Some Assembly Required: The Not-So-Secret Life of a Transgender Teen by Arin Andrews – Book Review

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Obtained: Simon & Schuster, ARC
Pages: 256
Publish date: September 30, 2014
Rating: ★★★★

As most of you know by now, the topic of gender and sexuality is one I find very interesting to discuss; there are so many fluid identities one can take in order to find one that suits them. So I knew I had to request an ARC of this new Simon & Schuster title and find out what Some Assembly Required was all about.

Although this book reads like a fiction at times, it is a true story about how Arin Andrews went on his journey to being transgender: first, realizing he is in the wrong body, then trying to decipher what this means, and trying to get his very religious family on board with this transition. But this story was told by the only person who could have told it – the one to whom the story happened. So I’m able to brush aside the writing stuff that makes me cringe a little to see the more important thing at hand: Arin Andrews and his inspiring story.

I think there needs to be more transgender books like this one, because to be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever met a transgender person and therefore have no clue what it’s like to go through that transition and have to deal with society’s view of you in the process. This memoir taught me a lot about tolerance, about how to comfortably address someone who is transgender without being rude or ignorant.

I could also relate quite a bit to the novel – not necessarily the transgender bits, but the parts where Arin falls in love too quickly (some may say), or where he gets attached to others and makes his way around trying to find the perfect partner. I also had a bit of an identity crisis regarding my sexuality, but that’s all sorted out now. It just felt very real to read about this teenager who could comfortably confess his feelings to any number of people (regardless of gender or body type) and really, truly mean it every single time. I also related to being in a religious school system, feeling judged for not following the expected conservative norms.

This was a very quick read, and I think everyone should give it a try – you’ll definitely learn something new, and you’ll likely gain an insight regarding transgendered people.

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