Cleverly humorous and extremely timely reading for those who seek renown.

SEMI-FAMOUS

A TRUE STORY OF NEAR CELEBRITY

An online comedian, author, and former Paralympian muses on fame and happiness.

Sundquist was tagged in an Instagram story by someone who described him as “this semi famous Internet comedian,” prompting a mix of pleasure at the recognition and discontent with its not entirely complimentary nature. He nonscientifically polled his followers, discovering that a third of them would prefer fame to happiness. His ensuing exploration of celebrity, illustrated with whimsical hand-drawn graphs, journeys from the days of Alexander the Great to present-day social media. After he fulfilled his childhood dream of appearing on MTV—a dream he was willing to repeatedly embarrass himself to achieve—the achievement thrust him into a multiyear depression. Sundquist, a White man who lost a leg to childhood cancer, briefly discusses how fame’s gatekeepers might have excluded or included him solely because he is an amputee. He also describes how contemporary virality exposed him to a TikTok disability truther who claimed he was faking his missing leg. Research studies and interviews with major and minor celebrities pepper this diverting narrative of fame’s traumas and rewards, and the whole is held together by Sundquist’s own journey to semi-fame. The exploration of fame’s darker side includes addiction and suicide but curiously never addresses exploitation or abuse despite Chapter 1’s opening epigraph from Britney Spears, one of the most famously abused celebrities.

Cleverly humorous and extremely timely reading for those who seek renown. (endnotes) (Nonfiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: July 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-62979-9

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Though not the most balanced, an enlightening look back for the queer future.

A QUEER HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

An adaptation for teens of the adult title A Queer History of the United States (2011).

Divided into thematic sections, the text filters LGBTQIA+ history through key figures in each era from the 1500s to the present. Alongside watershed moments like the 1969 Stonewall uprising and the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s, the text brings to light less well-known people, places, and events: the 1625 free love colony of Merrymount, transgender Civil War hero Albert D.J. Cashier, and the 1951 founding of the Mattachine Society, to name a few. Throughout, the author and adapter take care to use accurate pronouns and avoid imposing contemporary terminology onto historical figures. In some cases, they quote primary sources to speculate about same-sex relationships while also reminding readers of past cultural differences in expressing strong affection between friends. Black-and-white illustrations or photos augment each chapter. Though it lacks the teen appeal and personable, conversational style of Sarah Prager’s Queer, There, and Everywhere (2017), this textbook-level survey contains a surprising amount of depth. However, the mention of transgender movements and activism—in particular, contemporary issues—runs on the slim side. Whereas chapters are devoted to over 30 ethnically diverse gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer figures, some trans pioneers such as Christine Jorgensen and Holly Woodlawn are reduced to short sidebars.

Though not the most balanced, an enlightening look back for the queer future. (glossary, photo credits, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8070-5612-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

A beautiful meditation on the tender, fraught interior lives of Black boys.

THE BEAUTIFUL STRUGGLE (ADAPTED FOR YOUNG ADULTS)

The acclaimed author of Between the World and Me (2015) reflects on the family and community that shaped him in this adaptation of his 2008 adult memoir of the same name.

Growing up in Baltimore in the ’80s, Coates was a dreamer, all “cupcakes and comic books at the core.” He was also heavily influenced by “the New York noise” of mid-to-late-1980s hip-hop. Not surprisingly then, his prose takes on an infectious hip-hop poetic–meets–medieval folklore aesthetic, as in this description of his neighborhood’s crew: “Walbrook Junction ran everything, until they met North and Pulaski, who, craven and honorless, would punk you right in front of your girl.” But it is Coates’ father—a former Black Panther and Afrocentric publisher—who looms largest in his journey to manhood. In a community where their peers were fatherless, Coates and his six siblings viewed their father as flawed but with the “aura of a prophet.” He understood how Black boys could get caught in the “crosshairs of the world” and was determined to save his. Coates revisits his relationships with his father, his swaggering older brother, and his peers. The result will draw in young adult readers while retaining all of the heart of the original.

A beautiful meditation on the tender, fraught interior lives of Black boys. (maps, family tree) (Memoir. 14-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984894-03-8

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

more