A review by hmatt
The 2000s Made Me Gay: Essays on Pop Culture by Grace Perry

funny hopeful informative lighthearted reflective medium-paced


Did I, in fact, read two essay collections/memoirs in one month about how pop culture in the naughties intersected and impacted the queer (really, sapphic) coming-of-age of a white, American now-journalist? Why, yes I did, and it was a little confusing, but I think it was a good decision to read them together.

I'd say both this and Jill Gutowitz's Girls Can Kiss Now share similar highlights and pitfalls for me, though I personally enjoyed this one more. I appreciated the additional "academic" edge to these essays - that is, the author makes more space to explain the historical and culture context behind each pop culture phenomenon, and she cites her sources more clearly (I read Gutowitz's in audio, though, and some of that could have been omitted due to format). IMO, the added context makes more space in the work for folks who are reading outside of their own experience (i.e. it doesn't feel as much like the author is writing inside jokes for those "in the know"). I did still feel a bit alienated by some of the sweeping generalizations made in these essays, but I think that comes with the territory of reading such a narrow perspective.

One standout difference in the two collections is Perry's near-seamless weaving of her own personal experiences into the "theme" of each essay. I felt that almost all of the autobiographical portions of this essay collection served a purpose, and the collection itself was organized more masterfully than Gutowitz's.

I'm only a little sorry that this review is framed entirely as a comparison because, hello, they are literally the same book concept published within a year of one another.

Anyway here's the funniest line in the book (re: watching shady online streams of queer shows in the pre-Netflix era):

My thirst could weather all buffering.

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