Tag: LGBT


Love Wins: A Dramatic Reading of Obergefell

Posted 1 July, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in musings

So last Friday the U.S. Supreme Court issued its 5-4 opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges which ultimately made marriage equality the law of the land in the United States. The decision with four separate dissents totaled 103 pages. While I found the majority decision, written by Justice Kennedy to be as eloquent as Supreme Court decisions come – the real gem in this piece was Justice Scalia’s dissent. He’s furious and it completely shows in his dissent. With all respect due to a Justice of the Supreme Court, I present to you a dramatic reading of Justice Scalia’s dissent in Obergefell. Enjoy. I know it’s no Hogwarts School of Prayer and Miracles, but I still had fun. Justice Scalia’s opinions are not my own, I’m just reading what’s been written.

If you want to read the full text of the opinion and the other dissents it can be found here.

A further resource for all things SCOTUS is SCOTUSblog.com, for their analysis and all the info on Obergefell go here.

Leave me a message about my performance, or just your thoughts, Reader. 

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Woeful Wednesday: A Little Life (A Tournament of Books Selection)

Posted 6 May, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Reviews

Woeful Wednesday: A Little Life (A Tournament of Books Selection)A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
Published by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group on March 10th 2015
Genres: Asian American, Coming of Age, Fiction, Literary, Sagas
Pages: 736
Goodreads
three-half-stars

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange honest review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he'll not only be unable to overcome--but that will define his life forever.

It’s inarguable that A Little Life is beautifully written and takes the reader to dark places that most of us would rather not go, which is normally a plus for me, but unlike many readers I wasn’t totally swept away by the this tale.

Not only was A Little Life an incredibly slow start for me (mostly because I didn’t care about most of the early details the characters experienced) but even as I went on I found the book to be increasingly unbelievable. Not so much the horrors that Jude went through, but the incredible good fortune that he kept finding in spite of his past. I’ll save most of that type of discussion for The Socratic Salon.

A Little Life could have probably benefited from some extreme editing, I think it’s about 200 pages too long and has at least three characters that could have been combined into other characters or cut. I love long cradle to grave character study sagas most of the time, but this one just felt… I don’t know, forced? I don’t have a proper adjective.

Have you read this A Little Life, Reader? What did you think? How do you think it will fare in Tournament of Books 2016?

April

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Feminist Friday: The Paying Guests (A Tournament of Books Selection)

Posted 27 February, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Reviews

Feminist Friday: The Paying Guests (A Tournament of Books Selection)The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
Published by Penguin on September 16th 2014
Genres: Fiction, General, Historical, Literary
Pages: 576
Goodreads
three-stars

It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned; the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa—a large, silent house now bereft of brothers, husband, and even servants—life is about to be transformed as impoverished widow Mrs. Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.With the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the “clerk class,” the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. Little do the Wrays know just how profoundly their new tenants will alter the course of Frances’s life—or, as passions mount and frustration gathers, how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.

What I liked about this book was the way it shook up gender roles within the narrative of historical fiction. I liked that Frances wanted to be independent and live on her own and have a real career outside of being a housewife. I liked that the first ‘friend’ Frances had actually realized that vision. 

What I can’t say is if this gives an accurate portrayal of post WWI English life, the NYT says that it does, so maybe my issue is that I’m not a hard-core historical fiction fan, nor am I a fan of romance. I’d categorize The Paying Guests under both of these labels, with a little murder/mayhem thrown in.

Look. This book is a perfect example of a well written book that just wasn’t for me. I only picked it up because of the Tournament of Books and even then was hesitant to do so because I knew enough about the novel to feel like it wasn’t in my usual wheelhouse. (This is not to say that the reading made me uncomfortable in any way, just that it’s not on my interest radar.) 

So. If you’re a historical fiction buff with a penchant for a little romance on this side, this might be for you. 

How will this fare in the Tournament? I think that it’s a close call with it paired up against A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall – but I think that ultimately A Brave Man will prevail out of the first round. We shall see.

Fabulous differing perspectives found from:
Michael at Literary Exploration
Catherine at Gilmore Guide to Books
Andi at Estella’s Revenge

How did you feel about The Paying Guests, Reader? When was the last time you read outside of your genre wheelhouse?

