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


4.05  ·  Rating details ·  65 ratings  ·  32 reviews
As a horny little kid, Holly Lorka had no idea why God had put her in the wrong body and made her want to kiss girls. She had questions: Was she a monster? Would she ever be able to grow sideburns? And most importantly, where was her penis?

The problem was, it was the 1970s, so there were no answers yet.

Here, Lorka tells the story—by turns hilarious and poignant—of her romp
Paperback, 171 pages
Published October 20th 2020 by She Writes Press
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 Handsome, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Handsome

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  65 ratings  ·  32 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Handsome
Lex Kent
Oct 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.75 Stars. This was a good memoir. I like to take a break from time to time from my normal reading to pick up something non-fiction. Memoirs especially are my go to when I need to mix things up since they are normally pretty entertaining. And if I can learn a little something too than that is pretty perfect for me. While I studied sociology in college and learned about gender dysmorphia, a lot has changed in sexuality and gender in the 15 years since I was in school. And while popping open a te ...more
Dash fan
Sep 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
4☆ A Honest, Raw, Poignant, Uplifting and inspiring story.

This isn't my normal type of read (memoirs) but I actually really enjoyed it.

It was a very honest, witty, detailed and poignant look into what it was like for Holly, growing up in the wrong body, experimenting, her sexual awakening, and her journey of discovery and acceptance.

Holly made me laugh out loud on so many occasions throughout this book.
I have to warn you this book is sexually explicit in places which some readers may find diffic
Oct 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read a lot of biographies and autobiographies when I was younger - across a wide range of different topics - but I never really had the opportunity to access many, if any, queer voices. The younger adult me would definitely have appreciated the existence of this book and I definitely appreciated it now - especially as someone who has experienced some similar feelings at times to Lorka.

Lorka covers a number of topics, many in a humorous way, but their exploration of gender and sexuality and the
Esther King
Aug 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
An incredibly funny and heartfelt book that prioritises honesty above everything else, this is a look at growing up queer in an environment where the rules for identity were arbitrary and frustrating, and there was so much to be done in terms of LGBT+ rights. I appreciate that the author doesn't necessarily feel they need to be shoehorned into one particular form of identity, and that the boundaries of queerness are left blurry (as they should be!) in this book. There's a lot of laughs in here a ...more
Handsome is a lively collection of essays from Holly Lorka, ranging from incredibly poignant to laugh out loud funny (which is quite the balance to strike!). From an early age, she felt like something was missing- namely a penis. She was attracted to girls, but wanted to be a boy with them. She chronicles her journey to self-acceptance, highlighting relationships and experiences she's had along the way. With essays that can be about a rather serious topic, she will drop a one-liner, that is just ...more
Aug 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
First off, thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this book. While I’m not a part of the LGBTQ community I am an ally, and I love reading books by authors who are. This is no exception, to read the story of Holly, a women trapped in the wrong body and how her life was, the relationship with herself, with her mother and with George Michael. Many won’t understand what it’s like to know you’re in the wrong body the human in you will undoubtedly how compassion for Holly. If you enjoy reading ...more
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer - This book is geared more toward an older audience. But the topics discussed are the most important thing by far.
Firstly I'm.thankfuk to be able to receive this advanced copy. I love a good memoir especially when they can make me laugh and this one did exactly that. It was like a coaster ride or watching a movie. One moment I was laughing close to tears and next I was crying because of how sad it was. Then next I'm clapping because of the things Holly accomplished. This book shows a
Minka Guides
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Handsome is probably the best book I read in 2020.

Some stories take a while to get into. This one had me hooked from the opening dedication (to both Lorka's father and George Michael). By about page 16, I was screaming with a mixture of laughter and shock.

Told in a series of very entertaining essays, Lorka's memoir explores their lifelong journey through... everything: gender, partners, family, careers. You know, the usual stuff. But the thing is, Lorka can really write. I would happily read ab
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to Lorka's memoir, I know now that *at least* four Austinites (including my wife and I) dislike Mumford and Sons. Thank goodness.

Lorka's memoir was very relatable to this queer person. I laughed at the funny parts, gravely contemplated the serious parts, and squirmed uncomfortably at the frank truths within. (Like..."Fourth grade is easy for no one". Being raised Catholic and not understanding why you feel more tender toward girls than boys? So awkward.)

