She/He/They/Me is a choose-your-own-adventure type novel that lets you choose your path through gender. Gender has become more and more important in recent years, so understanding it is pertinent to the modern person.
Why this book?: The cover caught my eye while I was scrolling through NetGalley. I’ve been trying to read more non-fiction, so this felt like a good place to start!
I would like to thank Sourcebooks for allowing me access to the ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
One of the most fascinating things about this book is the fact that it’s written in a choose-your-own-adventure style, leading you through a journey unique to yourself and your choices. I was excited to take two different types of paths: the one that I wished I had taken, and the one I currently lived with. Despite being extremely excited for this book, and hoping it would be as amazing as it sounded . . . it just never lived up to the expectations. It also never lived up to what it promised.
Let me explain something. When I (or probably, anyone) reads “For the Sisters, Misters, and Binary Resisters” on the cover of a book, one would assume that that meant this book would include some decent amount of discussion on people outside of the gender binary. That never happened. Or, maybe I’m being a little dramatic. Of the 160+ chapters, I think about 4 of them discussed anything outside of the gender binary. That was so frustrating, especially because I picked up this book solely because I thought it was going to be about non-binary and transgender people. The cover even implies that it’s going to be more about non-binary people than binary people–but there wasn’t.
A book that promises to be about non-binary people should be about non-binary people, but instead it was mainly about binary gender roles. It discussed things like women’s health care throughout the year, and different experiences you would have in other societies as male or female. When I tried to follow the path I followed, I chose “assigned female at birth” and then “gender identity denied/repressed by family”. That led me to a page that read “You’ll live as cisgender for now”. Okay, that was what I did for a while. But then it never went back to gender questioning. It never went back to the fact that I chose “gender identity denied” and that I was not cisgender. That was so fucking hurtful. Oh, my gender identity was denied by my family? Guess I’ll just never live as my actual gender identity.
There were a few things I liked. This book’s formatting was interesting, and it was fun to read overall. There were some chapters that were interesting, and I wasn’t bored through the whole thing. My biggest problem was just the fact that it promised one thing, and delivered another. That was so frustrating.
Final Rating: ★★★☆☆
This book is not what it says it is. It’s not what it promises it’s going to be. It’s a book about gender roles and gender around the world, but it barely goes into gender identity, being trans and/or non-binary, and decides that if you’re parents don’t accept you, you’ll never be out. And that’s just harmful.
Would I Recommend?
If you’re not looking for a book on gender identity, and instead of gender roles and gender around the world, go right ahead. Also don’t go into this book expecting to be accepting if you hadn’t been before.
Published: March 5th, 2019
Page Count: 320
Synopsis: via Goodreads
A groundbreaking, creative new book that explores one of the most important, challenging, and fluid concepts in society today: Gender.
Gender is at the forefront of our cultural landscape today. From pronouns to politics to pop culture, people are finally finding a new freedom in the fluidity of identity. Now more than ever, it’s important to understand, embrace, and intelligently discuss the many sides of gender.
She/He/They/Me is a unique and engagingly creative take on an increasingly complex concept. A nontraditional, nonlinear structure allows readers to choose their own path, from a patriarchal culture to a scenario where sex doesn’t even exist, and beyond. This method of individual exploration will help readers gain the understanding and confidence they need to engage in meaningful conversations about gender.
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