Reviewed by Jackie Marchant
This book, as well being gay, is important. It’s an important book because it deals in an open an honest way with a subject that should be, but isn’t, covered in schools. It deals with the bit they miss out in sex education – the fact that some people are not heterosexual, but still need to know what’s what in regard to themselves and their relationships. And it deals with this information in an open, honest, sometimes funny and, most importantly, factual, way.
It is also a very sad book. Sad because there is a whole chapter about the prejudice people face if they are not heterosexual. Or, as a lot of people put it, not normal. But, as the book quite rightly points out, being in a minority does not make you not normal.
It's an alarming book. Alarming in its list of countries that carry the death penalty for gay sex, some of which are popular holiday destinations. (Might make you want to change your plans for that dream vacation). Alarming in the way religion is used as an excuse to terrorise those who happen to fall in love with someone of the same gender, or decide that they were born in the wrong one.
But it is an upbeat book. It’s a celebration of being allowed to be who you are and what you are. It’s a book that says it’s OK to be different, that it’s OK to love and be loved in a relationship that may fall outside of the statistical average. And, more importantly, it offers support for anyone who is discovering their sexuality and a lot of sage advice on how to go forward.
It’s a book that should be available to young people, in school libraries, accessible by those who need a friend at what can be a difficult and confusing time. And it should be read by everyone else as well, so they can understand their own prejudices and accept, support and celebrate those who are different. As the author himself says ‘I want young LGBT people to know they're not alone, and we're here – everywhere – and ready to help.’
Unfortunately, I think this may also be a book that is sneaked out and read in a brown paper bag. But, having been read, maybe it will one day come out with its reader.
This book is a thank you to those in the majority who accept the minority for being who they are – and how important it is to carry that message of support.
In other words, it’s a book for everyone.
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