 

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Feckless Friday: Adam (A Tournament of Books selection)

Posted 16 January, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Reviews

Feckless Friday: Adam (A Tournament of Books selection)Adam by Ariel Schrag
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on June 10th 2014
Genres: Coming of Age, Fiction, Lesbian
Pages: 304
Goodreads
zero-stars

When Adam Freedman — a skinny, awkward, inexperienced teenager from Piedmont, California — goes to stay with his older sister Casey in New York City, he is hopeful that his life is about to change. And it sure does. It is the summer of 2006. Gay marriage and transgender rights are in the air, and Casey has thrust herself into a wild lesbian subculture. Soon Adam is tagging along to underground clubs, where there are hot older women everywhere he turns. It takes some time for him to realize that many in this new crowd assume he is trans—a boy who was born a girl. Why else would this baby-faced guy always be around? Then Adam meets Gillian, the girl of his dreams — but she couldn’t possibly be interested in him. Unless passing as a trans guy might actually work in his favor . . .

Guys, I’m not trans, but I am an ally and it’s going to be hard to hit all the reasons that this book is offensive. You know I don’t mean offensive in the sense that there’s a ton of swearing, (there is), graphic descriptions of sex (there are) – but offensive in the sense that this feels like a book written by a cis-female lesbian to shock and awe her audience into thinking that this is some sort of breakthrough in trans fiction. 

I don’t think I can write this review without spoilers. So, you’ve been warned. There are so many directions to go, I hardly know where to start. I guess we’ll just start with Adam being a bit of a creepy douchebag. Scratch that, the entire cast of characters all kind of turn out to be creepy douchebags. But we’ll start with Adam. Within the first few chapters, to impress his life-long friend he spies on his sister having sex with another woman. On purpose. Seriously? I’m really not sure what this was to add to the characterization of Adam except maybe he’s insecure and just wants to be popular. 

I actually laughed out loud at the idiotic assumption that Adam makes while looking at lesbian porn that he should know what real lesbians do, because his sister is one. What?! 

So sad and rejected from the ‘cool kids’ at school Adam decides he wants to spend the entire summer in NYC with his sister who had just finished her freshman year at Columbia. The siblings move into a flat with June, who is continually thought of as ‘butch’ and intensely ugly by Adam, and Ethan – who June and Casey have found on Craigslist.

Casey (the sister), comes across as a know-it-all on everything counter-culture sexuality. Actually, she comes across as a bitch. She also fails to do anything to offer readers any sense of empowerment with her own sexuality and really is representative of that sad girl who will do anything for attention and fails to recognize her own poor choices that put her in compromising and hurtful situations. 

If I cared enough I would go back through the book and find the number of times women are referenced as butch, ugly, or some clever insult thereof. Worst of all there is no redemption from Adam on thinking these awful things or for judging a book by its cover. Again and again women are objectified and lesbian women in this book even more so. I have to think that the shocking scene in the NYC sex club where Adam watches his sister having very public and rough sex (again), is a furtherance of that objectification. Why does this kid spend so much time watching his sister have sex?

Oh, but let’s get to where the real offense is. Adam meets the girl of his dreams (no literally, he has a vision on the plane to NYC about this girl) and *gasp* she’s a very pretty lesbian. Somehow, somehow, she mistakes Adam for a female to male transperson. …and what does Adam do? He rolls with it. So he’s totally in love with Gillian – learns everything he can about trans-culture (all the better to fool you with, my dear) and keeps up the subterfuge until blessedly the author pulls the trigger and Adam has to come clean. What happens then? Does she feel violated that she’s been having sex with someone who had committed an incredible transgression of her trust? Does she get angry and run away? 

NOT AT ALL. After Adam reveals he’s a cis-male that has been posing as trans for months, Gillian just says. “I know.” …and they stay together. WHAT?! So basically skeevy teenage boy poses as trans to get into the panties of a lovely lesbian and gets away with all the goodies. No lesson learned, nothing. I also find this offensive in reinforcing the idea that gay people can choose their orientation. All the sudden Gillian is straight and we see no struggle in her identity about that.