I largely connected with the geogra
Jill Reads
Oct 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow. “Handsome” took me on a roller coaster of emotions. Just as soon as I was laughing my ass off, I went down to a darker place, and then back up again. Author Holly Lorka’s twists and turns were impeccably timed. And she kept me glued to my itty bitty Kindle phone app from start to finish. I couldn’t put it down.

This is a full-on complicated adventure, and I was down for the 3-hour ride.

Nurse by day, comedian by night, Holly’s humorous mini-memoir essays are about all the complicated things i
Sep 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc, gender-identity
I always feel strange rating memoirs or autobiographies because it feels like I’m judging the author’s life. I want to say that this rating is a reflection of my *experience* reading this book and has nothing to do with the author themselves. In fact, I think this was a case of “It’s not you, it’s me” because most of the reviews I see for this book are very highly rated.

I really misunderstood what this book was going to be about. I thought it was going to be a more traditional memoir with a mos
Becky Skinner
Oct 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Handsome is a memoir by Holly Lorka. It is a collection of essays full of authenticity and raw honesty about growing up in the “wrong body”. I got a digital arc from NetGalley and I have to say it was really clunky. Words out of place, images covered, just not great quality for an ARC. But that was okay, I was still able to get through it with ease.

This memoir is searingly funny, witty, and unfiltered. Holly made me laugh, cry, and cringe equally. A nurse by day, a comedian/writer/storyteller b
Dai Guerra
Oct 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Thoughts and Themes: I really enjoy reading memoirs and especially LGBTQ+ memoirs because I get to see different people’s lived experience. I like seeing that there are people with similar identities to me but they come to that conclusion differently and they all have a different way of viewing themselves.

There were so many times in this story that I was laughing out loud because of something said of because of the cleaver titles of the chapters. I do need to let you all know that this book is s
Oct 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
HANDSOME is an autobiographical collection of short stories and essays where the author recounts growing up queer in a time when societal standards didn’t allow for any sexuality or gender identity outside of “normal”. ⠀

From childhood and questioning her gender to the teen years and beyond, this is a book of sexual questioning, exploration, and ultimately finding your true identity. Filled with humor and wit, there are plenty of laugh out loud moments, but beware! there are certainly some raunc
Debbie Rozier
Oct 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Handsome is a memoir told in a series of essays about life and love when you are a boy in a girl’s body. During the course of this book you will laugh until you cry, you will sad cry and will learn to appreciate and accept what goes on with someone when what is on the outside and how they feel on the inside don’t match.
Some essays do have spicy (not the food variety) content.
My top three favorite essays from this book:
1. a legend on my own bus- Holly talks about desperately wanting a nickname (
Nov 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Holly Lorka has done an amazing job with this book and it is one of my favourites of the year and one I already can’t wait to return too. It is a honest and raw look at the discovery of yourself and sexuality. A look at the way in which define ourselves and how our choices make and define us. There some very funny moments where I actually laughed out loud and tender moments that made me cry. Hearing of Holly speak of her time nursing is one of those moments and really add heart to the book.
A gr
Dec 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Utterly hilarious, wonderfully personal, and a complete surprise, from the moment I picked up HANDSOME I did not want to put it down. This book had me hysterically laughing from the start, and then getting teary eyed as it progressed. Lorka's ability to share such personal stories is amazingly powerful and really drew me in as a reader. From the awkward moments growing up to adulthood when she was able to love and appreciate all parts of herself, I loved the honesty and openness that Lorka wrote ...more
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"I'd shown these strangers all the scary and shameful parts of me, and they loved me for it."

This book is honest and funny. Holly explains what it's like to grow up in a body that doesn't feel right, and the journey to accepting that body. This book is raw and explains Holly's vulnerability, while also including life experiences that are funny and relatable.

This book made me laugh and cry, which is rare in a book. This book is so important for all people to read and to help them understand other
Aug 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you #Netgalley for the advanced copy!

Holly Lorka is hilarious as she shared her journey through life being in a women's body but feeling trapped and that she was really meant to be a man. Though when the opportunity presents itself later in life to correct this, she opts not too. As she is the way she is for a reason and has gone through life/experiences that have made her the confident person she is. Loved hearing her childhood stories, the photos, family dynamics and her many interesting
Rebecca Nagrodski
Sep 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was an incredibly honest; beautiful; funny; and wonderfully raw read!

In "Handsome", Holly Lorka tells the story of finding herself and her sexual identity using a great mix of humor and honesty. I'm in awe of her amazing spirit - and I really hope there's a second book in her future!

