Celebrated Canadian storyteller Coyote here compiles short, mostly autobiographical vignettes about childhood, family and queerness.
Unlike many compilations aimed at youth, this one doesn't limit itself to stories about being a teenager. Readers are just as likely to hear about the adult Coyote's worries about performing in a high school or the moment when she learns her father has stopped drinking as about the author's younger self rolling down hills in tires or playing kissing games. Most stories are neither explicit nor didactic about queerness or gender; within stories about childhood or travel, incidents of the author being forced into dresses or nearly chased out of bathrooms speak for themselves. Details from one piece are sometimes echoed in another. In one section, Coyote tells several stories about a friend's gentle, feminine child named Francis; later, she talks about deciding whether to tell that story to an audience of “beefy...biker-looking types,” explaining, “The Francis story was a tale about a little boy who liked to wear dresses.” Rather than seeming tedious, however, this repetition builds a sense of familiarity as readers come to know about and recognize details of the storyteller's life.
Sophisticated, earnest, plainspoken and intimate, this collection will speak to LGBTQ youth as well as straight youth, teens and adults. (Memoir. 14 & up)