Are you going to say anything nice? Sure. There were tidbits of educational information about kind of maybe what it might be like to be trans. (Nothing of the terrible discrimination or the fact that the suicide rate is higher than any other population in America), but there is some education on types of surgeries a trans person may choose to go through, or why they may not choose to go through them. 

Overall though. This book is a hot mess. I read it because it’s a part of The Tournament of Books and I would love to see it destroyed. I didn’t go into it as a hate read, but somewhere along the way it ended up being one.

Edit: I thought I’d add some quotes for context.

Racism: “She had transferred … mid semester and was the only black kid in Adam’s American history class, and whenever they were talking about civil rights or racism, Kandis would get all huffy and groan really loudly any time a white kid had an opinion.” p.38

Homosexuality: “June was clearly gay. Like, no doubt about it, this was a lesbian. Casey, who had long hair and often wore skirts, wasn’t obviously gay…” p. 41 Excuse me, what does ‘clearly gay’ look like?

“It might be fun to talk with a girly lesbian, just for the night, even if it went nowhere, but none of these girls were remotely hot. Why would you want to make yourself look so unattractive?” p.56 So much for body-positivity.

Transgender: “Everyone kept talking, and all the sudden it hit Adam. He got it. The lesbians here weren’t hemaphrodites – they were girls who wanted to be guys. And somehow this was possible.” p.60

I lack questions, Reader. I guess, does this sound offensive to you from the synopsis? I had reservations going in – but it was really worse than I possibly could have imagined. 

 

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Transgender Tuesday: Gracefully Grayson

Posted 4 November, 2014 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Reviews

Transgender Tuesday: Gracefully GraysonGracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky
Published by Disney Electronic Content on November 4th 2014
Genres: Adolescence, Emotions & Feelings, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 256
Goodreads
five-stars

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange honest review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

What if who you are on the outside doesn't match who you are on the inside? Grayson Sender has been holding onto a secret for what seems like forever: "he" is a girl on the inside, stuck in the wrong gender's body. The weight of this secret is crushing, but sharing it would mean facing ridicule, scorn, rejection, or worse. Despite the risks, Grayson's true self itches to break free. Will new strength from an unexpected friendship and a caring teacher's wisdom be enough to help Grayson step into the spotlight she was born to inhabit? Debut author Ami Polonsky's moving, beautifully-written novel about identity, self-esteem, and friendship shines with the strength of a young person's spirit and the enduring power of acceptance

Aw, maaannnn y’all. It was possible that this book could go so wrong, but it ended up going so right. This is a beautifully written middle grade novel that really demonstrates the struggles and the agony that (I suspect) many transgender kids go through. It’s immensely readable and relatable even for those of us that are not a part of the transgender community. This is a story of bravery, family, and growing up. I read the whole thing in one sitting.


I felt like the adoptive aunt and uncle in the book reacted with a good juxtaposition of how a parent may react poorly to the ‘news’ that their child is transgender versus a ‘good’ reaction. The teacher was all wonderful reactions.

This novel could be great for teaching empathy and respect for all people and I would highly recommend it to parents of middle grade children. Other reviewers have criticized the lack of depth in Grayson’s transformation, it’s largely focused on being able to express himself by wearing female clothing, but I think this is all part and parcel of it being relatable to kids.

Look. This book is going to have a hard enough time getting into the hands of the kids who really need to read it – if Polonsky had gone whole hog and discussed sexuality and all the other issues related to being a trans person, I’m not sure she would have ever gotten it published for this age range. Add this to the list of books that I would love to see available and encouraged in schools, but in our current political climate – I am not optimistic.

The writing is beautiful, but not inaccessible to the age range it was written for. Definitely, definitely check this one out.

Monika at A Lovely Bookshelf has an eloquent and more in-depth review here. (Check that out too.)

So, Readers! Controversial question: Do you think you would let your kid (or hypothetical kid) read this book? Would you feel uncomfortable with it on a teaching syllabus? (No judgment, respectful dissent heartily invited.)

 

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Six Degrees of Separation: Gone Girl

Posted 15 August, 2014 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in memes

It’s a new month, which means it’s time for another Six Degrees of Separation hosted by Annabel and Emma! I’m a little behind the power-curve this month, but I made it! 


