andrea bennett is a National Magazine Award–winning writer and a senior editor at The Tyee. Their book of essays, Like a Boy but Not a Boy, was a CBC Books’ pick for top Canadian nonfiction and one of Autostraddle’s best queer books of 2020. Their second poetry book, the berry takes the shape of the bloom, is forthcoming with Talonbooks this fall.
Like a Boy but Not a Boy
By andrea bennett
Published by Arsenal Pulp Press
A revelatory book about gender, mental illness, parenting, mortality, bike mechanics, work, class, and the task of living in a body.
Inquisitive and expansive, Like a Boy but Not a Boy explores author andrea bennett’s experiences with gender expectations, being a non-binary parent, and the sometimes funny and sometimes difficult task of living in a body. The book’s fourteen essays also delve incisively into the interconnected themes of mental illness, mortality, creative work, class, and bike mechanics (apparently you can learn a lot about yourself through trueing a wheel).
In “Tomboy,” andrea articulates what it means to live in a gender in-between space, and why one might be necessary; “37 Jobs 21 Houses” interrogates the notion that the key to a better life is working hard and moving house. And interspersed throughout the book is “Everyone Is Sober and No One Can Drive,” sixteen stories about queer millennials who grew up and came of age in small Canadian communities.
With the same poignant spirit as Ivan Coyote’s Tomboy Survival Guide, Like a Boy addresses the struggle to find acceptance, and to accept oneself; and how one can find one’s place while learning to make space for others. The book also wonders what it means to be an atheist and search for faith that everything will be okay; what it means to learn how to love life even as you obsess over its brevity; and how to give birth, to bring new life, at what feels like the end of the world.
With thoughtfulness and acute observation, andrea bennett reveals intimate truths about the human experience, whether one is outside the gender binary or not.