The Art of Being Normal

The Art of Being Normal - Lisa Williamson

I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


When I first requested this book through NetGalley it had a different cover. There was a rainbow crosswalk with two sets of legs walking across. I didn’t select this book based solely on that cover, but I felt that it was going to be a safe read based on the cover. It was only after I had downloaded a copy and went to add the book to my TBR shelf online, did I see the new cover. From that moment on I had doubts about this book and I kept putting off reading it, but all the positive reviews I kept seeing, finally convinced me to go ahead and read it. I wished I had followed my first instinct.


The new cover that they decided to go with is very simple, there is a blue figure in pants and a pink figure in a dress. This cover pretty much tells you all you need to know about how this book deals with gender. Despite having worked with an organization dealing with gender identity for children the author chose to reinforce society’s f*cked up views of gender. If you’re a girl, you like pink and fairies and are bad at math and want to grow up to be a fashion designer. If you’re a boy, you like blue and cars and are good at math. It’s not true and I’m really done with these stupid gender stereotypes. I really expected more from this book.


I did feel the author handled some other aspects well, but a lot of things made me raise my eyebrows and honestly the way the author handled gender and a really uncomfortable and transphobic scene at the pool completely overshadowed any of the good points in this book. There were some instances where I wasn’t sure whether the author was trying to show how even transgender people internalize transphobia or it was just a result of this book being written by a cis gender individual who doesn’t have a good grasp on gender or transgender issues. Seriously, I cringed when Kate said, “You were born a girl?”, then proceeded to ask Leo whether or not he menstruated still and then Leo proceeded to repeatedly misgender Kate throughout the rest of the book. I gave this book 1 1/2 stars.