Neshama’s Choices for December 25th

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The Out Side: Trans & Nonbinary Comics

I have a special interest in this subject, wanting to educate myself constantly to do well with my nonbinary grandkids, and this book is one of the best so far.  A wide range of offerings in many different styles, but the primary theme is how each arrived at a sense of peace and rightness after struggles and challenges. A very broad spectrum from nonbinary to trans and everything in between.  If you’re at all curious, take a peek and learn a lot.  


People Collide by Isle McElroy  

One of those “what ifs” that takes the theme of identity switching to a new level. Eli and Elizabeth are an American couple in Bulgaria. She’s teaching and working on her novel; he’s, well, kind of along for the ride.  One day he discovers that he’s now in Elizabeth’s body and Elizabeth, who must be in his, has disappeared. A steep learning curve for sure, and very puzzling to say the least. He, now she, flies to Paris where Eli was last seen. Their respective parents get involved, of course, adding one more layer of confusion. So much intriguing material on the male gaze from the inside out, as Eli explores this new body. An odd ending to an odd tale, with lots to contemplate.  Note: the author is non-binary.  


Bad Summer People by Emma Rosenblum 

Salcombe is a town on Fire Island where families converge annually from their affluent lives in the environs of NYC. A new hunk of a tennis coach, Robert, stirs things up into an almighty mess of philandering and chiseling, culminating in a death. Sam and Jason were childhood friends on the island, but resentments still simmer between them from long ago; their wives are top dogs in the social hierarchy. Fierce tennis competition and scurrilous gossip fuel the fire. So much fun to indulge in schadenfreude!  


Invisible Son by Kim Johnson    

Young Andre who’s Black took the rap for his “friends” and spent two months in juvie.  Now he’s on probation, hoping to get back to high school. The couple who adopted him are good people, but he spends a lot of time next door with the Whitaker kids, a mixed bag with two Black siblings, Eric and Sierra, and Luis, who’s Mexican, as well as two of their own.  Mr. Whitaker has political ambitions and touts his family as an example of his progressive stance.  Eric has disappeared but they’re trying to cover it up. Andre’s probation officer runs interference for his charge, but his department head who’s in Whitaker’s pocket does everything he can to make life difficult for Andre. Portland OR setting, with powerful commentary about the ills of gentrification and hypocrisy in politics.  A teen book, very compelling.