Cover Image: The Book of Non-Binary Joy

The Book of Non-Binary Joy

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

No matter where you are in your gender exploration journey, Ben Pechey aims to guide you through the highs and lows of finding your true, fabulous self. Full of personal insight, thoughts from other LGBTQ+ voices and fun activities, The Book of Non-Binary Joy explores fashion, mental health, ally privilege, understanding yourself and more. Funny and educational with charming illustrations of non-binary people, this wonderfully thoughtful manual offers a thorough exploration of what it means to be non-binary and the many forms that can take as well as excellent resources. Pechey has such a warm, friendly voice and their character shines through the pages!
Was this review helpful?
I read this book in bits and pieces - at 2am when I couldn't get to sleep, and at 7pm desperately waiting for work to come in - and though it wasn't entirely for me, it is definitely a necessary book. This was probably the first sort of 'self help' nonfiction book entirely dedicated to nonbinary people. and as an agender person, I really loved that. Unlike other readers, I also loved the 'narration' style, and didn't find it to be patronising in the slightest - it felt like an older nonbinary sibling sharing their wisdom. Though, as a 24 year old who has been out for a wee while, I don't think I was the target audience. This book is much better suited to younger nonbinary people who are just coming out and their family and loved ones who are looking to support them. That being said, there were some things about this book that I didn't love. First of all, though this does deal a lot with the author's personal experiences, I did feel like the book was very whitewashed. There are references at the end for further reading, as Pechey does admit that this is only a starting point, but those are also pretty whitewashed. There are also resources for enby-friendly clothing brands, but they were all very pricy ones (e.g. Lucy & Yak and Vivienne Westwood?????) and it felt a bit clumsy. All in all, a good opening to nonbinary nonfiction, but not my cup of tea!
Was this review helpful?
This book was a nice read. It’s relatively pleasant, very encouraging, and overall optimistic. It gives readers insights into a variety of things regarding non-binary identities and gender questioning, and is overall a good introduction, though the topics can be limited at times. 

The conversational style helps make information accessible to readers, which I definitely prefer in terms of non-fiction books, but the constant referral to the reader as “angel” or “darling” didn’t sit with me too well. I am non-binary, and that sort of language —while non-gendered— still feels like it is to me. Personally it helps corner n-b people into the box of ‘androgynous afab or feminine amab’ and nothing deviating, a pseudo binary if you will. 

This book would be a great library addition, and I do think that it will suit many people very well. I don’t think I was necessarily the target audience though, despite meeting all of the qualifications.
Was this review helpful?
To be real so did the narrator/author irritate me with all the ‘babe’ and stuff, that is just something that makes me ick or gag, which made it extremely difficult to read the book.
The rest of the book was fine, but on another level that I thought it would be. This book would be fine for a teenager to read when they’re struggling to figure out their identity, but I don’t think it would help a grown up all that much, it didn’t go into depth like I thought it would.
But I am just an ally, so I cannot be certain, that was just my opinion on the book.
Was this review helpful?
Well heck, here’s a book I couldn’t possibly see and not be immediately in need of. Like any marginalisation it comes with it’s own set of issues–and those who also belong to other marginalised groups feel the bite extra.
If you don’t know yet, here it it: I’m non-binary. I’m also disabled, with mental illness. Each of these things makes life harder–and bear in mind I’m still white, and masc, and unless someone knows otherwise they’ll assume I’m a cishet male (because my wife is female).
I’m not a cishet male. I reject that label utterly and completely. But tell the world that. The world obsessed with forcing people into boxes. The world trying right at this very moment to use any means necessary to remove trans people’s existence. The world that translates non-binary as a femme guy, or an androgynous girl–both things I am definitely not.
Seeing myself so incredibly rarely represented, and feeling the trauma and terror of a world that wants me and my trans siblings to either die, or never dare come out at all, means finding a book like this is a Big Deal.
Finding joy in who I am, not despite it, is really important. When other people just want to stamp you out, when dysphoria hits, when you feel alone, you have to find something beyond the pain.
This book, from the opening sentence to the very end, is that something. IT does exactly what it says on the cover–here are various writers, acknowledging the pain, but celebrating the joy of being themselves.
I don’t want to pick any out as better or worse–they all have relevance, and will all resonate differently at different moments, but even when tears came reading this, they weren’t sad or angry or defeated. They were tears of acceptance, of love, of feeling seen and understood.
Non-binary folk, this book is entirely and completely for us.
Cis folk, as Pechey says at the beginning, this book wasn’t written for you. Of course you are welcome to read, but do so quietly, and in order to learn not to comment.

