I read this book along with the Book Bound Society for Pride Month. And hopefully this review gives you a general idea of what to expect before you pick up the book. Also for #sumbtreadathon I am going to review every single thing I read so get ready for a lot of Rea’s opinions this month.
Synopsis: World history has been made by countless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals—and you’ve never heard of many of them. Queer author and activist Sarah Prager delves deep into the lives of 22 people who fought, created, and loved on their own terms. From high-profile figures like Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt to the trailblazing gender-ambiguous Queen of Sweden and a bisexual blues singer who didn’t make it into your history books, these astonishing true stories uncover a rich queer heritage that encompasses every culture, in every era.
Rating: 3/5 Stars
When I first read this book I was thinking that this was something I wish I had when I was younger. It truly opened a whole new view of the world that is not taught or is very ignored. It consists of quick biographies of queer people who created a change in the world. There were people in this book that I had known previously of but I had not known they were also part of the queer community. It made me very happy as I read it. I actually read it in a span of three hours.
That’s how easy it was to read and how enjoyable it was. It showed the difficulties they went through because of their sexuality/gender. I find this book to be something that could have been important to many young readers. This book is something I wanted to give to all queer readers to show them that they aren’t alone. This is something I want to throw at people who say “in my time there weren’t gay people” because yes! There WERE. You just ignored the fact that these icons existed!
It doesn’t cover all the identities out there sadly. And I certainly do wish they would create another novel fixing some of the hurtful aspects I cover below.
One of the things that did bother me a lot as I read was that this book was that it focused a lot on the Western society. Ignoring the Indigenous and Asian populations. There should have been more effort placed in finding people from all over the globe and not just the Americas and Europe. There were POC but if they were POC they were Westerners. Not that it’s a bad thing but they practically ignored half the world.
This book was great and if you followed my Instagram you saw how happy it made me when I first read it, but goodness… On Sunday when I was preparing this review I thought “let me check out the glossary it has in the back”.
Good grief. It had the audacity to say the A in LGBTQIA+ stood for ALLY. In what world has the A ever stood for Ally. Ignoring all the other identities (Asexual, Aromantic, +) that start with an A and giving it to allies. My eye was probably twitching in anger as I saw that.
And usually when I spot one thing bad in a book suddenly all these things start jumping out at me that I did not notice the first time. They do give an explination to why they used the dead name of some the transgender icons. And yes they do say that no one should ever use a dead name–but then they themselves do it. They do give reasons why they do so but I feel–in my opinion– that it was a disrespect. Just because in a memoir they refer to their past with their dead name doesn’t mean a person who never met them can. I don’t know but that bothered me greatly.
This book would have been so great but in the end I feel a bit uncomfortable recommending it to anyone.
It’s great for the young queer reader to know they aren’t alone yet some of the things they demonstrate/teach is hurtful. I didn’t see this factors the first time I read through it because I was just too excited to learn about historical queer figures. It was a good step in the right direction but there should have been more…how should I say this. More diverse queer editors.
“I cannot understand those so-called ‘normal’ people who believe that a man should love only a woman, and a woman love only a man. If this were so, then it disregards completely the spirit, the personality, and the mind, and stresses the importance of the physical body.”
Also I am very salty people that are giving this book bad ratings because it felt like the writing was too “juvenile” WELL IT WAS MEANT FOR YOUNG PEOPLE, JANICE. WE DON’T WANT HEAVY READS WE WANT LGBTQIA+ ICONS.
Overall be careful when picking this book up for the reasons stated above. It has amazing consist biographies of these people which is always great to learn about if you want to read it still.
That’s all I have to say for now,