I don’t think that I will be able to come up with the right words to describe how wonderful and beautiful this book is. All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson is a beautifully written YA memoir manifesto that navigates the complexities of identity, specifically being Black and queer. It is a collection of essays that illustrate Johnson’s life from childhood to college and serves as a beautiful exploration of sexuality, identity, race, gender, as well as a constructive analysis of the anti-Black and anti-queer society we desperately need to move away from. It’s raw, it’s real, it’s honest, and it needs to be read by everyone.
BOOK DESCRIPTION: “In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys.
Both a primer for teens eager to be allies as well as a reassuring testimony for young queer men of color, “All Boys Aren’t Blue” covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalization, consent, and Black joy. Johnson’s emotionally frank style of writing will appeal directly to young adults.”
I want to begin by saying that George M. Johnson is an incredible storyteller and his storytelling abilities have the power to help and influence so many people. I loved reading his stories about addressing his internalized homophobia head-on and accepting and loving himself as the incredible human he is. I loved reading about the unconditional love and unwavering support provided by his family, especially his beautiful Nanny. I loved the bravery and vulnerability it took to discuss and reflect on the sexual abuse he experienced during such a confusing time in his life, and how this reflection can help protect others and save lives. Simply put, Johnson bared his soul in this book and it is a truly beautiful thing to witness. There isn’t a single book like this out there that can help Black/LGBTQIA+ young adults and the messages in this book must be shared with everyone.
I truly can’t recommend this book enough and if it’s not already on your radar, please add it to your TBR list immediately 💛 All Boys Aren’t Blue will make you cry, ache, laugh, smile, hope and ultimately grow as a person. I know with great certainty that this book will be on my mind for a while.
BEER RECOMMENDATION: All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson is best paired with Cobbler: Apricot and Black Currant by Black Flag Brewing Company. This highly delicious fruited sour was brewed with vanilla, cinnamon, milk sugar and 440lbs of apricot and black currant 🍻