All Boys Aren't Blue

All Boys Aren't Blue

A Memoir-manifesto

Book - 2020 | First edition
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In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys.
Publisher: New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, 2020
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780374312718
0374312710
Branch Call Number: Y 306.7662 J6322A 2020
Characteristics: ix, 304 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Alternative Title: All boys are not blue

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CMLibrary_Veronica Mar 23, 2021

Oh how I wish I could give this to all my queer BIPOC friends in their youths. What a game changer it would’ve been so obviously it’ll be a game changer now.

There are so many direct quotes I wanted to share from this book but it would literally just be me quoting the entire thing. Some of it just hit home so hard. And it’s incredibly hard to explain exactly why.

I think what George does so beautifully is tackle the intersectionality of his existence and that of others. At one point in the book (Chapter 13), he says this: “It’s one thing to deal with just Black kids and worry about sexual identity. It’s entirely different to struggle with white kids because I was Black, and Black kids because I was gay. That double marginalization was a tiresome burden.” When I tell you that just hit me in the stomach... damn.

So often when talking about existing as a queer person and as a BIPOC, they come very much with their own battles, but often those battles overlap. And then you are fighting two battles at once and it is exhausting. And then you have people gatekeeping, gaslighting, or just out right ignorant to your experience and your existence and it’s another level. Every bit of how we see the world is colored by being BIPOC, by being queer, by our gender identity, and so on. The exhaustion that comes with that is one that I often wonder if we’ll ever shake.

ArapahoeJennieB Feb 26, 2021

This book blew me away. The author's way of talking about the intersections of race, sexuality and gender in a way that young adults can relate to and understand, without "dumbing it down" or "talking down to them", is simply breathtaking. I wish I'd had a book like this to read when I was a teenager/college student.

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LitHub
Jan 16, 2021

Real, raw, and heartfelt. Incredible book, especially for the YA audience for whom he wrote it. But it's really for everyone who is open to challenging their assumptions, thoughts, and emotions. Growth and change can happen at any age.

He covers a lot of subjects about identity, family, community, school life, and so much more, including straightforward, clear descriptions of his first sexual encounters (some abuse, some not).

Highly recommended.

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13camila
Jan 11, 2021

I absolutely could not put this book down. Loved it.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Aug 17, 2020

While not completely successful as a memoir, this is 100% successful as a book that visibilizes the struggles of growing up black and queer. What struck me most was that given the lack of discussion of queerness in his world growing up, he had to figure out what that meant from the ground up with no scaffolding. The author does an amazing job of showing that education and community is needed so that living at the intersection of marginalized identities is safer as well as telling stories that will leave those growing up with these identities feel seen and valued. <3

z
zoeythekat
Jun 10, 2020

Beautiful, endearing, and at times hard to stomach. All Boys Aren't Blue isn't just a good read, it's a necessary one.

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HKK_Teen_Staff Mar 12, 2021

"The greatest tool you have in fighting the oppression of your Blackness and queerness and anything else within your identity is to be fully educated on it."

HKK_Teen_Staff Mar 12, 2021

"Saying that something was 'a norm' of the past is a way not to have to deal with its ripple effects int he present. It removes the fact that hate doesn't just stop because a law of the time changed. Folks use this excuse because they are often unwilling to accept how full of phobias and -isms they are themselves-or at least how they benefit from social structures that privilege them."

HKK_Teen_Staff Mar 12, 2021

"When you are a child that is different, there always seems to be a 'something.' You can't switch, you can't say 'that,' you can't act this way. There is always a 'something' that must be erased-and with it, a piece of you. The fear of being vulnerable again outweighs the happiness that comes with being who you are, and so you agree to erase that something."

HKK_Teen_Staff Mar 12, 2021

"The most important thing to realize is that you have the agency to make decisions that are in your best interest."

Notices

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CMLibrary_Veronica Mar 23, 2021

Sexual Content: Sexual Assault, Sexual Exploration

CMLibrary_Veronica Mar 23, 2021

Violence: Violence related to bullying

CMLibrary_Veronica Mar 23, 2021

Coarse Language: Curse words

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CMLibrary_Veronica Mar 23, 2021

CMLibrary_Veronica thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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