missed reading Ivan Coyote's writing. It's just so... fortifying.
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My friend Becki gave this book to me when she finished reading it for Curious Iguana's Read Broader initiative, and I'm so grateful she did. Ivan Coyote is a wonderful storyteller--honest, warm and true.
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I always hope to come across a few books that make me feel seen. This was one of them and I am forever grateful.
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I finished this in one sitting and had to have a little cry. Moving and fantastically well written.
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: queer
As always, Ivan Coyote gets me right in the feels. I haven't encountered any other authors' works that make me feel as understood, comforted, and part of a community. As a gender non-conforming person, their stories soothe my soul especially in these tumultuous political times.

In this collection of all new stories, Ivan weaves tales of first loves, navigating growing up different, dealing with strangers and friends and gender, unexpectedly inspirational school presentations, and how grandparents
Lisa H
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Ivan is an amazing storyteller and I felt so many emotions while reading tales of their life. I identified with so much of it. I laughed. I cried. Each of the chapters were touching, some in ways that I didn't expect. this is a must read for anyone who has ever given any thought to what gender is and what it is like to live somewhere beyond the two tiny boxes that our society has given us.
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
they made me cry and laugh at the same time, and help me realize a bit more of who I am. this is how I want to write.
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
CanadaReads longlist time is upon us and I have already found a book that made me feel as much as Andre Alexis's Fifteen Dogs. The pictures of being young here are bonkers accurate and real that I don't normally find in books I normally read: the giant pedestal the small corn pops box that you can use the microperf'd parts to make a cardboard bowl out of the box... frig, that was such a perfect way to capture being a kid.

There is a story in here about Ivan going to a school in Oregon to talk and
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked it… the beginning felt a bit boring, the later stories were super touching in that way that makes me cry good fluffy tears.

And while reading, I discovered just how not-butch I am, and how also not very masculine, and that I was never much of a tomboy – which shouldn't surprise me, but like, I guess I just assumed that as a transmasculine person I would be more of those things. Instead I practiced my french braid while reading.
Kenneth Wade
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Tomboy Survival Guide is a beautiful and necessary book for trans and non-binary communities and their allies. I look forward to exploring the rest of Ivan Coyote’s works, because I absolutely loved this one.
Few books can make me laugh and cry within pages of one another, but this one contained a multitude of emotions. I absolutely cannot recommend this enough.

5 out of 5 stars
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
Very introspective, very accessibly written, loved the Yukon setting for many of the memories.
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this because it was long listed for Canada Reads. Good book.
Darlene Stericker
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Through his insightful analyses of experiences over his life, Coyote offers empathy and understanding to non-binary and trans individuals.
Lindsay Guinn
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic read!

I can't decide what made me love this book more... How I relate to it on a personal level or the positivity they send to others. They do a great job in this very personable story.
Dana Neily
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An immensely enjoyable and informative collection of thoughts and stories about gender and family and learning to be yourself.
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christmas-bingo
Typically I'm not one for non fiction. This memoir was so amazing, though. It's Ivan Coyote's story of growing up. Each chapter is an independent story. Some of them made me cry, some made me so incredibly mad and ruin my faith in humanity, and then then others would restore it. Sometimes these would all be in a row. It's such a short book and every word and story feels so carefully selected. I wouldn't call this an easy read, but it's definitely an important one. I wish I could get some ignoran ...more
Mrs. Doglvrs
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is now many things to me...
*Eye Opener *Teacher *Heart breaker *Heart healer *Comedy act *Tear inducer *Favorite book

I can't say enough about how great this book is! If you ever had a question about transgender you should read this book.... in fact, even if you never had a question about transgender you should read this book.

Do yourself a favor... pick up Ivan's book today and speed read it!! Best book so far of 2017!!

Read for my 2017 Reading Challenge: Book based on a true story.
Bonnie Randall
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
"I don't think he's a lady," said the kid. "I think he is a man with very pretty eyes."

Ivan Coyote is a storyteller who shares so much more than just their own vulnerability and honesty amidst the confused and awkward and absurd - and sometimes sickeningly hostile - reactions they have received as a trans person. Ivan also richly accounts their Canadian geography, from the Yukon and its midnight sun, to Nanaimo circa the 70's, when the horror of Clifford Olsen slithered through the breathtaking
A pretty charming, sometimes moving, memoir of growing up genderqueer/trans in the Yukon (!) and British Columbia in the seventies through the nineties and beyond. Not an easy time or place for it (is there ever?) but Coyote comes across as human, humane, and often funny. These are short pieces strung together out of chronological order--pieces about being a kid, pieces about learning to be an electrician as a woman among homophobic and sexist men, pieces about family, pieces about Coyote's curr ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Evergreen Summer ...: Tomboy Survival Guide 1 3 Aug 05, 2017 12:35PM  
Ivan Coyote was born and raised in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. An award-winning author of six collections of short stories, one novel, three CD’s, four short films and a renowned performer, Ivan’s first love is live storytelling, and over the last thirteen years they have become an audience favourite at music, poetry, spoken word and writer’s festivals from Anchorage to Amsterdam.

Ivan E. Coyote,
“books: Nancy Drew, Harriet the Spy, Encyclopedia Brown, and later, anything with even a passing mention of sex in it: Judy Blume’s Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret, and those Clan of the Cave Bear books, the whole Flowers in the Attic series. But mostly we were obsessed with a book called The Chrysalids. We” 2 likes
“Some of us have hard roads, but the Lord never gives anyone a burden without also giving them a gift. Your job is to find out what that gift is and use it, y'hear me? God doesn't make mistakes. Never forget that. You are exactly who God meant you to be.” 0 likes
More quotes…