This is a non-review because I haven’t read this book and have no intention of doing so. In a way, this is a PSA.
Honestly, I’ve been very disappointed with much of the bookish community with the reaction to a blatantly transphobic book and author. Partially, I think it’s because everyone loves this author — hell, I liked him up until this point — so they don’t want to say much.
But, I am. (Because I can’t shut up and I like putting my 2 cents in when possible.)
I’m referring to My Brother’s Name is Jessica by John Boyne.
He wrote a transphobic book that’s coming out today. He’s been telling ownvoices readers that they’re wrong and that he’s not transphobic, all while doubling down by writing a transphobic article.
So, before I put what I wrote on Goodreads here, I want to be very clear. Chantel and I have spoken about this since we still run things by one another even though she’s not a big presence on the blog at the moment. She agreed that this is something we both want to stand for.
Therefore: If I see you reading/reviewing this book on my dashboard, you will be unfollowed. Perhaps you think that you’re just wanting to join in on the book and decide for yourself what you think. Good for you. I still do not want to see people reading, and perhaps defending, a book that has every single trans reviewer saying that it’s blatantly transphobic. I have said this on Instagram for followers there and it will be the same on the blog. Also, this statement is the same on Goodreads.
That being said, here’s my non-review of this book.
|I have not read this.
Wanted to get that out there first, you know?
Second, I’m transgender.
And I hate that title. It sounds so ignorant. Based on reviews, perhaps that’s the point of it, but I hate it. Seriously. It comes across as so transphobic and ignorant. It sounds like it should have been published in the early 2000s when it was a teensy bit more acceptable. (Doesn’t excuse it, but it was okay.)
As an ownvoices person, that title alone means I probably won’t read this book. Breaks my heart because I enjoy this author, but, seriously, it just sounds so fucking bad. I’m tired of books that other the trans community.
It’s even worse since I found out about this book on International Transgender Day of Visibility. This is shit that makes us “other” and “novel”. We’re weird and special and, even if we present as a gender identity other than what we were born as, we are still, inherently, the gender that we don’t identify as anymore.
Wow. Writing this review has made me switch my own shelf from “maybe” to “never”. I can’t bring myself to read a book that sounds harmful to the community. These are my own thoughts, too. Just reading that title was triggering to me.