STILL STACE

MY GAY CHRISTIAN COMING-OF-AGE STORY: AN ILLUSTRATED MEMOIR

Navigating queer and Christian communities can be complicated.

This illustrated memoir by Canadian artist Chomiak traces her life between the summer of 1996, when she was a 16-year-old attending a Christian summer camp and trying to understand confusing feelings about her friend Joanna, until the spring of 2011, when she was heading home to Winnipeg from Vancouver to marry the woman she loved. Chomiak documents the complexities of being a lesbian while growing up in a conservative religious household. The narrative is open and at times raw with the emotional distress of Chomiak’s teen life, from complex relationships with her parents to her hormonal urges, the pain of early hidden relationships, and reconciling her sexuality with her deep faith. Illustrations of Chomiak and the people close to her fill the pages (all present as White), documenting her stress, anxiety, and sadness through her facial expressions and body language. At times, the sepia tones of the illustrations, possibly meant to indicate flashbacks, work against the art’s emotional impact, as the muted colors read as dull and lifeless. This quibble aside, readers of all sexualities and genders will benefit from this glimpse into the life of a Christian lesbian. Other gay Christians will benefit from the resources that are included—lists of faith-oriented websites, organizations, and books designed to help others on their journeys.

Insightful and inspiring. (author’s note, letters to Stace’s younger self, letter to readers) (Memoir. 13-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5064-6951-5

Page Count: 212

Publisher: Beaming Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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Small but mighty necessary reading.

THE NEW QUEER CONSCIENCE

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A miniature manifesto for radical queer acceptance that weaves together the personal and political.

Eli, a cis gay white Jewish man, uses his own identities and experiences to frame and acknowledge his perspective. In the prologue, Eli compares the global Jewish community to the global queer community, noting, “We don’t always get it right, but the importance of showing up for other Jews has been carved into the DNA of what it means to be Jewish. It is my dream that queer people develop the same ideology—what I like to call a Global Queer Conscience.” He details his own isolating experiences as a queer adolescent in an Orthodox Jewish community and reflects on how he and so many others would have benefitted from a robust and supportive queer community. The rest of the book outlines 10 principles based on the belief that an expectation of mutual care and concern across various other dimensions of identity can be integrated into queer community values. Eli’s prose is clear, straightforward, and powerful. While he makes some choices that may be divisive—for example, using the initialism LGBTQIAA+ which includes “ally”—he always makes clear those are his personal choices and that the language is ever evolving.

Small but mighty necessary reading. (resources) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09368-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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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

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