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3.87  ·  Rating details ·  350 ratings  ·  84 reviews
L. Nichols, a trans man, artist, engineer and father of two, was born in rural Louisiana, assigned female and raised by conservative Christians. Flocks is his memoir of that childhood, and of his family, friends and community, the flocks of Flocks, that shaped and re-shaped him. L.'s irresistibly charming drawings demonstrate what makes Flocks so special: L.'s boundless ...more
Paperback, 332 pages
Published September 15th 2018 by Secret Acres (first published September 9th 2012)
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Melinda Personally, I would say absolutely yes - depending on the teen. But as far as content, there is no explicit language (outside of "bible swears", in…morePersonally, I would say absolutely yes - depending on the teen. But as far as content, there is no explicit language (outside of "bible swears", in which a minister preaches about Hell), violence, or sexual content. Be advised the book does deal with homophobia, transphobia, self-harm, divorce, and depression/depression symptoms (thoughts of worthlessness and reckless behaviors). I would say the book is suitable for most teen readers 15+ or would be a good pick for a adult & younger reader joint read.(less)

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Average rating 3.87  · 
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 ·  350 ratings  ·  84 reviews

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David Schaafsma
Sep 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: gn-glbt, gn-religion
In the close to 70 glbtq graphic memoirs and fiction I have read in the past couple years, very few deal with the faith complications that coming out can entail. As the Crow Flies by Melanie Gilman was one I recall. I think most of them assume that when you come out you also come clean out of your (conservative) religious background that condemns you as gay sinner. This book is an exception to that rule: Nichols is nearly crushed by his sense of himself as sinner, but never gives up on his faith ...more
Stewart Tame
Jan 23, 2019 rated it liked it
This is one of those books that I wish I liked more than I did. There's certainly nothing seriously wrong with it, just pacing problems. It gets a bit repetitive, and I'd hazard a guess that it originally appeared in a more episodic version--perhaps online?--where this drawback wasn't as obvious.

So L. was born and raised in the New Orleans area, and grew up baptist. This religious upbringing caused internal conflict because she was attracted to girls (mostly) but was being taught that same sex
Rod Brown
Oct 21, 2018 rated it liked it
A trans male recounts his childhood and eventual transition through the fascinating prism of communities. Growing up as Laura in Louisiana, Nichols was constantly torn between the loving support of family and church and terror of the condemnation and damnation from those same groups should struggles with sexuality and gender ever be revealed. Despite spells of anxiety and depression, Laura and later L. are able to continually find communities in high school, college and beyond from which they ...more
Hannah Garden
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, april-2019
Oh wow I don’t know how to talk about this book, it’s genuinely a masterpiece but on a level I don’t have useful language for? This review gets a lot of it right, especially the last paragraph: This is a work to love:
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Boundless empathy" (from the descriptive blurb) is the perfect phrase to describe L. Nichols. He was one of the first cartoonists I met when I first started publishing my work and attending indie comic conventions, and he was welcoming and encouraging from the start. I always look forward to catching up when I see him at shows.

I've been excited to read each new issue of Flocks when it was being released as single issues and delighted to see that a wonderful publisher like Secret Acres
Dakota Morgan
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
Flocks is an emotional story about growing up queer in a community that doesn't support queerness and finding yourself in various supportive groups (flocks) that keep you alive and improving. It's also fairly surface level, more a blow-by-blow recounting of the author's life than an in-depth examination of formative events or the people who helped or hindered along the way. The book works in the sense that it proves there's nothing wrong with being trans and that anyone who is struggling can ...more
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
The author's graphic novel memoir of growing up a trans man in Louisiana in a conservative church.

I can't imagine being so uncomfortable in your own body that you hate yourself. I wouldn't want to live in a family and community that emphasized church-going to this degree. The mental confusion of realizing you're queer when just the whisper of the word would result in sneers and anger was added pain. This book gave me a peek at all of these. And when I say 'peek', I mean that it was painful to
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this memoir so much, its such a beautiful graphic novel and I want to share it with everyone. I can't stress enough how incredible this book was. It's one of my favorite memoirs and an incredible piece on being queer, finding yourself, and reconciling who you are with your faith system and the world around you. It's heartbreaking, it's affirming, it's full of sweet moments that made my heart sing... It's just so dang good.
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Oooof. This book was so raw. So much pain and hope and joy and sadness. So much bare honesty and abject need. Very powerful.
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dawww. What a meaningful and insightful book by a wonderful open heart.
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
A touching and whimsically-illustrated memoir about growing up trans and Southern Baptist.

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through Edelweiss. Trigger warning for homophobia, depression, self-harm, and eating disorders.)

L. Nichols was born in Louisiana (some time in the mid-to-late-1970s, if the rad TMNT reference is any indication!) and assigned female ("Laura") at birth. Raised in a conservative Southern Baptist community, L. always felt different; an outcast, a freak, a
May 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
Longtime comics readers are no strangers to memoirs about growing up queer. Many of the greatest cartoonists have at least one book about the complexities of their own gender and/or sexual identities. These works make up an impressively large number of the best comics that the medium has to offer. And while L. Nichols’ book, Flocks, fits into this rich tradition of queer and trans memoirs, it’s among the least compelling.

Flocks is a coming-of-age story about a trans man who grew up in a white,
This is one of those graphic novels I read to try to figure out where it belongs in the library, and I still don't know the answer by the end of it.

