Hello, everyone! My name is Marta and after I review this book, I’ll rant about how some of us perceive diversity and why this should stop. Stay with me while I rant about misconceptions and how we don’t do enough as reviewers.
First of all, I want to thank Macmillan US for sending me this copy of Let’s Talk about Love, this hadn’t influenced my rating/review in any way.
- This book is lots of fluff. I mean it. Think about the fluffiest book you’ve ever read. Okay. Now multiplicate this by 100 and you get this book. So fluffy.
- Diversity is important in this book. Alice is asexual, biromantic and a black woman, she’s also struggling with coming out (about her asexuality) and speaks out on numerous moments about the fact that people shouldn’t have to come out. People should never assume your sexuality or romantic preferences, never. It’s not okay. Don’t do that.
- Really so many issues are being discussed in this book – Alice speaks about her asexuality frequently, but also about how it’s harder for her as a black biromantic woman to get opportunities in this world.
- Alice was highly relatable. I loved how she overthought everything, she was very considerate when making hard decisions. For example, she comes from a very rich family and she’s always questioning whether she takes too much from her parents. She has a job because she wants to be independent and when it comes to choosing her career path, she’s determined not to let her mother dictate her life just because it would be financially easier for her.
- She’s working in a library. This alone should give this book bonus points because this is my dream job when it comes to summer jobs
(but hey, in Romania, there are no chances to work in a library as a youngster, thanks)
- She’s such a nerdy person. She has a cute color code, which is the best thing I’ve ever heard. I think I should start one too! Also, she writes essays on tv shows, there are the 100 mentions, yaay!!
- I loved the inclusion of therapy. It’s not a bad representation of therapy – no conversion shit or anything. Alice sees a therapist that is actually understanding and genuinely tries to help her. It was refreshing to see this because usually psychologists are used in a negative way in plotlines. Have you noticed? I’ve only read books with them sleeping with their patients, murdering someone or just being assholes. *whispers* We’re not all that bad. *whispers*
- I loved how asexuality played a huge part of this and it meant a lot to Alice, but it wasn’t her entire personality. She was compassionate, kind, sometimes selfish, she had hobbies. She wasn’t definied only by her being asexual. She was a whole person.
- Her love interest, Takumi is absolutely the cutest. Near the end of the book, I was really concerned about what he’s going to do, but I loved how everything turned out. You see, Takumi isn’t asexual, actually he even mentions he didn’t know much about it until Alice told him that she is asexual. I loved how he researched it and the fact that Claire Kann didn’t make him decide instantly that he wants to jump into a relationship. I’m sure that many couples that are formed by asexual and sexual individuals had lots of conversations in the beginning of their relationship and worked out things, compromised and everything else.
- I love how their relationship was based on friendship. It was the cutest, this one has one of my favourite romantic tropes. Go read the book and then ask me what it is. Muhahaha, I’m so evil!!!
- The friendships were relatable. Alice is 19 years old and she’s struggling between keeping her friends from ‘before college’ and making new ones at college. I think most of us struggle with this. I know I did. I know I still do. I liked how her friendships were imperfect, but it was clear that they would do anything for each others. It was pretty real.
- The romance was beautiful. Enough said.
- Check out the book on GR here.
Discussion on how we review diverse books
I know I’ve mentioned before that I’m highly interested in this book because of the asexuality representation – I’ve also mentioned that I’m not using a label as I’m still figuring out things for myself, but it’s still very important for me. It’s very important to me that there are books where there’s no romance at all or books where asexual individuals get their happiness in the form of romance if that’s what they want.
Then this review happened and I got even more passionate about this book. This review made me wonder a lot about how we write reviews on diverse books (especially when it comes to diversity that we don’t know much about/aren’t doing a lot to gett educated) :
In my opinion, this review is at least, insensitive to asexuals individuals : the book turns out to be an asexual romantic fantasy – as if in real world, asexuals never get the cute, sweet, fun love interest. I hate how this review says the book will appeal especially to asexual youth because diverse books aren’t written only for asexual people or for POCs or for mentally ill people or queer people. We have to understand that diverse books are written for the rest of us, too, because there’s this plague called discrimination. Claire Kann had many paragraphs in her book that were obviously written for people who weren’t asexuals, these having the purpose of educating – which is very kind of her since she doesn’t have to educate anyone (there’s internet for that).
The thing is I’m bothered by this review because it’s insensitive on so many fronts, I rarely see books that include heterosexual couples being called books that will appeal especially to heterosexual youth or that the love interest was too perfect to be true. So, why do it when it comes to minorities? NOPE. DON’T DO IT. IT’s not okay.
Don’t tell asexual people that they aren’t going to get romance and that having a healthy, kind relationship will always be a fantasy for them, what do you say?
I think it’s important to be aware of your prejudices, misinformation or any kind of phobia you might have before reviewing a book that might include that. You’re hurting real people by offending those fictional characters that represent them.
I’m not saying, by any means, that I’m perfect and always reviewing diverse books as I should. I’m just saying that I try very hard not to offend anybody and come off as insensitive person. I probably offended people in the past by insulting one of their favourite characters or books, but that’s different from insulting a whole minority group. If I did that, I would apologize instantly and try better next time.
I think we all should be aware of the fact that we have biases, we still don’t know a lot about some subjects (for example, homosexuality used to be a crime/a mental illness in the past, but we progressed from that because we kept educating ourselves.). But it’s not okay to make statements without informing yourself first (especially if that information is available and in handy), there are many relationships between asexual and sexual people, they happen, they get married, are they living in a romantic fantasy? I don’t think so.
So, please if you review a book that is diverse and you don’t know a lot about the group they represent or the illness or anything between those lines, please either let other people (people that are from that minority) judge the representation or inform yourself before talking on the issue.
I know this discussion might have came off as harsh, but I think it’s important to consider those things.
Have you read this book? Did you like it/are you excited about the release?
What are some tips you think everyone should take in consideration before reviewing diverse books?