Do Not Read “My Brother’s Name is Jessica”: A PSA

Hello all.

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.

Blogging burnout

So. About those changes.

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This isn’t going to be one of those sweet, loving, adorable personal posts where I tell you how great my life is and all that.

Today, I want to talk to you about blogging burnout.

I’m familiar with burnout from social work. It’s when you’re just tired and exhausted and cynical and everything else. You can’t do any of the work that you need to do despite needing to do it. If you want to know more about the signs, click here.

And, I’m burning out. I’m just running out of steam. This isn’t just with blogging, but just in general. However, it’s really showing up here. I’ve already stepped back from doing Instagram posts every day to help ward off against this.

Since Chantel left, it’s been very hard on me. I’m feeling very discouraged and get so damn stressed about making sure I have posts set-up and am reading enough books and checking the blog a few times a day. And, what I get back from blogging isn’t justifying the stress.

I don’t feel like I’ve been putting my all into reviews because I’m reading and reading and reading to try to make enough content to last me a month, then I’m so busy that I can’t write reviews right away. And so I can’t write quality reviews that I want to.

Don’t get me wrong, I fucking love all of your likes and comments. I love your posts. I love it all. But, I’m just so damn stressed and am barely able to function. Last week, I had a breakdown on Tuesday because I was so stressed. Chantel and I talked about this, too, because I value her input in the blog even if she’s no longer an active presence.

That means I’ve made a decision about the blog that did not come lightly. I’ve been thinking about this for a very long time, going between various ideas that included quitting altogether or bringing in another blogger to create content. I don’t want my mental health to suffer. I’m very much a go-getter so I don’t like doing this, but I know that I have to.

I’ve come to this conclusion.

I will not be posting daily anymore.

My goal is to post somewhere between 3-5 times a week.

What will the blog schedule look like?

Well, it’s going to look something like this.

  • Top Ten Tuesday every week
  • A tag that I’ve been tagged in bimonthly on Thursdays
  • Fridays: alternate between First Lines Friday and Down the TBR Hole
  • Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays, or Sundays will feature a book review.

And, that’s basically it.

I don’t really like that I’m dropping back because I’ve loved posting daily for the past months. However, as Chantel is currently on an indefinite hiatus and I’m in graduate school, that’s not feasible. Making this decision, I already feel so much lighter. I don’t feel nearly as stressed and I’ve been able to enjoy reading more.

These changes are going to be effective immediately.

Despite these changes, I’m going to be around each and every day to like your posts. I’m hoping that this will translate to me having more time to comment on your posts as well.

Thank you all for following us. I know that we are in awe at how many of you there are. And that goes for whether you’ve been here from the start or recently found us. Thank you all so much. I know my life would be less rich if I hadn’t gotten into this community.

2nd Blogiversary!

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Y’all, it’s March 10th.

That means…

It’s our second blogiversary!!

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So, first and foremost, thank all of you for following us! We seriously can’t believe that you’ve all decided to follow this blog. It’s amazing and gratifying and just has been an experience neither of us would take back.

Second, there will be a few changes coming to the blog! We updated our About Us page, so you should check it out. There are also a few more practical changes coming. There will be a post, so keep your eye out for it.

But, thank you all for following us! We’re so happy that we’ve done this for two years and that we’re getting closer to year three!

My birthday is in a month…?

I’ve waited my whole life to put this song up.

Because, in a month, I’m turning 23. I fully expect this to be the year no one likes me. Thanks blink-182.

But, seriously! I’m turning 23.

This is going to be a ramble-y update post, so hang onto your butts.

What’s happened since my last update post, though?

I’ve started my classes. I have two very good ones — one is about community and organizations while the other is about practicing social work — and one that everyone hates. The professor has checked out because she has officially retired and is just kinda here. Which is fine. It means I don’t have to worry that much about the class.

I’m also still at my current practicum. It’s going well! My current caseload is about five patients. One only wants to be seen once a month, which is fine. Another I see weekly. Then three others I see every two weeks. The three I see every two weeks are ones I’ve had from the beginning, so I love seeing them.

In more news, I also have my clinical (i.e. second) year practicum nailed down! I was a bit hesitant about the placement, but when I interviewed, it felt right. Within five minutes, the person interviewing me was telling people who walked in that I’d be with them next year. So, I’m really excited.

The placement is at an in-patient psychiatric facility. They have various programs, but I’ll be working with the senior adult program. I’ll be doing group therapy, activities, one-on-ones, etc. But, even better, in my second semester, they’ll let me branch out! Like, I can go to the adolescent program for a week. Or any of the others they have. I can experiment and work with populations that I don’t usually get to.

Even better, I could, theoretically, get hired by them if there’s a job opening. If there’s not, I could get a contract with them and be employed as needed.

So, basically, I’ve been good. Very busy, but good.

Talk to me!
How are you all??
What’s been going on with you?


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This is a pretty spontaneous post, but omg y’all!

400 of you follow us! I’m absolutely speechless about this. All of you are amazing. Thank you for supporting us as our blog develops and changes, and helping us grow on here, Instagram, and Twitter.

I’ve had a pretty bad day, so getting on to check things out made it a whole lot better.

So, thank you for all the likes, comments, and feedback on our blog. Thank you for all the laughs and insight you’ve given. Thank you for everything.

