This is another winner from Jessica Kingsley Publishers, which I’ve become increasingly aware of in the last year as a great specialty publisher. How to Be Ace is both a good coming of age memoir and a great primer of what asexuality is and how the social pressures to have sex and find a romantic partner can be very damaging. It also covers OCD, anxiety, and touches a bit on autism, so it manages to cover a lot of ground in 208 pages. I’d been following Burgess’s work for a while so was excited to see this book pop up on their Twitter, and it lived up to my hopeful expectations. The art is expressive and full color, which I think in this case adds to the overall package.
I liked that the book focused on the full scope of how complex life can be and how a bunch of different issues can affect someone deeply without anyone noticing. It got across the intense societal pressures to fit in and get into a relationship that is in the background of almost all of our media, as well as broader family/interpersonal pressures. I’m not asexual, but I am autistic, and I found myself wanting a bit more of a look into how the two overlapped for Burgess, or how they found them to be interconnected. But they packed a lot into this book so it might have been too much to also go into autism as well. Either way, I really enjoyed this book and thought it was a satisfying and informative graphic memoir.
The book includes trigger warnings on the copyrights page, but I didn’t notice them until I was finished with the book. I thought including them was a good idea, but they would be more useful in a more clearly noticed location.
Warnings for: bullying, anxiety/panic attacks, OCD, rape, sex, drinking/pressure to drink to fit in