There is this book I liked and I care about so I want you to know more about it:
This is a hard book to write about as I have a lot of thoughts about basically everything that’s happening in it. Anyone who knows me a little better knows how deeply I care about LGBT* people and issues and how deeply I care about topics I or friends of mine relate to and this book contains both.
So, where do I begin?
The Art of Being Normal tells the story of two boys, David and Leo. They take turns in narrating the story, each of them has their own font so that you can distinguish the chapters easily. David always wanted to be a girl, but so far he didn’t have the courage to talk to his parents about it, only his two best friends know about this. David is basically the underdog, the wallflower, and he’s called a freak by some classmates. Then Leo – who is a year older, David is fifteen – changes to David’s school and they meet at some point.
At first I had no idea where this was going and I didn’t really like that. The first half of the book felt rather aimless, yes, sure David wants to be a girl and there’s mysterious Leo we don’t really know much about and who doesn’t want anyone to know much about him but what do they all want to achieve? Where is this going?
And then, okay, this is actually a major spoiler but I have no clue how to talk about this book properly without giving this away, Leo tells David that he was born a girl.
Leo tells us his story, about always wanting to be a boy, about always thinking some mistake must have happened, and he tells us about the horrible transphobia on his old school which is the reason he changed to David’s.
I thought it was incredibly sad and also pretty horrifying to read this part, but for me this is important. Things are not easy for trans people, especially not when the people surrounding you are assholes and come on, teenagers are often assholes.
Leo and David then go on to bond and here I won’t spoil anything else about this book, but a lot of things do happen and it’s getting rather fast paced, which I enjoyed a lot. There are bad things happening and good things and in the end, I can tell you this much, it’s okay. Not everything, definitel not, and especially David has a lot coming up, but it’s okay and you have hope for both of them. You have hope for them living a great life, in the body and with the name they want to have.
The Art of Being Normal doesn’t show all the aspects of being trans or all the sitations you could be in, but it shows you quite a few of them.
It shows you a boy who wants to be a girl but hasn’t “done” anything yet and has to do some decisions. It shows you a boy who used to be a girl and who had a lot of problems with the peers around him. It shows you the parents, the best friends, it shows you angst and uncertainity and anger but also hope and powerful, lovely moments that definitely made me tear up.
This book made me cry a few times and I think it made me understand. Never before I have read a book that focuses on only transgender kids. I don’t know how accurate the feelings of David and Leo are portrayed but I hope they’re right.
A friend of mine IS transgender and I want to understand him and all the other people out there. I want to understand and be able to say the right words to them when they’re not feeling great. I want to be encouraging and I want to know. This is something really important to me because I care very deeply about my friends and I think books like this help or at least show me things I may haven’t thought about before.
I definitely encourage everyone to read more LGBT* novels and this is one of those I would recommend you. It’s maybe not the best book about this topics but it’s definitely not a bad one.
See you soon ❤