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Chantel’s Comeback Post

So, I’ve been on hiatus from the blog since the end of August. If you have followed us since then, hi there! I’m Chantel the other half of BW Reviews. Caidyn and I started this blog in March of 2017 and we are almost going on two years. However, I decided to take a break. A much-needed break. I took a break for the sake of my mental health. I’ve struggled with depression since I was a teenager and I’ve lived with it. I’ve had ups and downs and I didn’t even notice things were steadily going down for me. I’m doing much better now and if you take anything away from this post, just know it’s okay to take a break.

In general, I’m not a particularly motivated person. I never have been and I think that has continued into adulthood because I haven’t suffered any consequences as of yet. In school, I never failed because I was too lazy to do the homework. I understand the work but refused to do homework. However, when it would come time to work on essays outside of class I struggled.

The last time I went to college, I was overwhelmed by how much work outside of class I had to do. Not to mention I was working at the same time. Here’s the thing, I wish I was a driven person who did things she didn’t want to do, but I’m not.

I’ve taken a hiatus from the blog because I wasn’t reading and I was struggling mentally. My heart wasn’t in anything I was doing so I stepped back. Caidyn is a fucking hero for posting on the blog EVERYDAY while working on his Master’s and doing Practicum, oh and working too. I want to BE him when I grow up. I left at what was possibly the worst time to but I’m going to come back. I’ve missed blogging and being a part of a community.

I’m still not reading regularly, but trust me when I say I have plenty to talk about. The blog was always review based, but I hope to go beyond reviews and talk about things that are important to me.

I just want to share my thoughts with people who agree or disagree with me and have a productive conversation about it. Maybe I will sprinkle in a review here and there, but my plan is to write for the blog again.

Back to the grind

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If you’re reading this, that means that I’m back in my practicum. Most likely, if you read this right when it’s published, I’m in my car waiting for my day to start.

Not being in practicum for a month has been very nice. It’s been relaxing, in a way. Of course, I missed my patients. I love all the ones that I see and am excited to be working with them again for that reason.

I didn’t really make a big deal out of it on here, but my favorite patient passed away while I was gone. One of my coworkers (since we do work together, even though I’m a student) texted me to let me know he had gone. It had been peaceful and he had gone easily, but it was still hard. I saw him every Monday while his wife was out volunteering. We would talk about life and his experiences and anything else that he wanted to. He lived a very full life and, although I’m sad he’s passed on, he was ready to go.

So, I’m going to have to find some new patients to work with and adjust to any declines that happened over break. Still, it’s going to be really nice heading back and getting back in the swing of things.

With all that, I’ll be around a little less often. Still liking and commenting and posting, but I’ll definitely be busier again!

2018 in Review

Hello all! Today, I want to reflect on 2018, a year that had many highs and lows in it. I definitely experienced the worst of the worst and the best of the best last year. But, as a warning, I’m going to be discussing the death of an animal and surgery. Those are a part of my major hits, so I wanted to give you all a warning.

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Why We Should Stop Assuming a Blogger’s Gender: A PSA

This is going to be a different kind of post today, but it’s one I think is greatly important for the book blogging community. I consulted with Chantel before doing this because I know that this is a very sensitive area for me and isn’t for most other people.

So, we’ve had a recent influx of followers who may or may not have checked out our bio. I know I don’t check bios until I need to find something out, such as a name or, in the case of this post, gender.

Most bloggers that we follow here are women. Most of the bookish community that I’ve met are women in general. It’s a predominantly female area. Of course, there are some that aren’t. However, I’m not a woman. I’m a man with a name that’s spelled in a very feminine way.

That leads to people just assuming that I’m a woman and using female pronouns when identifying me in posts.

That’s actually a very sensitive area for me. As I’m a transman — and have written about it a lot on here — being misgendered really does hurt me. It puts me in a bad mood. I pass in person because I sport facial hair now. I can’t pass on the phone or in any video of any kind. And, the internet has always been a safe haven for me, so it makes me regret not having a more masculine looking name or not going by my middle name which is way more masculine.

Now, I’ve corrected some people before so I know that they’re not maliciously doing it or anything of the sort — they’re so apologetic and it makes me feel bad for getting upset And to those who have misgendered me in the past, I’m not mad at you! I’m really not. This is not me being a little asshole and calling you out.

However, as book bloggers that embrace and push for diversity, we should stop automatically assuming genders.

It erases voices that are already erased, such as transmen. Transmen, in general, don’t have large voices in any community whatsoever. (And, if you want to read more about that, you should check out Becoming a Visible Man by Jamison Green. Chantel and I also did an amazing Q&A review of it.)

And, as a diverse community, it’s harmful to just assume something about another person. I’ve always thought that the book community is amazingly diverse. There are so many different people who identify as queer or aren’t white or anything else. I love talking with these people and seeing their unique perspectives on books.

Yet, there’s the assumption that all bloggers are women or female-identifying.

So, what to do about it?

Read any blogger’s bio before putting anything about them! Or, if you can’t do that bit of digging or their bios don’t have that info, revert to gender neutral pronouns or phrases to refer to that person. [Suggest putting pronouns in bios etc. something good to do as an ally.]

This is my PSA/discussion post about something that has been on my radar for ages, but I’m finally writing about it.

Talk to me!
What other solutions could there be to this problem?
What do you think you could do alleviate this?