Margaret Adelle's Reviews > GenderQueer: A Story from a Different Closet

GenderQueer by Allan D. Hunter
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really liked it

I've been meaning to diversify my review list for some time and the idea of this book intrigued me. So when I saw the author asking around for reviews, I was eager to request a copy.

Right off the bat, this isn't really a book for people who don't already have some level of awareness of gender issues. That's not to say that you have to be an expert in the field to read this, but having some experience with it (speaking with genderqueer friends, being aware of the separation of gender and sex in modern discourse, etc.) will make this a much easier book to understand. However, I don't fault the book for that as that was never a purpose it set out to fulfill. It's meant for people who think and like the author did. Any awareness spread is a bonus.

The writing style was easy enough to follow as it was in snippets for the most part, like little bite sized pieces of a life strung together. There is some language (homophobic slurs especially) that are used as an authentic recreation of experience in eras when those words were used regularly, but readers with certain sensitivities may want to be aware going in.

The stories told in here do come across as genuine. There is genuine growth of identity as it progresses. I admit the whole "I'm not like other boys." part was a bit off putting, but it was a reality of the author's mindset awhile ago. The biggest struggle I had was with the protagonist's emphasis on wanting sex. There were some "nice guy" implications coming across that put me on edge. Especially during Derek's hippie days, there was an ongoing subtext of "I'm nice, so girls should want to sleep with me." In certain moments, Derek would ask the rhetorical "Am I being creepy?" and I responded in my head with an unequivocal "YES."

The end is by far the best part. Once Derek is aware of his identity and working through it during his second stint at college, it becomes much more clear in the narrative. The creepiness goes away almost immediately and the book provides a lot of food for thought. The ending lecture, as well as the author's notes, provide an uplifting look at coming to grips with your identity and learning to love it.

Like I mentioned before, this book is not "Genderqueer 101." There are a million discussion about gender identity we could be having, but this is a book review. And as far as the book goes, it provides a very raw, at times heartbreaking and at times creepy, but uplifting story of finding out who you are... regardless of what the world says you should be.
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Reading Progress

February 19, 2020 – Shelved
February 19, 2020 – Shelved as: to-read
February 25, 2020 – Started Reading
February 26, 2020 – Finished Reading

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