ARC review: The Times I Knew I Was Gay by Eleanor Crewes

I was sent this book as an advance copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.

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A charming, highly relatable graphic memoir that follows one young woman’s adventures in coming out and coming of age.

Ellie always had questions about who she was and how she fit in. As a girl, she wore black, obsessed over Willow in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and found dating boys much more confusing than many of her friends did. As she grew older, so did her fears and a deep sense of unbelonging. From her first communion to her first girlfriend via a swathe of self-denial, awkward encounters, and everyday courage, Ellie tells her story through gorgeous illustrations—a fresh and funny self-portrait of a young woman becoming herself.

The Times I Knew I Was Gay reminds us that people sometimes come out not just once but again and again; that identity is not necessarily about falling in love with others, but about coming to terms with oneself. Full of vitality and humor, it will ring true for anyone who has taken the time to discover who they truly are.

Release date: October, 6th

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★★.5✩

This was quick and easy to read in theory, but in reality I dragged through the first four chapters for two weeks. There’s just something about it (is it the art? is the narration? I don’t know) that failed to be engaging, even as a queer person who could relate to some of the experiences here described. It was all very linear and there’s nothing wrong with that except that it didn’t feel like anything new. Of course I’m not talking about the author’s life itself, I just mean that I felt like the art didn’t add much to the story and I would have felt exactly the same about it by just reading the text alone.

While it dragged first, I finished the rest of it in one sitting. I still don’t know how to talk about a graphic memoir without seeming like I’m gossiping about the author’s life but I think the most significant thing this book adds to the conversation is the fact that coming out is rarely a linear process, you can come out to yourself and even to others in a sudden moment of clarity and then just….continue lying to yourself for months or years.

If this is your first graphic memoir about someone’s coming out story or if you’re questioning or struggling with coming out I think this is a good place to start, it just wasn’t for me.

TWs: eating disorder, panic attack

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