All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson (304 pages)
All the Boys Aren’t Blue, A Powerful Memoir that Interrogates Hetero-Normative Expectations
Reading more like a manifesto, Johnson explores many aspects of his identity as both Black and queer in All Boys Aren’t Blue. With each chapter separated into a separate story, Johnson recounts some of his most impactful experiences, particularly as a child and teen. These stories focus on his experiences as he became increasingly aware of his own identity as well as his sometimes tenuous conversations with those closest to him.
An Honest and Poignant Read
While Johnson writes specifically for readers who are Black and identify as non-conforming, his stories have value for all audiences. As readers, we’re privy to Johnson’s internal monologue as he details his thoughts and reactions while recounting certain events. By letting us in, Johnson’s stories become more purposeful and help allies learn more about the impact of their words and actions.
Johnson’s style is casual and conversational which makes this work totally engrossing. Rather than trying to dictate to you, Johnson lets his personality shine through the page. I would also recommend the audiobook, which Johnson narrates, if you’re looking for an even more authentic experience.
The Bottom Line: 5/5 Brookie Stars
Non-fiction isn’t usually my go-to genre, but Johnson’s work is exceptional. He’s honest and forthright, providing both heartfelt stories and advice for individuals with similar experiences. His insight is also beneficial for allies in order to help us better understand the power of our words and actions as we try to support our friends and family members on similar journeys.
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Rachel Gomes is a 30-something high school English teacher who lives with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband and their son. Rachel is a voracious reader who loves to learn and has her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction. She’s happiest listening to podcasts and talking to friends about the latest news in nerd culture.
Favourite book: Don’t make me choose between A Song of Ice and Fire and Harry Potter
Favourite brunch spot: The Farmer’s Table