The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

The Art of Being Normal

Lisa Williamson

This novel asks you to imagine what it would be like to assert your authentic identity, both as an adolescent and an outsider with mistaken gender assignment. Wry humour, realistic dialogue and an upbeat ending counteract this painful account of the bullying, prejudice and isolation encountered by transgender children. It also provides useful insight on current diversity issues, challenging assumptions of what it is to be ‘normal'.

Extract

I swallow. Because here it is; my opportunity to come out with it. Six little words: I. Want. To. Be. A. Girl. But they don’t come out. They stay stubbornly lodged in my throat, choking me into silence. Because the thing Mum is trying to get me to tell her isn’t what she’s been preparing herself for. Because Mum is expecting me to tell her I am gay. I suspect she’s been working up to this moment for years; ever since I requested my first Barbie for Christmas, tore around the house in my first pair of fairy wings, wrapped a towel around my head and pretended it was a mane of long hair... But she and Dad have got the signals all wrong, just like Leo got it wrong in the canteen the other day. Because I’m not gay. I’m just a straight girl stuck in a boy’s body.

Parallels
  • If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
  • George by Alex Gino
  • Simon Versus the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Books with similar mood

Utterly Monkey

Nick Laird

The Marais Assassin

Claude Izner

Don't Let Go

Michel Bussi

Ape House

Sara Gruen

Rush Oh!

Shirley Barrett

The Wangs vs the World

Jade Chang

The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai

Ruiyan Xu

The Colour of Love

Preethi Nair

Little Gods

Anna Richards

Hold

Michael Donkor

Today Will Be Different

Maria Semple

The Friday Gospels

Jenn Ashworth

A Room Full of Bones

Elly Griffiths

Going Under

Ray French

Want to Play?

P J Tracy

Dinner for Two

Mike Gayle

This Green and Pleasant Land

Ayisha Malik

Overkill

Vanda Symon

Nicotine

Nell Zink

The Man Who Died

Antti Tuomainen

The Fault in our Stars

John Green

Lodgers

Nenad Velickovic

Bliss Street

Kris Kenway

Big Spender

John McCabe

Havana Best Friends

Jose Latour

Any Human Heart

William Boyd

Island of the Sequined Love Nun

Christopher Moore

My Brilliant Friend

Elena Ferrante

A Long Long Time Ago and Essentially True

Brigid Pasulka

Dead Cat Bounces

Damien Owens

Normal People

Sally Rooney

Love, Sex and Other Foreign Policy Goals

Jesse Armstrong

The Good Life Elsewhere

Vladimir Lorchenkov

Flight

Adam Thorpe

City of Thieves

David Benioff

Grift Sense

James Swain

My Fat Brother

Jim Keeble

The House of the Hidden Mothers

Meera Syal

The Crane Wife

Patrick Ness

Tell the Wolves I'm Home

Carol Rifka Brunt

Two Cows and a Vanful of Smoke

Peter Benson

Last Man in Tower

Aravind Adiga

Foolish Lessons in Life and Love

Penny Rudge

The Reluctant Mullah

Sagheer Afzal

Deacon King Kong

James McBride

Take Nothing With You

Patrick Gale

The Devil and Webster

Jean Hanff Korelitz

Mr Loverman

Bernadine Evaristo

Stranded

Emily Barr