Jul 4, 2010

Book Review: Kicked Out!

Released: January 1, 2010

Title: Kicked Out

Editor: Sassafras Lowrey

Paperback: 224 pages

From Amazon:
In the U.S., 40% of homeless youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer(LGBTQ). Kicked Out brings together the voices of current and former homeless LGBTQ youth and tells the forgotten stories of some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens. Diverse contributors share stories of survival and abuse with poignant accounts of the sanctuary of community and the power of creating chosen families. Kicked Out highlights the nuanced perspectives of national organizations such as The National Gay &; Lesbian Task Force and The National Alliance Against Homelessness and regional agencies, including Sylvia’s Place, The Circus Project and Family Builders. This anthology, introduced by Judy Shepard, gives voice to the voiceless and challenges the stereotypical face of homelessness. To learn more, visit us online at KickedOutAnthology.com.

Brent’s opinion:
     These days, all you hear about is marriage equality and blah blah blah gay rights. Never anything about homelessness and sexuality... So, of course, I was interested in Kicked Out. Prior to reading it, I had never really considered the fact that some kids are homeless just because of their sexuality and identity. Imagine that: someone telling you, "You're not living in this house anymore--you're disgusting." Sad, right? 
     Kicked Out is an anthology, telling the stories of LGBTQ teens who have been disowned and kicked out of their homes. Telling the stories of teens who've had to battle it out just to find a family, people who care about them.It tells the story of teens who've had no where to go; no one to go TO. It made me appreciate my family and friends. It made me realize that a supporting family is privilege. And that not everyone is blessed with one. 
       The stories in Kicked Out disgusted me. Not because they were boring, or poorly written, or un-real, but because I'd keep thinking, "How in the world could someone put up with that shit?" and "Are you kidding me? Shooooot, girl, I'd be dead." The voices of the teens in Kicked Out were touching, and real. Like, they were written in the perfect amount of pain and angst, and the exaggeration was limited. I have to admit, before I even started, I thought, "Damn, this is gonna be written in a 'poor me' kinda way." But it wasn't. As I said, the perfect amount of angst and pain, with limited exaggeration. 
     As I told Sassafras, one of my favorite things about Kicked Out was the diversity present. There were stories with gay  teens; lesbian teens; bisexual teens; transgender teens. Every damn color of  'at rainbow was in this anthology. :) Which is what I really hoped for; In my opnion, gay males are usually the only ones ever recognized in society. Like, you never really hear about transgenders, ya' know? Well, I liked it. :)
      While some of the stories were just straight up "this is what happened" recounts, there were some interesting bits. Like, there was one in the form of thirty-seven (or so) text messages! Intense, right? LOL. There was also some poetry, which I really enjoyed.These teens' stories will appeal to you even if you aren't homeless. Even if you aren't gay. The message is universal, and their voices do not discriminate.
     When I first came out to my family as gay, I thought I had it pretty bad. They sure didn't  like it, but they accepted it. I honestly thought that had it bad... After reading Kicked Out, I feel like a self-absorbed whiny bitch. I mean, here these teens are LIVING ON THE STREETS because of their family. Kicked Out made me re-evaluate my  life, and I'm so glad that I have my life. :)

Check in tomorrow for an interview with Kicked Out editor, Sassafras Lowrey!


Kelli (I'd So Rather Be Reading) said...

I enjoyed your review. The book sounds very powerful.

Cari said...

Great review! People usually form ideas in their head about the homeless so it's good that this book is telling the truth about what really happens. Sounds like an eye opener! Thanks for sharing!


Jami said...

Wow, Brent! What an emotionally powerful read! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Mrs. DeRaps said...

Wow. As a high school teacher, it seems like I should have a collection of stories like this one on my free reading shelves just in case. Thanks for the recommendation and the review.