Monday, August 13, 2012

Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff

Brooklyn Burning has been on my To Read since I first saw it at BEA last spring.  Being transgendered is something that has caught my heart lately because it makes me ill that so many transgendered people are essentially homeless due to other people's issues.  I can not fathom that anyone would have issues with living with a trans person but so many people do.  There are multiple networks for them to find a couch to crash on.  What kind of parent would cause their child to sleep on other people's couches?  It makes me so sad.  My children are everything to me.  I would NEVER allow anyone to hurt them.   EVER.  If they are gay, straight, bisexual, asexual, demisexual, transgendered or whatever, they will still be my babies and I will never love them any less.  It's also my goal in life to help those people who are dealing with being transgendered.  It can be emotionally scarring as well as expensive for a trans person to "correct" their body.  They need love and support and I think we should all give them that.  Now, off my soapbox and on to the review of this epic book.

When you're sixteen and no one understands who you are, sometimes the only choice left is to run. If you're lucky, you'll find a place that accepts you, no questions asked. And if you're really lucky, that place has a drum set, a place to practice, and a place to sleep. For Kid, the streets of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, are that place. Over the course of two scorching summers, Kid falls hopelessly in love and then loses nearly everything and everyone worth caring about. But as summer draws to a close, Kid finally finds someone who can last beyond the sunset.

I really enjoyed this book. It was such an emotional read for me.  Kid is just trying to find people who care and a place to belong.  Kid lives on the streets because they really can't go home.  The thing about this book that struck me the most is that Kid and Scout are usually called Kid and Scout.  There are no gender identifying words used about Kid.  Kid doesn't know how they identify so it is just Kid.  I think Scout may have been called a girl at one point but is usually just called you or Scout.  Gender is very personal and important so this made the book that much more real for me.  I was so worried about Kid living on the street, sleeping where ever and eating if there was food.  That is no way to live.  When Scout shows up, Kid begins to feel again even though they may not want to.  The reader wonders if there will be a happy ending for Kid.  But really what is a happy ending for Kid?  Just to have someone in their life that does not leave when the summer ends.  Having someone who is comfortable with them the way they are.  Getting a hug from their mom and a safe place to sleep.  All of these things would be huge for Kid.  I really enjoyed this book.  I could not put it down and it pulled me in on an emotional level.  It isn't a heavily GLBT based book but I love that for the most part, being Kid is normal for Kid and those around him on the street.

You can click here to find Brooklyn, Burning on Goodreads.  You can find out more about Steve Brezenoff on his website, his blog or you could follow him on Twitter.  You can also check out Youth Link to find out more about teen homelessness and donate to help.  If you or someone you know is Trans and in need of a safe place to stay, Transgender Housing Network is a good place to check.  You can also offer up your couch or guest room to someone in need.  Learn more about being transgender here.  Brooklyn, Burning earns 5 Fairies for a great emotional read.

1 comment:

Kendra said...

Great review! I totally agree. I felt the same way when I read this book a year ago.
I love the fact that Brezenoff tells the story of Kid without relying on gender roles. It shows just how well a tale can be woven just based on a person and who they are rather than what gender they are. It was a completely genius move on Brezenoff's part.