Jonny has to get home to the reservation he grew up on for his stepfather’s funeral. What transpires in this book is almost a near stream-of-consciousness retelling of the moments that have brought him to this moment in his life. Without a care for time or linearity, Jonny invites us into his life to show us his memories and to highlight the love he has felt for his family, his friends, and for himself.
One thing you should know going in to this book is that there are frank discussions of sex throughout. Specifically, queer sex. This is definitely the most honest (and sometimes graphic) treatment of queer sex that I have ever read. Whitehead, who is also indigenous, queer, Two-Spirit, does not hold back or deal with euphuism.
Ultimately, andtheIToldYouSos nails what it is like to read this book. In her review, she describes reading this book like “sitting next to an intense but intriguing stranger at a party. You went to the bar to refill your drink and spent the next few hours drawn into this person’s life that is too full of detail to be fake, but too extreme to be entirely truthful (you hope).”
And that’s it perfectly. The book is conversational and informal. It feels like you are earnestly connecting with another person. Largely this is due to who intimate and vulnerable Jonny is. He is secure in himself and the choices that he has made. And he knows stories have power, and his is a hell of a story.