Sunday, June 24, 2012
The Letter Q, Queer Writers’ Notes To Their Younger Selves
Reviewer: Alan Chin
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
This is a collection of letters, notes, and comic strips from sixty-four award-winning writers and illustrators such as Michael Cunningham, Terrence McNally, Amy Bloom, Armistead Maupin, David Leavitt, Christopher Rice, and Susan Stinson. Each of these “letters” are messages the authors have written to their younger selves to ease the bumpy road of growing up an lgbt youth, all in the tone of “It Gets Better.” They give bracingly honest reasons for young people to tough it out, and hold out for a better future.
These letters are written with unyielding perception, humor, and tenderness. Many of the letters are both eloquent and touching, reminding me of many of my own experiences growing up. They give a united voice of uplifting support of queer youth. I do wish I could have read this while growing through my teens.
I confess that I did not read all of these letters, simply because the themes are so repetitive it gets tiresome. Still I did read all my favorite authors, which many were represented here, and several writers I had not heard of before now, but will certainly read more of.
This book is a must read for any queer youth struggling to accept their sexuality or who are experiencing discrimination from the community. There is a clear and important message repeatedly banged like a bass drum, that queer kids are cool, and important, and just as worthy as anybody else. And the messages to tough it out, because it certainly does get better, is at their core all messages of hope, and of love. I highly recommend this book to all readers, young and old, queer and straight, sons, daughters, and parents.