The only tiny complaint that I have any this book is that the chapters/tales are rather short - and while this seemed to be Lorka's style, it left me wanting to know so much more!

Thank you to Netgalley; the p
Oct 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thanks to Booksparks for sending me an advanced copy to read.

“As a horny little kid, Holly Lorka had no idea why God had put her in the wrong body and made her want to kiss girls. She had questions: Was she a monster? Would she ever be able to grow sideburns? And most importantly, where was her penis?”

Funny, poignant, awkward and entertaining. Holly Lorka takes you through childhood into life in her 40's as she discovers who she is and what she wants out of life. Holly's stories are fun to read
Oct 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was written in essay form, and I think it was the perfect way to write these thoughts and stories. Holly shared her life in the most unfiltered, hilarious, and truthful manner, and it is brilliant. I laughed and cried as her story unveiled, and honestly, this is the most memorable memoir I have ever read for 2020. Thank you so much for sharing this with us; many will relate to her ups and downs and her journey towards self-acceptance. If you’re into inspiring read with tons of lessons to le ...more
Jessica Maguire
Sep 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Written with such humour but recounting such obvious difficult times for anyone for any age to deal with. Holly/Steve navigates through childhood and beyond with no real certainty of where she stands in life! A really interesting read and an insight into something I would have never otherwise even began to understood.
"Is a caterpillar something that has to change to become a butterfly? Or is a caterpillar aways a butterfly that just hasn't grown into it yet"
Jan 15, 2021 rated it liked it
This was a quirky collection of stories that had no real coherence. The stories ranged from very very sad to pretty funny. I wish this book had more of a narrative arc instead of jumping in different parts of the author's life. I did like her writing style and would recommend this book to fans of Laurie Notaro. ...more
Deborah Shepherd
Feb 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Holly Lorka’s funny, irreverent and poignant collection of essays about learning to love oneself is not to be missed. Although the book’s subtitle reads “stories of an awkward, girl, boy, human,” there’s nothing awkward about the writing. Lorka is a great storyteller, the kind you’d like to have as a next door neighbor. I hope there’s a sequel.
Amy Holland
That's the secret, isn't it? We are put here to be ourselves, to bumble and shine like the tenderhearted fools that we all are. My mom would tell you now if she could: don't hide yourself away. Even if your ship is a little ridiculous, you better learn to sail the s[--]t out of it, because if you do, it will eventually carry you somewhere beautiful. ...more
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is utterly hilarious. Some stories I found myself telling to my LGBTQ friends as we laughed in commiseration. The story of Holly's life, not understanding exactly how she was different from others and then eventually trying to live her truth, is both humorous and deep. This one gets you with laughter and tears, and Lorka's dry wit and sarcasm draw you in to her incredible writing. This is an important and valuable memoir in the vein of Sissy and Fun Home. A wonderful addition to the LG ...more
Odette Lattimer
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Without a doubt one of the best books I have read this year. Thank you so much for the advanced copy.

Such a beautifully written and honest book. Laughed a lot and read this in one sitting. Will definitely purchase this and have highly recommended it to others.
Dariya Kimmes ~ Stars About Blog
**Stars About thanks NetGalley for the eARC**
A great memoir that takes an honest look at sex, sexuality gender and life.
It was great to see Holly's experience going through life with desire, dysphoria and humor.
Valeria Orlando
Sep 28, 2020 rated it liked it
This is the first memoir I ever read and didn't know what to expect. Maybe I was thinking about something written in chronological order so it took a while to get used to it. There are both funny and emotional parts, I liked it. ...more
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Heart Bones
  • Detransition, Baby
  • Anna K: A Love Story (Anna K, #1)
  • Milk Blood Heat
  • Milk Fed
  • Skelton's Guide to Domestic Poisons
  • Never Say No
  • The Poet X
  • Black Buck
  • The Witches Are Coming
  • The Highly Sensitive Person's Guide to Dealing with Toxic People: How to Reclaim Your Power from Narcissists and Other Manipulators
  • Witch of the Wild Beasts
  • Supernova Soul
  • The Pink Line: Journeys Across the World's Queer Frontiers
  • Confessions of Her
  • Miss Meteor
  • The Other Mother
  • Last Night at the Telegraph Club
See similar books…

Related Articles

  Author Casey McQuiston took the romance world by storm with her 2019 debut, Red, White & Royal Blue. A double Goodreads Choice Award winner...
295 likes · 43 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »