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This Book is Gay

An honest and illuminating guide for LGBT teens and their families

July in London brings the annual Pride Festival and Parade, a joyful celebration of LGBT culture and history. It’s the ideal opportunity to highlight This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson, a warm and supportive guide to all aspects of LGBT life. There’s no doubt that fizzing hormones and emerging sexuality can lead to tumultuous times. If that sexuality feels different or ‘other’ to the mainstream, then embracing it must sometimes seem impossibly hard and terrifying.

At least one person in your teenager’s classroom will identify as non-straight. Maybe it’s your very own child. Juno Dawson knows that young adults grappling with sexual identity can be confused and anxious, and says ‘…what if there were a whole bunch of people who’d been through it all before, to mentor you through this funny old patch’. How reassuring that would be.

We learn not only about the spectrum of sexuality but also gender. LGBT is an umbrella term for the whole community, and all it’s members are included here, but the emphasis is on sexuality. Despite the serious subject, the tone is warm and often funny, punctuated with witty illustrations. Things that did not make you gay: musical theatre, Satan, a pushy mother, toilet seats.

History, biology, and politics are examined in an easily accessible way. The dehumanising nature of stereotyping is addressed, and a chapter entitled ‘Haterz gon’ hate’, discusses homophobia and ways to deal with it.

Many pages are devoted to ‘coming out’, and it feels like Juno Dawson is the reader’s own counsellor, along with a clutch of personal testimonies from a wide range of perspectives. Be aware that it is sexually explicit in parts. This book feels like a reassuring friend for LGBT teenagers and all who love them.

…You’re FREE now and don’t have to HIDE….you’re joining a vast collective of cool, happy, inspirational people, each with a story to tell

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2 Responses to “The Private Blog of Joe Cowley: Straight Outta Nerdsville by Ben Davis”

  1. Ann Backer

    Julie, finally found Bookstoker! It’s my new best bookfriend. Have read several from your list already and will be on the lookout for others as they appear in paperback- at Ark and Norli and Tanum. (Because it’s so important to browse and buy locally.)
    Life has settled down enough now for me to read in long stretches of time.
    This summer, a mix of biographies and novels. A friend gave me Knausgasrd I, “because you live in Norway”. A struggle even so.
    You mentioned An Examined Life. Do you know that Norli has piles of the translated copies, for kr 99?
    Because a woman working there recommended it so highly.
    So impressed with your reviews! Look forward to more and more!
    Greetings from Ann, 9:30 pm, out on the veranda at Hankø

    • Julie

      Hi Ann,

      So pleased you’ve found us and that you like Bookstoker! Please tell your friends, we always need more followers. And do let me know if you read something exceptional. Always on the lookout for good reads. I loved The Examined Life, good to hear it’s out in Norway. Enjoy summer! Have so many wonderful memories from Hankø with you.


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