I don’t know whether to cry or scream or do both. It feels like I’ve done more than enough of both. And it feels like I haven’t done enough.
Ben De Backer after much debating and worrying comes out to their parents as nonbinary – not belonging to the strict binary (male/female) that most are categorized under.
Bodies are fucking weird, especially when it feels like you don’t belong in your own.
And Ben’s parents? Threw their child out of the house.
And at some point, I know I’m going to have to crawl out of this bed and pick up the pieces but right now, it can be just me. Just me, these four walls, and this bed.
Luckily Ben has their sister – who was also thrown out of the house (though for different reasons) – who has enough room to take them in.
But now that the immediate issues have been solved, Ben is at a loss. Senior year was supposed to be the time of one’s life and instead Ben finds themself more lost than ever.
At least there’s Nathan Allan – the one bright spot in Ben’s dulled life. But…if Ben comes out to him, will they lose their last friend?
“Whatever happens”—his grip tightens a little—“I wish you all the best, Benjamin De Backer.” He says it with a smile. “You deserve it.”
Not going to lie – this book challenged me. And it taught me. And I’m grateful for that.
Whenever I don’t “get” something, I do try researching on my own but to be honest, what helps the most is to read books by people who represent the aspect I’m trying to learn about.
It’s a wonderful way to “walk” a mile in their shoes and be able to get perspective from someone who I would never have known otherwise.
Coming into this book I understood the concept of being nonbinary and was more than okay with it. I’m very much of the belief that if you are not hurting anyone – do whatever it takes to make you feel happy and complete.
But, as weird as it sounds, I was still at a loss regarding how the they/them pronouns work in real life.
I can get ze/zer/zis/whatever quite easily but they/them were a different story.
Before reading this book I felt like I have a mental block where I couldn’t stop thinking that “they/them” mean two or more people (not a single, nonbinary person).
So whenever I tried reading articles or trying to grasp how to use those, I just kept getting more and more muddled cause my brain kept searching for whoever else is supposed to be in the sentence or what group the they/them belonged to.
And I’m really happy to have picked up this book because it helped me see how those pronouns work in real life and how different situations use them. (I know, this seems like a relatively weird thing but it honestly made a huge difference to me).
I honestly think I just needed exposure to those terms being used naturally in conversation or sentences for my mind to grasp how it fits into the world.
Also (in general), I really enjoyed the story. Ben was a wonderful protagonist and I really felt their agony as they came out to their parents.
That emotion was so well done that I honestly think this book should be read by so many more people. Experiencing the rejection and the hurt – even when it is “just” in a book – truly (in my opinion) is one of the best ways to educate and learn.
I also adored the relationship between Ben and Nathan. They clicked together really well and made the book pop for me.
All in all, I highly (highly) recommend this one. It truly was one of my best 2020 reads.