Reviews tagging 'Religious bigotry'

Still Stace: My Gay Christian Coming of Age Story, by Stacey Chomiak

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elizabeth_delozier's review against another edition

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I cannot say that I enjoyed this book…but I wasn’t necessarily supposed to.

Trigger Warnings: This entire book is drenched in religious trauma, homophobia, and internalized homophobia. Suicidal ideation, use of suicide as a threat, harassment, guilt, and shame. If these themes will cause you distress to read, I would not recommend the book, despite the underlying message.

This is a true story of the author’s journey in exploring and understanding her sexuality and reconciling this understanding with her faith. The main message of this story is that there is, in fact, a space to exist as both Christian and queer. However, depending on your circumstances that finding this space can be exceedingly difficult and often feel impossible.

The author tells her story from first exploring sexual feelings in adolescence to her eventually finding peace almost two decades later. Those two decades are the majority of the book and they are fraught with pain and trauma, which can transfer easily onto the reader. Feeling that reconciliation with her faith was so impossible that she attended a conversion camp and religious “counselling” with a “counsellor” who was a twat. Coming out to various friends/family over the course of two decades and the widely negative response she received leading her to feel “overwhelmingly unsafe.”

I wanted to DNF this book so many times (at 31%, 41%, and 65% to be exact) because these themes are hard for me to sit through due to my own personal experiences. However, I stuck it out because I hoped that by the end of the book I would see the Stace grow to accept herself, her sexuality, and even her religious beliefs and I felt the message was truly important. I am pleased to say that this does in fact happen by the close of the book, but not until approximately 83% and even then there was no magical happily ever after BECAUSE THAT’S NOT THE REALITY for this author and often for this community.

My primary complaints about this book are that there were no trigger warnings posted at the beginning (or even the end of the book) and that it was marketed as a YA coming-of-age book. This is not a book that I would recommend to a teen who is struggling with their faith and sexuality. This is a book that I would recommend to an adult who was interested in understanding the perspective, and lived experience, of someone who identified at both Christian and LGBTQ+. I might also recommend this book to someone who may resonate with and feel validated by this story.

I listened to the audiobook, narrated by the author, via NetGalley. Which also means that I missed out on all of the beautiful illustrations that are in the hard copies of this book, and these illustrations likely would change the vibe while reading this book. This audiobook was provided to me via NetGalley by OrangeSky Audio in exchange for an honest review. 

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