Thursday, January 16, 2014

SM Johnson ~Jumpstart the World~ Catherine Ryan Hyde

Just a quickie blog today - I forgot to put a book on my awesome reads of 2013 post, and I don't want ya'all to miss it because I think it's Important.

It's by Catherine Ryan Hyde, and it's called Jumpstart the World. It's not particularly dark, but it's a YA novel that I think addresses some really important stuff. Like really, really important. And it doesn't hedge and it doesn't pull back from the hard stuff. And - it's not even a romance. I know, can you believe it? It's a very sweet and bittersweet story of a very unique and non-tropey friendship. The sort of friendship where a person learns a lot about herself and a lot about other people. It's a beautiful little book.

From my Dec 5, 2013 post:

Another book I've read recently is Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde. This book has been nominated for a couple of Lambda Literary Awards, among other awards, and it's just a lovely story, a tender tale of a young girl's crush on an older transman, and her confusion and discomfort about what it means about herself. It's more of a coming of age story than a romance, but the author deftly handled so many difficult issues - I'm still being a little bit blown away, to be honest. This one I recommend for teenagers and adults.

I'm sort of winding my way through some books featuring trans characters, just to get an idea of what's out there and how writers are portraying transgender people and situations. Jumpstart the World did a phenomenal job of having a non-activist trans character, who was not the protagonist, be present to demonstrate that trans people are just people, like the rest of us - but also this author managed to show in simple but clear ways some of the frightening things about being trans. The fear of friends leaving, the fear of being helpless. And all of this without direct trans character POV, all of this without the sense of the reader being taught to or lectured.

So, okay, that's what I have for coffee this morning.

And do me a favor, would you? If you do happen to check out Jumpstart the World, and if you love it like I did, would you please order a paperback copy from where ever you buy such animals and donate it to your local library or your local high school library?

Because here's the thing... trans kids as a group experience high rates of depression and isolationism and very high risk of suicide. But this book isn't necessarily for the trans kids - it's for everyone else, and very effectively can remind us that trans people (and anyone who is different, really) are people like the rest of us. They feel. They love. They cry. They bleed. They deserve, as a basic human right, to live with respect and dignity - as do we all.

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