Gone Girl is dark and twisty and delightful. Whenever I hear ‘twisty and delightful’ I think of Chuck Palahniuk. Which of his books to put in the chain?

Let’s go with Haunted which is a collection of short stories. One story involves a boy who has his intestines sucked out by a pool drain pump. It’s dark and funny and as always, totally screwed up.

When I think of people having their intestines sucked out by pool drains I think of John Edwards, but I’d rather talk about his late (sort of) ex-wife Elizabeth. I haven’t read her memoirs Saving Graces – which were written before her husband’s infidelity became public, but she was a figure for both gay rights and I really admired her for filing for legal separation instead of standing by John and just taking the humiliation, like most political wives do.

Since we were talking about politics (and books I haven’t read) – I think of the law (I know, I’m adorable.) Justice Stevens has written a book that I own and am desperate to read: Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution. The fact that it had trolls on Goodreads and Amazon before it was even released, made me want to read it even more!

Speaking of trolls and haters, Caitlin Moran’s new book is going to have them coming out in droves, especially if you try to put it in a high school library. How to Build a Girl (you might have seen a post, or seven, about it…) is a delightful coming of age novel that is going to seriously piss some people off. Too bad. It’s fantastic.

Banned books. I’ve already used The Handmaid’s Tale in this meme so lets use something else. How about And Tango Makes Three. Another children’s book that inexplicably (okay, not really inexplicably) pissed people off. How can you hate a book about penguins? I know, I know. They’re gay penguins – so there’s lots of room to hate. <eyeroll>

Let’s end on a positive note. The only public figure I can think of that is more consistently positive than RuPaul is the Dalai Lama. But I’d rather end with RuPaul. RuPaul’s life partner is a man – but he doesn’t identify as gay, still from gay penguins to the drag superstar OF THE WORLD is going to have to work as a link.  Lettin’ It All Hang Out, his 1995 biography, is out of print – but if you can get your hands on it, I highly recommend it. It’s very up-lifting.

So, from Gone Girl to RuPaul’s autobiography Lettin’ it All Hang Out in six easy steps! Do you want to play? I know you do. Here’s how:

Where do YOU go from Gone Girl, Reader? Sorry if I got a bit political and/or America-centric for my international readers – it’s just where the chain took me this month. 


April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Top Ten Books I’d Recommend to Religious and Social Conservatives

Posted 5 August, 2014 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in

I know it’s rude to discuss religion and politics… but that’s just what we’re going to do today! These are my top ten picks that I would recommend to religious and social conservatives if they would be willing to read them with an open mind. Enjoy! Links go to my reviews unless noted otherwise.

  1. Pastrix by: Nadia Bolz-Weber – a beautiful spiritual memoir. Bolz-Weber is an ordained Lutheran pastor, but she’s a bit unorthodox and totally amazing. Hot topics: Religion, LGBT, Feminism
  2. Never Pray Again by: Aric Clark, et. al. – Written by three pastors, this book is a call to action for theists and atheists alike. They call for action to be more Christlike, through charity, understanding, and love. They call for you to get out of church and do something. Hot topics: Religion
  3. The Answer to Bad Religion is Not No Religion by: Martin Thielen – a book that is targeted towards progressive Christians, I think that conservative Christians could get a lot from this book if they read it with an open mind. Hot topics: Religion
  4. Atheists in America edited by: Melanie E. Brewster – A collection of essays from atheists around America. I recommend this to theists and non-theists alike. It’s a fantastic and empathetic portrayal of American atheists. We’re all around you, you just don’t know it. We’re not interested in eating your babies, either. Hot topics: Religion, atheism, LGBT
  5. God and the Gay Christian by: Matthew Vines (Monika @ A Lovely Bookshelf’s review) – I haven’t read this one yet, but I trust Monika. This book is written, surprisingly, from a conservative Christian viewpoint. I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Hot topics: Religion, LGBT
  6. A Queer and Pleasant Danger by: Kate Bornstein – Another memoir, Kate Bornstein was born a nice Jewish boy, who then joined The Church of Scientology – left, transitioned to a woman and now considers herself a gender outlaw. It’s compelling and heart-wrenching all at the same time. Hot topics: LGBT, religion, gender politics
  7. Cinderella Ate My Daughter by: Peggy Orenstein – a ‘feminism-lite’ parenting book. Good thoughts to think about whether you are raising a girl or not. Hot topics: Feminism, parenting, princess-culture
  8. How to Build a Girl by: Caitlin Moran (this is the latest of my read along posts -the previous posts are linked at the top, but there are spoilers. Clicking the title will take you to the Goodreads synopsis.) A coming of age novel that frankly explores female sexuality, masturbation, poverty, and growing up a girl. It’s fabulous. Hot topics: Feminism, sexuality, classism, poverty, welfare.
  9. Requiem For a Dream by: Hubert Selby, Jr. – a classic novel that expertly explores the horrors and havoc drug addiction and mental illness can wreak. I hope it can help people better understand and feel empathy for such people, instead of complete disgust. Hot topics: Addiction, mental health.
  10. Guns (Essay) by: Stephen King – a brilliant essay written by Stephen King in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre. There is something for everyone on all sides of the American gun debate. Hot topic: Gun control
So there you have it, Readers! Sex, drugs, religion and politics all in one post. What can you recommend to get me out of my comfort zone?


