This book was so powerful. I love reading about other people's experiences, especially ones that are so unlike my own. George M. Johnson tells us about his life from when he knew he was different as a child all the way through college. He grew up in a comfortable middle class family in New Jersey, surrounded by the love of parents, siblings, cousins and extended family. This isn't a sad tragic story. This is someone's life - "the good, the bad, and the things he was too afraid to talk about publicly."
George (Matthew, as he went by his middle name early in life) starts off by telling us why his story is important and while it is a "young adult" book, it's often young adults who need to hear the words he wrote. The topics he speaks about aren't too much for young people, because they are often living through the same things he did.
This book was eye opening to me - it made me happy at times, seeing the unyielding love and support he always received from his family, most of all his Nanny, grandmother to so many in his family; and sad at times - seeing the abuse he endured for being a feminine presenting Black boy to being sexually assaulted by an older family member.
There is no right way to grow up Black and queer, but as George states throughout this book, he didn't have anyone to look up to or know what to do growing up. This book is important for those today who don't see themselves in literature, who don't know what to do with how they are feeling. I hope this books reaches those who need it most, and I hope they can learn they aren't alone in the world.
This audiobook is narrated by George M. Johnson himself and I love when authors narrator their own works, especially for a memoir, I think the author narrating it makes it so much more powerful. I would highly recommend this one as an audiobook - it's not too long either - some audiobooks are intimidating but this felt like listening to a friend tell a story.