(Instruction Manual of Sorts): This Book Is Gay by James Dawson

(Instruction Manual of Sorts): This Book Is Gay by James DawsonThis Book Is Gay by James Dawson
on 2014-09-01
Pages: 271
Former PSHCE teacher and acclaimed YA author James Dawson gives an uncensored look at what it's like to grow up as LGBT. Including testimonials from people across the gender and sexual spectrums, this frank, funny, fully inclusive book explores everything anyone who ever dared to wonder wants to know - from sex to politics, how to pull, stereotypes, how to come-out and more.

In This Book Is Gay, James Dawson sets out to provide information and support for teens who are questioning or coming to terms with their sexuality. Presented in a light-hearted and humorous way, This Book Is Gay was both informative and funny complete with facts, personal anecdotes and testaments from LGBT* people around the world.

I’m well aware that being a heterosexual in my mid-twenties that I am far from the target audience for this book. But I was curious. Despite it being the twenty-first century, there is still a stigma attached to homosexuality and other non-traditional sexualities. I wanted to see what James Dawson had to say. And I have to admit for the most part I was impressed.

The information presented in This Book Is Gay covers a wide spectrum of situations from someone coming to terms with their own sexuality to coming out and expectations once they are in a relationship. It shows the darker side of sex with a chapter on sexually transmitted infections but it also explores the humorous side of relationships too. Some readers might be quite confronted with how openly sex in all its forms is discussed but I admired how this is a self-help book which is not afraid to give the information it thinks its readers are looking for.

There were some chapters I thought were beautifully handled – such as the one concerning religion – but there were others I didn’t appreciate quite as much. The crux of this book is essentially that no matter who you identify as or whatever your sexuality is, it is okay. You should embrace who you are and ignore the haters. Which is a great message. But there were times when I found myself somewhat confused. There’s an entire chapter devoted to stereotypes and how they are garbage. But then later in the book there were parts about gay icons etc. which in my mind just reinforced the stereotype.

Overall, I thought this book achieved what it set out to do. The information is presented in an upbeat way with funny illustrations by Spike Gerrell throughout the book. James Dawson’s style is fantastic to read with this book being written in a very approachable style. This Book Is Gay is an honest and open read and one which I feel is a great resource for teens who want answers from someone who has been there and understands how confusing sexuality can be.


Thanks to Hot Key Books for the review copy

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