Within these pages is a truth bigger and greater than any law or bigot can possibly understand: being non-binary is its own joy and reward.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

As a non-binary person, I'm firstly just glad this book exists. As someone who took a long time to find myself due to lack of exposure to the LGBTQIA+ community and a fear of consequences, having a book like this around when I was in my early teens would have been life-changing. 

That said, I echo some of the other reviewers who've stated that the topics are rather surface-level, and seem to skim over things really quickly with little back up. There is some great advice here, though some of it very general that could apply to anyone rather than just the non-binary community, and the summaries at the end are good.

However some of the advice doesn't sit well with me, and doesn't take into account a number of different situations the reader might be in. The tone can also be patronising, though for younger readers this may not be as evident.

I do think that any young person questioning their identity could benefit from reading this book, and there are certainly bits of joy to be gained within the author's advice. However I think there should have been a deeper, more personal focus on the topics.
Was this review helpful?
Strangely it took me a while to finish this one. When I first started I thought it would be a quick, easy read, but somehow it was quite the opposite. I think it was the style of writing for me, it was to a certain extent very conversational, but there was a lot to absorb. This wasn’t a bad thing entirely, all of which was covered in this book I found to be really insightful. For me, a lot of it was reinforcing ways of thinking that I already had (or was trying to embody), but some parts did show me different ways of exploring (and accepting) my own gender identity.

What I liked most about this book was the way it was organised. The book covered topics all to do with gender and understanding who you are. From Understanding Your Past to Self-Expression, as well as Social Media which I think is something really important to cover. Each topic was covered in a really accessible way, and included anecdotes as well as a summary at the end of each chapter. As well as this, there is a really great list of resources in one of the last chapters for those who might want to know more (I want to point out that as this was originally published in the UK, the resources are UK based, but helpful – in some cases – none the less). This book also recommends some further reading on the topic of gender identity which I will definitely have a look at.

I think part of the reason that it took me a while read this is that I found the narrative voice a little grating. While it is conversational, I found it to be a little pushy. Despite this, I think that some people might find this a lot easier to read than other more factual (or even clinical) books on gender identity. I also found that while there were quite a few topics covered, the information seemed to be talked about at a surface level. Again, I think this would be helpful for some, but I was left wanting more from the book.

On the whole this is a really well thought out book, and great for someone who is just starting to question their identity, and needs a place to start. It is a wonderful safe space to explore their gender identity and what it means for them. It is accessible, and, as the title says, is an exploration of the joys your gender identity can bring you.

*For me this was more of a 3.5 stars for me

Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for sending me this free eARC (eAdvanced Reader Copy). I am leaving this review voluntarily. This title will be published 19th May 2022.
Was this review helpful?
I think this book was very educational, and will help to support those who would class themselves as non-binary. I feel like it's opened my eyes on this topic, and it was something I wasn't particularly sure of before. I feel I can be more of an ally after reading this book.

However, I wasn't too keen on Pechey's writing style, and the book was sometimes repetitive. 

It was interesting, but I am sure there are better books out there.
Was this review helpful?
Ahhh I'm overjoyed that this book exists in the world. Ben Pechey makes the journey through this book so fun. I think the book is mostly meant to help folks who are new to being non-binary or are exploring genderfluidity. Pechey gives tools for self-care and ways to continue to explore genderfluidity and navigate hate from others. This book is, as the title suggests, full of joy and I absolutely loved it!
Was this review helpful?
This book is. Fine. If I was not ten years into my nonbinary self and incredibly confident in it, it’s possible I would have enjoyed it more. But this might also be a “problem” with how it is a self-help book. Lots of allies and cisgender people enjoyed this book, so maybe it will be for you! But it was not for me. I felt kind of talked down to and spoken to like a tiny baby animal, which is great for many people! I am simply not one of them.

Three stars.
Was this review helpful?
Note about my review: I'm not non-binary, so I am not the main target audience for this book. I read it to check it out as a potential book to add to lists and recommendations (since I don't usually like recommending books I haven't personally read!)

There is a lot to love about this book! It's very intentional about its goal to encourage non-binary people to seek and find joy and pleasure in their lives. There is some discussion about harder topics, but the author is very clear about avoiding as much triggering language as possible (For instance, at one point, they talk about how to acknowledge and avoid triggers in your daily life and they intentionally do not give examples.)

This book radiates joy and has the same energy as the cover. It emphasizes small and big ways that non-binary people can prioritize happiness. At times, these suggestions felt a little bit surface level  (things like "go take a bubble bath", etc.), but that was also kind of the point- finding joy in simple daily activities.

The tone of this book is very conversational and the author uses many many terms of endearment like "darling" throughout the book. Some people might really find this comforting, but it bothered me and at times almost felt patronizing. Again, this is up to personal preference. There are also TONS of pop culture references which might be a pro or a con depending on your taste, but it's good to be aware of beforehand.