April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Freethinking Friday: Atheists in America

Posted 28 February, 2014 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Reviews

Atheists in America by Melanie E. Brewster
three-stars

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange honest review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This collection features more than two dozen narratives by atheists from different backgrounds across the United States. Ranging in age, race, sexual orientation, and religious upbringing, these individuals address deconversion, community building, parenting, and romantic relationships, providing a nuanced look at living without a god in a predominantly Christian nation.

These narratives illuminate the complexities and consequences for nonbelievers in the United States. Stepping away from religious belief can have serious social and existential ramifications, forcing atheists to discover new ways to live meaningfully without a religious community. Yet shedding the constraints of a formal belief system can also be a freeing experience. Ultimately, this volume shows that claiming an atheist identity is anything but an act isolated from the other dimensions of the self. Upending common social, political, and psychological assumptions about atheists, this collection helps carve out a more accepted space for this minority within American society.


The writing in the forward and introduction to the chapters is a little clunky. That being said, most of the essays were well written and thoughtful. This would be an excellent read for all American theists who wish to understand their atheistic neighbors and friends that are hiding in plain sight. 

I would hope that a volume like this would be widely read by evangelicals and theists wanting to gain a greater understanding of who the atheist community is and maybe, just maybe, we could all learn to get along. I would recommend this book to atheists as well. There are essays by minorities and other marginalized groups that are often discounted by ‘mainstream’ atheists. It is these sections that I would guide the atheist and humanist to.

Each section consists of three or four short essays from atheists, often describing their ‘de-conversion’ experience, sometimes telling of their childhood, and too often describing heartbreaking loss that ‘coming out’ as atheists had caused them in their personal, professional, and social lives. The essays at the beginning are the weakest in the collection. This book does not have to be read in order and a reader might feel more comfortable spreading out the collection over time.  

Each narrative is different but most describe a sense of freedom upon recognizing that they no longer ‘bought into’ whatever myths they had been raised with. There are a few stories from people who were raised without religion and their stories are compelling as well. While they never risked the loss of love and respect from family members or close-knit church groups there were other hurdles to be overcome. In the essay ‘It’s Complicated’ by Ethan Sahker, who was raised without religion he had to overcome his own prejudices and rigidity to find a compatible partner. 

There are some essays that come across as smug or pedantic, but I didn’t find the tone in any of the essays to be up to par with Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens. May I even go as far to say that many of the essays were more sincere and less legalistic than many recent apologetics? (Yes, it’s my blog, I’m going that far.) There were essays that echo my own feelings about being an atheist, though none of the stories were exactly like my own. 

Ultimately this is a book about what it is to be an individual, theistic or not our worldview shapes a part of who all humans are. 


If you’re an atheist, you definitely should read this. If you’re a theist looking for a better understanding of those of us with a different worldview, or just looking to get out of your comfort zone, this is a decent choice. (Spoiler: No one is mad at god or particularly rebellious.)

