4 out of 4 stars
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My Ladybird Story by Magus Tor takes a dive into the world of growing up feeling like you just don’t fit and the journey of finding where you belong. John ”Ladybird” Birdman is a unique character who is fumbling through his adolescence, teased by most students at his high school for being a bit different, and is suddenly presented with what is sure to be the best gift will ever receive. Aureus Conner is on her seventh and what she hopes will be the final high school change of her life. Aureus stumbles upon John and bully J.P. having a typical hallway showdown and takes the opportunity to make a new friend.
Navigating through high school, conquering college and everything beyond, Aureus helps John take on the world one small step at a time, even when he chooses to become Joyce. The book centers on John, his discovery that he was born into the wrong body and how he faces each daily challenge.
After reading the first handful of pages, I felt like the story was a little slow. When I sat down again to get back into it, I was sucked in and didn’t want to put it down. I actually felt a little guilty reading it so quickly, but it turned out to be an incredible story. I love that while Magus hasn’t personally gone through a male to female transition, he was able to convey some very key feelings that we all imagine a person in this situation might go through. Feeling like an outcast, like you are fundamentally wrong in an overwhelming way and keeping it secret from every single person you love is a burden that no one should have to face. Luckily for Joyce, she didn’t have to for long. In the later chapters, Joyce finally comes to the conclusion that she doesn’t understand what label to use when referencing her sexuality. Aureus brightly says in reply “Why are you so anxious to put a label on things? Isn’t life hard enough already? Without having to analyze everything? Maybe you should concentrate on being you rather than worrying about whether you’re a gay man, a straight woman, a bisexual frog or whatever.” – Magus Tor, page 262. What an inspiring perspective from a well-developed and accepting, loveable character.
My favorite thing about the book is the strength that went into not only Joyce’s revelation and journey, but also the strength that each character had to have to come to grips with their own feelings and choose to be supportive or not. I enjoy that the story wasn’t over the top or in your face about the subject of transsexual individuals. It didn’t portray Joyce as an extreme case, more of a tiny uncertain mouse. Courage, compassion, love, understanding, and most of all, personal growth are just a few of the traits that make this book relatable yet humbling.
What I did not like was the predictability, the stereotypical nature of a few characters and the rushed feeling at certain points. The writing just seemed to cut from one segment of life to the next and could have been reworked for better reading flow. I was also very upset with the way religion made its presence known, but cannot deny that it was a crucial concept for the book. I implore you read this book simply for the religious undertone and what it really means to be a true Christian.
Magus made a big leap into such a touchy subject, but honestly hits it out of the ballpark. Even with the aspects that I didn’t like, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It did a great job of introducing me to the more vulnerable side of being a transsexual male, allowed me to cheer for Joyce along the way and gave me incredible satisfaction overall. I closed the book in a great mood and am very happy that I was able to add this to my read shelf. I strongly feel that this book should be a part of the teenagers guide to growing up and think that this would appeal to not only teenager's and young adults, but to all adults. This book is able to touch on concepts involving important relationships that we all struggle with from time to time and should be read with an open mind and a loving heart.
My Ladybird Story
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