[Book Review] Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin Mini Review

Title: Symptoms of Being Human

Author: Jeff Garvin

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Fave Quote: Let people wonder.

Rating: 3 Stars

Thanks, Cat.

I’m just going to write this review as candidly as possible and briefly because I cannot do this for too long, talk about this book. it’s going to be less formatted because this book means more to me than most. So, there were plenty of times that I was able to relate to this book and times that it made me smile. Let’s start with that. I loved the fact that there was a relationship with a gender fluid person and a girl because, just, YES. I loved how vulnerable they were and how much they cared about each other. The emotion went beyond the surface.  I loved Bec and Solo, they were both the best. The friendships were just heart melting sometimes, and I loved seeing the process of Riley learning to be confident enough to talk about themselves and to be “out” so to speak. I loved the character especially Morgan, a small character, is one I hold to my heart. I love the way Riley’s identity is described by Riley and how any of the GQ characters described it. It was just some serious on-point research.

I absolutely hated the trauma. I felt it was worked in well, but was just put in because the story couldn’t have had a trans person if there was no trauma and that to me was really upsetting. It was a good story, a positive story to an extent where good things happen but at the same time, I feel there was trauma because trans people in the mind of the author and people like the author cannot have completely happy endings, they can’t have a story go perfectly well with no extremities. I think that’s a dangerous message to put out in the world. To normalise trans suffering is to sort of become numb to it, I feel the trauma was a bit of a slap in the face to trans people saying, “Sure, you can be happy but you’re going to get assaulted for it, obviously.” It’s really not okay that this message is still being put out there in pretty much every YA. It’s just not okay and I really think that this should have been addressed prior to publishing because the story would have and when you read it could have gone without the trauma and to me it shows a lack of betas involved with this project which is a dangerous lapse in judgement considering the harm this message can do on those who relate and read it. You can have happy parts of your story, many, it says, but safety will never be there for someone like you, and being in the position you are, probably not astronomically rich like this character, I bet you have no chance. I don’t know. I can’t really emphasize how NOT OKAY I am with that one thing. It really bothered me. And as much as I thought the book was epic, it makes me sad and it’s hard to talk about for me, honestly. I would still rec if you don’t know much about genderqueer identities.



2 thoughts on “[Book Review] Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin Mini Review

  1. I’ve not read this one yet, but I completely agree with you on the constant trauma narrative when it comes to LGBTQUIA characters/stories. It’s like authors can’t create drama other than making it a tragedy, which implies that trans people or gay people or pan people will have horribly tragic lives. And it’s hurtful. Thanks for writing this review.

    Liked by 1 person

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