Today's gay youth have dozens of queer peer heroes, both fictional and real, but former gay teenager Grace Perry did not have that luxury. Instead, she had to search for queerness in the (largely straight) teen cultural phenomena the aughts had to offer: in Lindsay Lohan's fall from grace, Gossip Girl, Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl," country-era Taylor Swift, and Seth Cohen jumping on a coffee cart. And, for better or worse, these touch points shaped her adult identity. She came out on the other side like many millennials did: in her words, gay as hell.
I felt equal parts called out and validated by this book and really, that’s all you need to know to pick it up. If you grew up smack dab in the middle of the height of popular culture—the early 2000s—chances are, you can at least relate to half of the essays in this book ... Perry is blunt and funny in her examination of the early 2000s gay heroes—it’s equally nostalgic and uplifting to reminisce about the gay heroes we created back in the day before casual queerness and actual on-screen representation became more regular ... Though I have my favourites from these essays, the ones that really stuck with me were those that highlighted how much internalised homophobia is a systemic issue ... Beyond the analysis of texts Perry offers, I also really loved the tidbits we got about her own journey because they read so similar to my own—and probably a bunch of other millennials’—experience ... A timely piece of literature that you won’t want to miss out on!
While all of her essays contain such autobiographical material, they also boast dives into examinations of the condition of being queer so deep as to approach exercises in queer theory. Yes, the collection sometimes takes itself a wee bit too seriously but is more often lively and thought provoking ... Perry’s book will obviously be catnip for millennials but will also, happily, be deeply satisfying to any generation whose pop culture made them gay.
Perry’s book of personal essays is both an overview of her experience as a gay woman and an examination of the pop culture that shaped her ... A funny, accessible analysis of pop culture that will benefit nonfiction collections; it informs about gay history and grounds its importance in real experience. And for many gay readers, even if the cultural touchstones aren’t their own, Perry’s anecdotes will still be relatable and uplifting.