I treated myself to this book around Christmas time last year and it took me until just a few weeks ago to read it.
What was I thinking?!!! It should have been at the top of my TBR pile and for several reasons:
First of all, it is a damn good read, but more importantly, this read is an opportunity to be taught, to learn and grow.
So, let me ask you this question.
How much do you know about Transgenders?
Maybe just like me, you know very little and your knowledge is limited to what you see in the media?
I would admit that unless a transitioning/or gone through the change celebrity decides to use his or her voice to raise awareness of what it feels like to live in the wrong body all your life; I don’t pay it any particular attention. And that is a real shame.
Before reading “The Art of Being Normal”, I had not considered the young adult perspective and yes it is very obvious that the transgender adult was a teen at some point, someone’s child, someone’s sibling or someone’s friend, someone’s girlfriend or boyfriend. And yet, if you are not growing up as David is in this book, how can you relate?
Well, the answer is, you can and you don’t have to be a transgender yourself to get it, you just have to be human.
David who is one of the main protagonists in this novel, is a teenage boy who goes to school, has friends, loves his parents and sister (although he wishes he were her) and he also hates math. But then, one day David befriends this mysterious boy called Leo, who just like him has this huge secret weighing him down. Fortunately, this budding friendship will help pave the way for both David and Leo to be brave enough to go through life changing events eventually leading to acceptance, love and happiness.
I have many favourite moments in this book, The Prom being one of them.
I also love how the author developed characters that are on the surface your typical teenager but with the added layer of complexity that comes with growing up feeling different (…as if being a teenager was not bad enough already).
However if there is anything to take from this beautifully told story is that there are a lot of Leos and Davids out there who could do with our love, understanding and compassion so, share it forward…
If you are in any doubt as to what your next read should be, I strongly recommend you make “The Art of Being Normal” your next pick. It’s a real little gem and you won’t be disappointed.