When I first heard about The Gender Games on booktube I was immediately intrigued. Firstly, I’ve always been interested in the concept of gender and how our ideas of gender are formed, secondly I liked that this was being tackled by a transgender narrator and finally as the youtuber in question said this would be great for teenagers so I thought it’d help me on my quest to find good non-fiction for the pupils at school.
The book started off well with a clear focus on the concepts of gender, the tone was chatty and light and there was the odd swear word chucked in but nothing overly offensive. Everything was looking good. Juno then says that this book will not be her autobiography but she would be referencing moments from her own life. To start with there was an equal balance between the topic of gender and her accounts of her life, the conversation about gender wasn’t anything new to me (I’ve studied gender through Sociology, literature and media) but I could see as a general interest book how this would be an interesting look at the topic. Then, she started talking about her sex life as a gay man, and she continued discussing this for a long time. Littered in among these accounts were the odd comments about promiscuity among gay man – the topic had changed from gender to sub-cultural norms. At this point I was beginning to lose interest, but the last 50-70 pages went back to the original topic.
On a positive note the discussion about the transgender community, the process involved in the many variations of transition and the facts around this topic were interesting and some were new to me.
Will I be recommending it at school? No. I’m not sure even the most liberal minded of parents would like the C word thrown in quite so often. The swearing grew as the book went on and often felt too much, as if she was trying to make a move from teen writer to writer for an adult audience.