MY RATING: 5 Stars
On According to Daisy, it’s always Pride Month! We had my review on Loveless (ace character), Bookish and the Beast (has LGBTQ+ characters) and now we have The Times I Knew I Was Gay! I didn’t know that this was coming out untl 2 days before but I was still super excited!
As evident from my non-stop mention of Heartstopper every other post, I love a good graphic novel! When I saw Alice mentioning this on Twitter, I knew I had to check it out. This is actually a non-fiction book in the form of a graphic memoir which is awesome.
I love hearing about someone’s life story but I think Eleanor Crewes’ story is vital right now. There are some horrendous stats that I’ve heard about the LGBTQ+ youth and everyone needs to understand. If it takes at least one person reading this novel to not feel alone, then all the kudos!
Ellie always knew she was different. Contrary and creative, she wore black, obsessed over Willow in Buffy and somehow never really liked boys. As she grew, 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’s journey is told through tender and funny illustrations – a self-portrait sketched out from the heart.
The Times I Knew I Was Gay reminds us that sexuality is not often determined by falling in love with others, but by coming to terms with oneself; that people must come out not just once but again and again. Full of vitality and love, it will ring true for anyone who took time to discover who they truly are.
Where do I start with this amazing book?
I guess the first thing that I immediately loved was Ellie’s illustrations. They reminded me a little of Nick Sharratt (the guy who illustrates a lot of Jacqueline Wilson’s covers) and I loved that so much! The amount of detail that she put into her drawings is so cool!
They might be in black and white but that takes nothing away.
You can see all the expressions going through her mind along with the words. It’s one of the reasons why I love reading graphic novels. The pictures only bring the words to life even more especially when the moments get serious. As you can imagine, this book has a bunch of those and it really made me feel!
Some of the moments that I both adored and sometimes cried at were:
- Seeing Eleanor starting to notice she was different to her friends.
- Seeing how she started to realise that she was gay.
- Learning what she felt she had to do to keep her secret hidden.
I will say that there are quite a few triggering moments for those who had/who currently have an eating disorder. I wasn’t really expecting it and it did shake me for a while. Everything that Ellie said about herself is what is going through my head right now. Even thought I was triggered, I also felt like I connected with her even more. I know what it’s like to be different from others, what it’s like to try and change yourself and how that damages you.
There is one paragraph in particular that has really stuck with me:
“…But my struggle with food was a subconscious way to redirect myself from the fact that I was gay.
I created a problem to distract my body from my brain, a pastime fuelled with anxiety, but one that was easier to reckon with than any of my deeper, truer feelings.”
It really describes what I’m going through at the minute. If Ellie does get the chance to see this review one day, thanks for being so honest about what you felt. There are plenty of funny and happier moments about accepting that it was okay to be gay and discovering herself. Her disastraous first few days after coming out, cutting her hair short and when she found her girlfriend.
It’s so cute!! I was throwing internal confetti while I was reading those moments!
It’s doesn’t matter who you are, whether you’re in the LGBTQ+ community or not, The Times I Knew I Was Gay will speak volumes to you.