“I didn’t want to be inspirational; I just wanted to be funny.” Happily he manages to be both.

FUNNY, YOU DON'T LOOK AUTISTIC

A COMEDIAN'S GUIDE TO LIFE ON THE SPECTRUM

A breezy, upbeat memoir from a 22-year-old Canadian autism advocate and stand-up comic.

Diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at age 5, McCreary is quite unlike the stereotypical Aspie (a term he uses interchangeably with autistic person, person on the spectrum, and similar phrases): hopeless at math but extroverted, verbose, and in love with performing. He repeatedly emphasizes that ASD manifests differently in everyone—indeed, his younger brother, also autistic, is in many ways his polar opposite. He recounts his journey to his dream of becoming a professional comedian, including triumphs and humiliations, family, teachers, friends, and enemies, all in a wry, self-deprecating voice peppered with innumerable pop-culture references and relentless optimism. Along the way, he provides an intimate glimpse of one autistic person’s inner life, highlighting common experiences, explaining widespread coping mechanisms, and demolishing popular misconceptions. Some readers might yearn for his advantages of economic means, supportive community, and excellent, well-funded special needs programs in the public schools; still, he acknowledges his struggles with living independently and that some persons with ASD may never achieve that. Nonetheless, the hard-won lessons he shares—be understanding, don’t judge, live for the moment, never give up, and “shut up and listen”—are worthwhile for autistic and neurotypical alike.

“I didn’t want to be inspirational; I just wanted to be funny.” Happily he manages to be both. (Memoir. 12-18)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77321-257-9

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 9, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

Best enjoyed by preexisting fans of the author.

CONTINUUM

From the Pocket Change Collective series

Deaf, trans artist Man meditates on his journey and identity in this brief memoir.

Growing up in conservative central Pennsylvania was tough for the 21-year-old Deaf, genderqueer, pansexual, and biracial (Chinese/White Jewish) author. He describes his gender and sexual identity, his experiences of racism and ableism, and his desire to use his visibility as a YouTube personality, model, and actor to help other young people like him. He is open and vulnerable throughout, even choosing to reveal his birth name. Man shares his experiences of becoming deaf as a small child and at times feeling ostracized from the Deaf community but not how he arrived at his current Deaf identity. His description of his gender-identity development occasionally slips into a well-worn pink-and-blue binary. The text is accompanied and transcended by the author’s own intriguing, expressionistic line drawings. However, Man ultimately falls short of truly insightful reflection or analysis, offering a mostly surface-level account of his life that will likely not be compelling to readers who are not already fans. While his visibility and success as someone whose life represents multiple marginalized identities are valuable in themselves, this heartfelt personal chronicle would have benefited from deeper introspection.

Best enjoyed by preexisting fans of the author. (Memoir. 12-18)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-22348-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more