Jessie's Reviews > Anger Is a Gift

Anger Is a Gift by Mark Oshiro
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it was amazing
bookshelves: ace-spectrum

I read this book instead of napping on a flight after getting three-ish hours of sleep, and when I finished, I immediately went back and reread a bunch of parts.

Some things I loved:
*Moss and his friend group, the different roles that they took and the ways in which they supported each other. (The scene with just Moss and Bits was such a surprise to me, but it was so lovely.)
*The relationship between Moss and his mom. They're so close.
*The way Moss and his mom interact with their friends and neighbors. Things like people coming over for supper regularly, helping each other cook.
*The discussions of school funding, testing, and which colleges came to college fairs at different schools. Those things aren't separate from each other, and they're also not separate from the police presence in schools, random locker searches, school metal detectors, and murders of brown and black people that the book focuses on.
*Adults with a history of activism helping, supporting, and encouraging the teens. I especially liked that the adults let the teens speak and lead when the teens wanted to and took the lead when that was best.
*A couple of the teachers that were mentioned the most were great. Mrs. Torrance especially, but also Mr. Roberts.
*So many queer characters! Multiple important disabled characters!
*This is very much not a forgiveness narrative. It doesn't require its characters to forgive wrongs just because someone apologized.

One of the supporting characters, Kaisha, is ace. (Another one, Reg, might be as well; he says something that makes it unclear to me?) In particular, Kaisha is biro ace, and she's really vocal about both on Tumblr. There are only a few mentions of her asexuality:
*Kaisha says, "So many men thought that they were the one who could prove to me that I wasn't ace."
*Njemile says, "Seriously, y'all need to follow Kaisha. I wouldn't have learned half the stuff I know about asexuality if it wasn't for her blog."
*Reg says (immediately following Njemile's comment), "It's true. I wouldn't have figured out that there was a name for who I am if Kaisha hadn't blogged about being biromantic."

The Tumblr framing of one key discussion of Kaisha's asexuality could contribute to ace people being seen as "a Tumblr thing." But I think Oshiro avoids that here. Kaisha's online presence across many platforms is really important to the student and community organizing throughout the book. Her online presence and activism is treated positively without fail, and so is her asexuality. There's no condescension about either one.

I appreciated the acknowledgement (in the first quote I listed) of one of the kinds of harm a lot of ace folks deal with -- people trying to "fix" us or convince us that we're wrong about ourselves. I liked that Kaisha was in a romantic relationship that was portrayed entirely positively, that her asexuality wasn't treated as making that relationship lesser.

A line that made the book feel more aro-friendly to me: "You would be perfectly queer even if you never dated anyone ever." There was one use of "more than a friend," though, which made it feel a little less aro-friendly.

CW: police brutality and murders by police (these things happen in several contexts -- outside a market, within a school, at a school walkout, at subsequent protests. Note that one of the deaths is a queer char.), major character injury and death, panic attacks, racism and racial profiling (called out), Islamophobia (harassment of a hijabi girl in particular; called out), ableism (a lot of this is called out), body image issues (called out), misgendering of a trans char (called out).
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Reading Progress

September 22, 2017 – Shelved
May 22, 2018 – Started Reading
May 22, 2018 – Finished Reading

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