Before you read this post, make sure you have read my post I Can Do Better to know how and where to donate, get informed, support, and follow the Black Lives Matter movement and people from the Black community. Si hablas español, y especialmente si vives en Colombia, lee mi publicación Puedo hacer algo mejor para enterarte cómo puedes apoyar a la Comunidad afrocolombiana.
Hello and happy Friday. Today’s post is a review on My Ladybird Story by Magus Tor. This ARC was provided by NetGalley for reading and reviewing purposes, so I’d like to thank both NetGalley and the author. Let’s get started, shall we?
I read this book between April 1st and Aril 9th. It actually sort of ruined my average reading pace, as it took me so long to finish it. Let me just go ahead and say that I was super excited about this book, and I was hooked from the very first page. And then it all just fell apart, leading to the two-star rating I gave it.
My Ladybird Story starts with a guy in high school who is being bullied for being “weird,” which was a first for me. Something that really hooked me at first was that as the story progresses, we as readers are able to know how the main character feels, and we share those doubts with him. We doubt at first whether he might be gay, or what is “wrong” with him, as he puts it. Through these thinking processes, we come to realize that the main character might be trans. Again, that is a first for me, and I think there needs to be more representation in YA about trans youth.
Sadly, like I said, these internal debates that were so eye-catching for me at first get lost as the story progresses, and we read less and less of what the main character truly feels. The novel is divided into parts, so there is one for high school, one for college, and two for the life after college. For me, it was like each part was a separate book. I saw little connection between them, and for me, there wasn’t a cohesive flow.
There are several attempts of sexual assault, so if this is a topic you are sensitive about, do not read this book. Assault is handled in a very irresponsible way in this novel, with bits of victim-blaming and a recurring perpetrator who pretty much gets away with it. That’s not my kind of story.
I need to clarify that I know very little about transgender issues. I can only speak from my experience being a biological woman, and I think there might be differences between the way I think about womanhood and the way a transwoman does. I say this because as a feminist I do not agree with gender roles and stereotypical gendered behavior. In other words, to me, it’s not right to describe someone as acting feminine or masculine or to say that a specific attitude or behavior is manly or womanly.
Because My Ladybird Story is about a transwoman, the main character’s best friend gives her “lessons” on how to be a woman. These lessons consist of learning how to properly hold a beer bottle and to blot away tears when crying so that makeup doesn’t get smeared. Basically, the main character is being taught that being a woman means being weak and delicate, and I find that extremely messed up.
I think it’s key to have more works of literature that center around transgender people, but I would not recommend this book because I think it has structural flaws that send readers the wrong messages. If you know of books about this or any other LGBTQ* issue that needs more visibility, let me know about it in the comments below.
Love, Miss Camila
PS: Ann from Great New Reads sent me this tweet. If you’re interested, do participate.