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Transgender Tuesday: ‘A Queer and Pleasant Danger’

Posted 14 January, 2014 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Reviews

Transgender Tuesday: ‘A Queer and Pleasant Danger’A Queer and Pleasant Danger by Kate Bornstein
Published by Beacon Press on May 1st 2012
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Gender Studies, Personal Memoirs, Religion, Scientology, Social Science
Pages: 258
Goodreads
four-stars

A stunningly original memoir of a nice Jewish boy who joined the Church of Scientology and left twelve years later, ultimately transitioning to a woman. A few years later, she stopped calling herself a woman and became famous as a gender outlaw. Kate Bornstein—gender theorist, performance artist, author—is set to change lives with her compelling memoir. Wickedly funny and disarmingly honest, this is Bornstein's most intimate book yet, encompassing her early childhood and adolescence, college at Brown, a life in the theater, three marriages and fatherhood, the Scientology hierarchy, transsexual life, LGBTQ politics, and life on the road as a sought-after speaker.

Other than having the longest title ever, this is actually a fascinating and heart-warming book. For the most part this book was incredibly enjoyable and covered an extraordinary scope of topics without sacrificing the writing element.

Overall, this book is excellent, but let me start out with what bothered me, which was the apparent levity in which the author treats her eating disorders and the desire to cut. 

I’m not talking about S&M here (which is also explored in the memoir), that’s a different issue – I’m not here to judge. But anorexia and cutting are serious issues that should be treated (or at least acknowledged) as such.

That being said, the apparent honesty and freshness in the way that she writes is amazing. Mark Twain believed that no man could ever write a completely true biography in his lifetime — or ever. Kate Bornstein has come as close as anyone ever will to doing that. 

I already knew that there are assholes everywhere, but the passages relating to Bornstein being discriminated against at lesbian and/or feminism functions and the community just sadden me. 


The passages concerning Scientology are fascinating, as there will always be when people speak out about notoriously closed societies.

Great for people with an interest in gender studies and LGBT rights/issues.


What about you, Reader? What are you looking for in a memoir?

 

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Shantay, You Stay Saturday: Lettin’ it All Hang Out: An Autobiography

Posted 11 January, 2014 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Reviews

Shantay, You Stay Saturday: Lettin’ it All Hang Out: An AutobiographyLettin It All Hang Out by RuPaul
Published by Hyperion on June 1st 1995
Genres: General, Social Science
Pages: 240
Goodreads
four-stars

The world's best-known drag performer tells of his rise from poverty to superstardom and offers beauty tips, positive thinking tools, and his unique sense of humor in a first book filled with photographs. Tour.

Anyone who’s known me for any period of time knows that I don’t watch reality TV. I’ve never watched American IdolSurvivor, or Project Runway. (I might tune into random episodes of Hell’s Kitchen or Kitchen Nightmares, but let’s face it, that’s just because Gordon Ramsay is hot.)

But there is one show that I am unashamedly, unabashedly, and unapologetically obsessed with. Yes, children, it’s RuPaul’s Drag Race. If I ever met RuPaul in or out of drag I would probably fangirl all over myself. The best part about the show, is that while the queens snip and snark at and with each other (it *is* reality television after all), when Ru lets a queen go it’s never with the usual snappy “You suck!” type of attitude that typifies competitions that we see both on and off television these days.

No, Ru reminds the queen that they’re beautiful, brilliant, and while they’re going home now, they still have so much to offer the world and will be great. Each show ends with Ru (in fantastic drag) proclaiming, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love someone else? Can I get an amen?”

Anyway this memoir was written before RuPaul had started her Drag Race days, but still conveys positivity and the importance of self love. I love this passage:

“When asked what she named her baby boy, my Mother replied, “His name is RuPaul Andre Charles and he’s gonna be a star! Cause ain’t another mother f**ker alive with a name like that!””

Ru seems to have taken that to heart fairly early. There were ups and downs in his life, but he has continued to be true to who he is, satisfied himself with the title ‘Supermodel of the World’ in the ’90’s and now is nearly singlehandedly responsible for bringing the art form of drag to the mainstream, at least that’s the humble opinion of this straight cis-girl.

Just like the show there are many little nuggets of advice and positive ways to handle adversity, disappointment, and bigotry. Love, always love, is Ru’s advice. Also, never ever forget to blend.

This is a fun and easy read, a definite must for RuPaul fangirls like me.

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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