Our most recent Book Club meeting was last Thursday and we chatted about Birthday by Meredith Russo. It was quite an exciting one as we were sent some wonderful things by Usborne YA to decorate our space and give out to those who joined us. This post will be a little update about what we spoke about, our thoughts and responses from our new Google form!
As I mentioned above, we do have a new system we are trying out. It’s mainly aimed at people who want to join in on our Book Club but can’t attend the physical meet up. IT’s also super useful to have people who have been able to attend fill it out as we can get direct opinions rather than me writing notes throughout Book Club and paraphrasing people. You can add your thoughts on the book, representation, make any comments you would like and recommend some LGBTQ+ reads you enjoy.
It was a fab night and we had some wonderful chats, both about the book and not. We also ate some great cake (the main reason most people come we suspect…) and just had a cosy little time with friends. Birthday is about Morgan and Eric, two best friends who have known each other since birth. It follows them from their 13th to their 18th birthday, showing only that day. Morgan is figuring out her gender and identity as a trans woman and Eric is struggling with his sexuality.
The book had good ratings all round! The lowest rating was 3.5 stars, with a couple of 4 and 5 star ratings too. We had super positive feedback!
LGBTQ+/queer themes and representation in Birthday
Of course, we had a big discussion about the LGBTQ+ themes and representation in the book. The book dealt with gender and sexuality in a very detailed way, showing the progression and often growing confusion through growing up. However, it also showed the confusion and feelings of shame being worked upon and becoming more positive and accepting, both for themselves and others.
I’ve put below what some people from our Book Club think:
I thought the themes and representation were beyond excellent. I didn’t know what to expect going into this book but I was blown away and it made me feel extremely happy. Lois – Blog / Twitter / Instagram
I thought it was good. As a cisgender person, I’ve not personally experienced that confusion but it was written with care and throughtfulness that came through in the writing. Gabby – Twitter
We also spoke more generally about the book and any opinions people had or the reasons for their rating. We all enjoyed the characters and how they expressed themselves. Their families also felt very well thought out. The small town feeling reminded me of Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy which we read last year for the Book Club. A couple of us felt that the writing could be a little repetitive but others found no criticisms! I’ve put a few extra comments below:
I’d recommend this book to anyone even if they’re not Queer themselves. It’s an enjoyable read which doesn’t take long to get through. Gabby – Twitter
This month we are reading Heartstopper Volume 1 by Alice Oseman which you can get as a graphic novel or read for free online at her website! Our next meet up however is a little later as we are away at YALC so it will be on Thursday 1st August, 7pm at Chapter One in Manchester.
Let us know if you’ll be joining in!