We know this story: Boy learning who he is. And we know the story of Boy learning that he is Gay and that’s okay. However, Damian Alexander’s approach makes Other Boys a fresh take on that story. The use of the wording/phrase “other boy(s)” is used throughout the book. Sometimes it is, “You are not like the other boys” and sometimes a bit more subtle, but it is there. Sometimes it is a half-compliment and others times and out and out insult. Both will make Alexander think, reflect, about the meaning(s).
The comic book illustrations, bold colors, and the right details to the illustrations show much of what the text does not when we explore the life of Damian. There are some stereotypes (plays with dolls, likes sewing) that are not always shown in a book as other books tend to start during the teen years, and here Alexander gives you the highlights from the “beginning” to “now.” These are, of course, just who Alexander was/is and not a comment on the action itself. His immediate family seems to be close knit and welcoming to these differences, it is not until extended family and school comes into play that he starts realizing the “other” himself.
And if Damian was not different enough because of his likes, he is “other” by being in a low-income household, being raised by his grandparents, not all his siblings live with them, his mother is dead, and his father is “gone.”
This memoir is condensed (certain events happened much later than is shown) but the emotions are not skimped on. Due to the bullying and the how behind the death of his mother some people might be triggered. However, the way Alexander handles them is tastefully done.