WOULD YOU RATHER? by Katie Heaney


A Memoir of Growing Up and Coming Out
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A series of essays that document the difficult task of self-acceptance.

After years without a relationship or a stable sexual preference, former BuzzFeed editor Heaney (Dear Emma, 2016, etc.) decided to take matters into her own hands and go at the same speed as her feelings—frantically, somewhat aimlessly—toward the uncertain question that loomed over her head: am I gay? It started with a feeling of displacement. “This world,” she writes, “in its forceful femaleness, was something that greatly appealed to me. I did not feel a part of it, but I found myself longing to be.” Then the author discovered The L Word, an all-female TV show centered around the lives of gay women. Quickly, Heaney’s desire increased. While in graduate school at the University of Minnesota, Heaney had her first girl crush, which ultimately opened the doors of her desire and allowed her to feel something real for another woman. The author organizes the book in essays, or extended moments, punctuated by brief memos in which she describes various interactions with women throughout her life. Though Heaney provides a singular look at the experience of coming out, the essays often feel predictable. For example: “I was fascinated by lesbians being lesbians and talking about lesbians, to a degree that didn’t seem fitting for someone who now identified as one herself.” Sometimes, Heaney seems to be living according to a guidebook of expectations of what lesbians are supposed to feel, act like, and talk about, based on a society that more often than not limits their liberties. Furthermore, the author’s voice, though relatable, is too frequently self-congratulatory. She discusses her previous memoir, Never Have I Ever (2014), so many times that readers might lose interest in wanting to read it.

A quirky book that unfortunately does not help further the dialogue about the difficult experience of coming out.

Pub Date: March 6th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-399-18095-8
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2017


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