John Boyne: My Brother's Name Is Jessica



Boyne has the psychologist do the heavy lifting here This book has been heavily criticised by transgender community for its allegedly insensitive title and there are numerous one star reviews on GR from people who admit to have never even read the book Well I read it and despite the book being aimed at a younger audience this is a wonderful and enlightening read with an important timely topic made accessible to a wide range of readers The book includes an Afterword from John Boyn Note before we begin Any comments calling me a bigot or reactionary claiming cis is a slur or telling me to write my own books which I am already doing thank you very much will be blocked and deleted I ve already gotten rid of several and frankly I have better things to doEdit After a discussion I have removed my rating of this book leaving only my comment However it will remain a one star in my heart because I believe harmful books deserve negative reviews but maybe that s ust me tl dr The title synopsis and entire concept of this book are so damaging and revealing of the damage it will do to me as a trans person that I refuse to read this and put myself through something I know will harm me This is an overview of my thought processIf I wanted a few thousand words of cis people talking about how confusing and difficult trans people are I don t have to read this book I An Allegheny Homecoming just have to talk to my familyHere s how I see this whole mess going Cis man writes a book about a cis boy dealing with his trans sister coming out Trans people get pissed because the book is transphobic which it is Cis people call us sensitive and helpfully reassure us the book is uite respectful which it isn t Cis people pat themselves on the back for being good allies because they haven t actively participated in murdering a trans person recentlyOkay okay Am I a known trans being overly sensitive Cis people would sure say so Look they ll say It s about a boy who comes to love his transgender sister for who she is It s sweet and charming and in no way offensive to trans people They ll say You have nothing to be offended by You reust looking for something to be offended byThey ll say You haven t even read it How can you possibly knowI don t have to read it Let s break down what we already haveWe ll start simple for the cis people who have no idea what I m talking about First off we have the title This is where I started getting wary Our first red flag a true ally someone who actually cares about trans people would know to choose Literally Any Other Title It is painfully reminiscent of the things I ve heard while coming out Her name is AJ now or She goes by Andrew these daysWhile those things can be said. G time A secret which uickly threatens to tear them all apart His parents don't want to know and Sam simply doesn't understandBecause what do you do when your brother says he's not your brother at all That he's actually your sister.

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Today this book comes out I put a blast on Instagram and the blog but I want to put it out here as well to people I m friends with and followIf I see you readingreviewing this book on my dashboard you will be unfollowed Perhaps you think that you re Most Eligible Sheriff (Sweetheart, Nevada just wanting tooin in on the book and decide for yourself what you think Good for you I still do not want to see people reading and perhaps defending a book that has every single trans reviewer saying that it s blatantly transphobic 33119 review I have not read thisWanted to get that out there first you knowSecond I m transgenderAnd I hate that title It sounds so ignorant Based on reviews perhaps that s the point of it but I hate it Seriously It comes across as so transphobic and ignorant It sounds like it should have been published in the early 2000s when it was a teensy bit acceptable Doesn t excuse it but it was okayAs an ownvoices person that title alone means I probably won t read this book Breaks my heart because I enjoy this author but seriously it ust sounds so fucking bad I m tired of books that other the trans communityIt s even worse since I found out about this book on International Transgender Day of Visibility This is shit that makes us other and novel We re weird and special and even if we present as a gender identity other than what we were born as we are still inherently the gender that we don t identify as anyWow Writing this review has made me switch my own shelf from maybe to never I can t bring myself to read a book that sounds harmful to the community These are my own thoughts too Just reading that title was triggering to me 10 things I hate about My Brother s Name is Jessica 1 It constantly deadnames and misgenders the trans character 2 It views the trans character as a problem that our cis protagonist has to deal with 3 The only character who outright supports the trans character is pretty much a cartoon character4 The sub plot involving the mum s career is seen as having greater importance than the trans character s arc which is SUPPOSED to be the entire point of the book5 We re supposed to feel bad for the cis protag because he s so confused about his trans sister 6 It treats trans people like others as if trans people can t have stories of their own they have to be seen through a cis lens7 I really couldn t care less about the 14 year old cis protagonist s romantic subplot I really couldn t What is the point The Straights are at it again folks 8 The trans character Jessica is barely present for the last 3rd of the book The book s already really short but the fact that she s barely a part of it is ust offensive9 John Boyne is cis and obviously did no research into what its. Sam Waver's life has always been pretty uiet A bit of a loner he struggles to make friends and his busy parents often make him feel invisibleLuckily for Sam his older brother Jason has always been there for him Sam idolises Jason

Like to be trans or talked to a single trans person while writing this book 10 It s transphobic Simple as thatDon t read this book Hold out hope for better books about trans people written by authors that actually know what they re talking about Trans readers and writers shouldn t have to do the work for you this title and synopsis are obviously violently transphobic in their misgendering and deadnaming of Jessica and their centering of cis characters feelings but since trans people are telling you how painful and harmful this book is please listen to them Everything about the outside of this book is a huge red flag for trans readers The title and the blurb scream that this is yet another story that uses our lives and struggles as the backdrop to talk about how hard it is for the cis people in our lives to deal with us I am sick and tired of stories about disabled people that are centered around the ableds around them stories about POC that are centered around the white people around them and stories about trans people that are centered around the cis people around them Stop doing this It s been done a million times we don t need your hot take too Let marginalised people write their own damn stories and stop using us as grist for your mill John Boyne stop misrepresenting marginalized children through the perspectives of children he himself can relate to challenge so writers still aren t over the whole misgendering clickbait titles yet in the year of our lord 2019 i seeanyways if you want a YA book about trans people that is written by an actual trans woman so she acc knows what she s talking about i highly recommend If I Was Your Girl an utterly superlative book that made me cry mostly in a good way approx 9 suillion times and helps cis people understand the trans experience without all this deadnaming misgendering garbage fireseriously tho go read If I Was Your Girl I didn t actually read this book but as the spouse of a trans person I can say that the title is both ignorant and hurtful Jessica is the main character s sister I m cis My son is trans This review contains spoilers I guess though its nothing you won t see coming a mile offNot only is the title a trash fire it s also the line used in the emotional climax of the novel the moment in which the brother on behalf of his family publicly accepts his sister s identity in front of the media the mother is running for PM it s at a press conference So yeah at no point does the book outgrow its title There s no self awareness or meta layers hereThere s a scene with a psychologist in the middle of the book in which the psych stands in for the voice of reason I thought it was very telling that. Ho seems to have life sorted he's kind popular amazing at football and girls are falling over themselves to date himBut then one evening Jason calls his family together to tell them that he's been struggling with a secret for a lon.

John Boyne born 30 April 1971 in Dublin is an Irish novelistHe was educated at Trinity College Dublin and studied Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia where he won the Curtis Brown prize In 2015 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by UEAJohn Boyne is the author of ten novels for adults and five for young readers as well as a collection of short stories His novel