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The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
Rose Rating – 5
Maturity Level – 12+
Genre – Young Adult LGBT General Fiction with an emphasis on transgender issues
David Piper is harboring a very deep secret. He desperately wants to tell his family that he’s a girl inside – not a boy! He dare not say anything because he is certain no one will understand his struggle with this problem.
When he meets the new kid; Leo Denton, Leo is stoic, quiet, and reserved. Yet there is something David is inexplicably drawn to as he tries to befriend Leo.
Leo resists having friends but David is like chewing gum on the bottom of his shoes. He sticks around and just won’t seem to go away. Leo has his own secrets and has to work hard to keep it all together.
Being at this new school offers him the opportunity of a lifetime, but trying to maintain the lone wolf persona is getting harder by the day as Alecia is falling for him, and he’s shocked that he might be falling for her too. It’s all unraveling fast and if he can’t keep his solitary life together, he might never escape the slums.
Told from alternating points of view – David and Leo – this book had me crying off and on without shame. Often my wife would look over and put a comforting arm around me asking ‘what’s wrong?’ “Just the book…” I would have to reply – Niagra Falls practically pouring out of my eyes! It’s been a long time since a book made me cry this openly.
I often try to be very objective in rating and reviewing books. However, this one is tough because so many of the internal struggles that both Leo and David face resonated with me even now as an adult.
Ms. Williamson did a phenomenal job taking us through the deep emotional journey that each of these transgender teenagers is struggling with, and bringing the conflicts to a resolution that was bitter-sweet yet extremely realistic.
I am not transgender. Yet this book gave me an amazing in depth perspective from both a transgender male and female’s point of view of the extraordinary challenges that a person might go through. I found myself so attached to the realism of these characters it was astounding! “The Art of Being Normal” is a book I think many youth and adults could learn much from, in just the profound eye opening experience it would give, told through a scrumptiously satisfying tale of fiction!
Would I Read Other Work By This Author?
Absolutely! Of course!