CW: transphobia, homophobia, and outing
I wanted more from this book. I wanted a whole lot more from this whole story, honestly.
Out of this whole book, there were only two things that I liked: The writing and the accurate portrayal of being a transman.
The writing was absolutely lyrical and was one of the only things that kept me reading. McLemore knows how to turn a phrase and how to draw you in with her words. However, the prose was also very purple and it wore on me after a while, especially once it became clear to me that the book didn’t really have a plot to it.
The thin plot, at least, had some interesting characters. Samir was definitely my favorite. I could understand him since I’m also a transman. It’s familiar to me. And I thought that McLemore got the closest to being own voices because she knows the plight that her husband had. The biggest pro to this book was how honestly she portrayed being trans. The awkwardness and trying to hide it. And having sex on the page was incredibly empowering to see.
I never warmed up to Miel or her story, along with any of the other background characters. Like, they were nice but they were just… meh. I had no interest in them. Most likely because of the magical realism.
I don’t do magical realism well.
If I’m reading fantasy, I want it to be plain fantasy. Give me a weird world and something entirely new. I don’t want something where it’s not really certain if this is the real world and there’s magic tacked into it. And this book killed me with it. I didn’t like it. Sure, you could take the flowers and the wet skirt and just water in general as a great metaphor, but I really didn’t like it.
So, that’s my unpopular opinion. I did not like this book. At times it was okay and even good, but mainly there was a huge disconnect because of the magical realism. It completely kept me from fully engaging because I was constantly trying to figure out what the hell was going on and whether something was real or an elaborate metaphor.
Have I gone completely crazy? If you’ve read this, what did you think of it? Do you agree with me or am I going to sit in the corner alone because of this book?