I really appreciated Nichols's struggle with his faith and his sexuality; as someone raised in an evangelical church, I can really relate to trying to balance what you learn in church with the world around you, and I like that, ultimately, Nichols finds a way to practice his faith in a way that feels true and authentic and accepting.

I didn't love
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the most honest and touching graphic memoirs I've read. This one really dug into my heart, because my upbringing and journey away from home was so similar to the author's. I know how difficult it was sometimes for me, a cis straight woman who usually fit the molds set it front of me, as I grew and changed my mind on certain things I'd been taught; I can't imagine how much harder it was for someone who had the added difficulty of a secret internal struggle. For the author to have come ...more
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book should be added to any list of recommended LGBTQ memoir.

The style is clear, bright, easy to follow. It's a graphic novel, so it also reads really fast.

I have to admit that one of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much was that I could relate to a lot of the author's experiences - growing in the South, being religious as a youth, losing my accent, transitioning as an adult. Some of that was pretty powerful. Mileage may vary.

This is a great choice for young people who are questioning
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
THIS BOOK!!!!!!!! Immediately fell in love with it; absolutely adore everything about it. The art is gorgeous, contrasting realistic humans with the patchwork shape Nichols sees himself as; the story is consistently engaging; the elements of science incorporated artistically!!!!!! The journey! The exploration of self! I saw my own experience in so many things Nichols wrote, despite all the differences between us. THIS is a book I would recommend to anyone, LGBT or cishet--for me, it was a proof ...more
Really excellent graphic (comics) memoir. L. grows up Southern Baptist, surrounded by anti-queer messages, but enjoying nature and academics. L. later goes to a residential high school and then MIT, where he finds queer community. He eventually transitions. L. struggles with anti-fat messages, compulsory femininity, and depression. Content note for self-harm (cutting) and drinking too much. I loved this and read it in one sitting.
Adam Stone
If the first four sections of this book had been consolidated into one, this would have been a four, maybe five star book. The art is great. The message is fantastic. But the first four sections are the same story over and over and over and over again.

As a device, I enjoy repetition in poetry and prose, when used sparingly. In a graphic novel, it's exhausting. In many ways, the text of a graphic novel is often already a repetition of the artwork. By the fourth time I saw a three panel grid of
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
WOW. This exceeded my expectations. The cute illustrations belie the trauma detailed in the first part of the book. But in the end, the author takes a long view. There’s redemption in here, and a whole lotta love.
Mackie Welch
Sep 18, 2019 rated it liked it
I agree with other reviews that this was definitely repetitive. The story was good and important, but it got somewhat lost in the repetitive nature. I would've loved more about the author's later years, as I did their story inspirational overall.
Stephanie (aka WW)
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Most of all, this comic relates what it's like to feel different from others. L. Nichols portrays himself as an amorphous sock puppet of sorts, bowing to the weight of his queerness. Ugly humans rain down criticism and pronounce judgment. Reading the book is almost a visceral experience.
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a very sad and sweet book that I very much related to.
Reads like a play. Not like a script, though, but a play. I didn't get all the math stuff, but I'm terrible at math, sooooo...
Mar 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Charming but somewhat simplistic graphic memoir of a trans man's journey towards self-acceptance. I liked it a lot, but think there are some pacing problems and I would have liked more depth to the last section. Worth a look, and particularly recommended to young queer peoples.
There's a lot of things I identify with here. My journey mirrors hers in a lot of ways.
I think the main thing I was missing here was more setting of the scene. I wanted to know more about our protagonist as a person, and her context. She runs right into the religious stuff, and it felt odd that I only found out the denomination of choice late into the issue.
This feels more like a sampler of a larger work than a complete first chapter (which is how it's billed).

It took me a few years (no joke)
Finally, L. Nichols' comics-series (from Retrofit) has been collected into one volume! A very honest, moving and big-hearted memoir about growing up queer & isolated in a rural, Southern Baptist community. Recommended, and that includes for YA readers, especially.
Marit Swanson
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the most gracious books I’ve ever read— “boundless empathy” is not hyperbole. L is the kind of person we should all strive to be, the kind of artist the world needs.
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels, lgbt
This is an honest and creative memoir that deals with mental health and body dysphoria with candor, grace, and hope.

Nichols has created a unique imagery that shows how we so often view ourselves as the "other" no matter what setting we are in. We follow him through ups and downs, both uniquely and wonderfully illustrated. His incorporation of mathematical formulas and repetitive imagery convey a specific and more nuanced feeling to the story. And the way that he depicts depression, body
I feel like I need to emphasize that off the top off my head this is one of the best LGBT books, graphic memoirs and graphic novels overall that I've ever read (y'all know I don't fuck around when it comes to graphic novels).

Nichols' narrative hits home so hard, and it was so much stronger for embracing queerness and religion, rather than one or the other. The entire book has such an emotional grasp as Nichols struggles with the church, parent difficulties, fitting in, and more, but it's in the
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This wasn't quite the memoir I was expecting. I knew the author's experience growing up gay in a very conservative church was a huge part of it, but the narrative ended up being so much more complex. Nichols' attempts to find community and meaning and reconcile an organic faith felt in nature with the hostile messages in sermons and pressures to be more feminine were heartbreaking at first. I loved how complex all these bits of identity were, how groups that in significant ways made him hide and ...more
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