Growing up isn’t easy to begin with, but when you break the norms, it’s extra difficult. In How to be Ace, Rebecca Burgess tells her experiences of being asexual, and someone dealing with anxiety, in comic form, sharing the experiences of growing up.
This isn’t exactly fiction, but I felt it’s close enough, and it’s close to my heart. This graphic memoir is a real life tale on the worries and anxieties that come with growing up, but also the worries and anxieties that come from living in a very sexualised world, where people assume sex equals romance and that it’s something everyone needs and wants.
This isn’t true by any means, but there isn’t a lot of awareness about asexuality (or aromanticism). This memoir gives a little insight in how it is. There are some educational pages, and it also asks important questions, such as how being different affects one’s mental health. It talks about the pressure into sex and how to be okay breaking those social norms.
In a sense, I enjoyed reading this. I could relate, that’s for sure, even though my experiences are so very different. It may seem to others this is just about asexuality, but it’s not. This is a book about being okay with life, and how to accept who we are, while also giving an invisible part of society a space to be seen. It’s also about how to accept others, which is a lesson we all need. And all of these, combined with the illustrations, are just great.
If you want some non-fiction reading, pick this up. Burgess’ illustrations are really good and the message is powerful, ace or not. But do note that this is a memoir, and if you want action, you’re definitely looking at the wrong book. You should look elsewhere if you don’t want a book that brings up some really serious topics. But I really do recommend it.
Also, it’s 0.5 on the NSFA scale, so anyone worried about sexual content can be cool with it. Because of the topic, one could say there’s a fair amount of vague mentions of abuse in it, so while I would really give this one like 0.1, I raised the rating a little.
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