So how did I do with this year’s challenge. Pretty good, I think. I read a few books that I normally wouldn’t have read and other books I would have because I love the authors. I didn’t complete the challenge though and I’m sad about that. Will have to do better in 2018.
A Book with a Trans Narrator: Eddie Izzard in Believe Meby Eddie Izzard
We are now halfway through June so I can accurately say we are halfway through the year. It’s time to check in and see how we are doing with our reading challenges. This year we decided to split up our Diverse Stacks, Diverse Lives Reading challenge into two different. One for authors and one for narrators. I’m doing the Narrators and I have to say, I’m doing pretty well. Now, I think there may be a few arguments over some of my books but who doesn’t love a good debate? Going off my list of the books I’ve read, I discovered that there were a few things we should have discussed before setting the challenge out. For instance, can you use the same book for different categories if they have more then one Narrator? I’m going to go with yes because you are getting different perspectives from different characters. So here we go.
Book with a Queer Narrator: The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan. Narrator: Apollo. Ok, so this maybe a stretch because as Kate asked me Can we apply modern categories of sexuality to ancient Gods? Well I don’t know, but in The Dark Prophecy, Apollo is currently exiled to Earth as a mortal and while being on Earth has shown equal interest in both Men and Women. So, in the context of the book, I’m counting it.
Book with a African American Narrator: March Vols. 1-3 by Congressman John Lewis. Narrator: John Lewis
Book with characters from various socio-economic backgroundsSilver Stars by Michael Grant. Narrators: Frangie, Rainey and Rio
Books with Asian American Narrator: Always and Forever, Lara Jeanby Jenny Han and The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. Narrators: Lara Jean and Daniel. I decided to count both since they are both Asian Americans but they have very different perspectives on growing up in America. Lara Jean is definitely your more typical middle class teenage girl who grew up in the suburbs. She’s also mixed because of her Dad is white so she straddles both sides. Daniel grew up in New York City and is the son of two immigrant parents. (I thought about using Natasha from The Sun is also a Star as my African American Narrator but technically speaking she’s not American as her family was living in the US illegally)
Book with a Narrator who has survived abuse: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas. Narrator : Feyre. I really could have picked any character in this book but since it’s all from Feyre’s point of view she gets the top billing.
A Book with a Mexican Narrator: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. Narrator: Cristina. I admit I maybe stretching it a little thin with this one. Cristina is one of six narrators in Lord of Shadows and not one of the two main characters but she is an important to the story as a whole so for now I’m counting it but it might change before the year is out.
Phew! I did it. I only had about 48 hours to read my DRC and I just barely made it under the deadline. It helped that those last two days fell on my days off from work. I’m very glad that I got a chance to read it. Believe Me was a touching and honest memoir of man who struggled by persevered not just in his career but in his life. Eddie Izzard is mostly known for his stand up but he is also an actor and transgender. He talks openly about his sexuality and trying to identify who he is when there really wasn’t a word for it, the loss of his mother when he was six and breaking into the entertainment industry when you have no idea on how to find the door. He goes step by step throughout his life that lead him to where he is now and those who are familiar with his stand up will notice how many of his chapters are written like his shows. With a topic and then a short digression into a topic that’s related but not really related before coming back to the original thread. It’s filled with humor and grief. Hard times but good times too. He didn’t have an easy road but it wasn’t all tragedy either. He owns up to his privilege of growing up in a middle class household. How the hard work of his father not only inspired him but allowed him to be able to follow his dreams and when he wasn’t able to pay the bills, his father was there to support him. He talks about the fear of coming out and knowing that it could be the end of his career but how he had to do it. I don’t think I have ever read a more clear and detailed experience of someone’s coming out. I think most people see it as it as a one time thing. You Say I’m Gay! and that’s it but really it’s like multiple coming outs. Once to themselves, then close friends and family and then coworkers and so forth. To my LGBTQ+ friends, I hope that I have been supportive you and know that I believe that you are all brave for being you. It’s also a good demonstration that if want something you have to be willing to work for it. Eddie’s path to success had a lot of failures and a lot of unexpected detours but he used everyone of them to learn and grow and kept at it. He’s still looking for new challenges like performing his stand up in different languages to connect more with people from different cultures. Fans of Eddie will love it but I think people looking for inspiration will get a lot out of it too.