I didn't really understand why there were activities like word searches and crossword puzzles included, but I liked the fill-in-the-blank sections for brainstorming personalized ideas.

Overall, my feelings about this book are pretty mixed. I appreciate what the author did with it, but I also know it may be off-putting to some types of readers because of the tone.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC!
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to the publishers for providing me with an eArc in exchange for my honest review!

This book was a really comfortable read that I wish I had when I was way younger and still questioning a lot about myself. I believe it will benefit people who are questioning their gender or want to learn more about gender.

I will say that the book doesn't go in dept on the topic of being non binary but instead is a place where being non binary is celebrated and opens up conversations while also providing extracts from queer guests. It is a quite simplified explanation that doesn't go much into the whole idea of identity which was a bit unfortunate  I thought! It could have offered up so much more to help an older audience as well as young people who may be questioning their identity.

After each chapter there is a small section that sums up the chapter which I found really handy! The narrator was, for the most part, enjoyable to listen to but i also felt a bit uncomfy with them constantly saying "darling", it just made me feel like I was in work and an older person was talking to me in that specific way that makes you want to roll your eyes but you can't 🤷‍♂️

I did not learn anything new from this book so I would probably recommend it for teens or someone who has generally no idea of gender and terms such as 'gaslighting' which was for some reason featured in this book?

So yeah, if you aren't well versed on and want to learn more on identity and being non binary then this is a book that may be for you! (But mainly most of the stuff I have in the past read and searched up on Google.) 

On a last note, this maybe picky and just a personal issue but I am so not fond of the cover of the book either 😅😅
Was this review helpful?
The Book of Non-Binary Joy by Ben Pechey is a short, warm, and reassuring book of wisdom that I think a lot of people could use. 

If there’s one thing Ben does wonderfully (other than their writing) is delightfully inform and reassure the reader in a manner that’s not supercilious. While reading, it was comforting to be reminded of things once thought of in my journey of figuring out my identity and my journey in general. Ben effortlessly weaves wisdom, pop culture references, and even quick little activities, as well as the highs and lows of being non-binary that evoke acknowledgment and safeness. Knowing that other people have gone through similar experiences whilst balancing levity is all one could ask for. 

Having stated how warm, reassuring, and comforting this is, I think I would’ve enjoyed this so much more if I wasn’t currently comfortable with my gender identity. This is not to say that it’s not a good read whatsoever, but that I’m not searching for answers I don’t have–which this book definitely provides. The Book of Non-Binary Joy feels like a book for those who could use a reminder of who they are and where they come from, whether you’ve just begun your gender identity journey or have been on it for decades.

The Book of Non-Binary Joy by Ben Pechey features warm words of wisdom and is a fun, pleasant, and educational (for many) book that I think many people should read regardless of gender identity. 

Disclosure: I don’t rate non-fiction unless the book leaves a significant impact, so there is no rating. 

Thank you, NetGalley, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, and Ben Pechey for the arc.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Netgalley, Jessica Kingsley Publishers and Ben Pechey for allowing me to read the eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Book of Non-Binary Joy is an unapologetic and vibrant exploration into what it means to be non-binary and how you can derive joy from being non-binary. It's an uplifting celebration of all things non-binary and offers readers ways of being that bit kinder to themselves in moments when our current society makes it harder for them to live their authentic selves.

The author has a very distinctive, friendly tone of voice. It's sort of like you're reading a conversation with a friend which I can see working well as an audiobook. It did take me a while to get used to being called 'darling' every few paragraphs, but eventually I lent into it because after all, this book is about joy! I've come to the conclusion that because there was a truly incredible amount of times the word 'darling' was used it must be some kind of inside joke or potentially drinking game material. Either way it adds a fun flair to the narrative.

I think this book is probably best suited younger audiences (perhaps 14+ years as there is some swearing and adult themes) and would be particularly validifying for anyone at the beginning of their self discovery journey. I know I would have adored for this book to have been in my school library when I was younger, but I personally didn't come away from the book having learnt much I didn't already know and didn't always agree with some of the author's opinions.

I did however really like the inclusion of the bitesize summaries at the end of each chapter as it's these snippets that you're going to want to make notes of to remember. I also read the book in chronological order, however also liked that the author noted that you can read the chapters in whichever way is going to suit you best. I can see this book working well as something that you check in with occasionally and re-read a section that feels most relevant or needed at specific times. 

Whilst this book wasn't particularly to my taste, I am really pleased that it's been written because it's a much needed positive piece of representation for non-binary people.
Was this review helpful?
As a non-binary adult in my mid-30's there are parts of this book that perhaps aren't aimed at me, which is a shame. There are plenty of people out there who don't figure out their gender identity in their early teens, who don't hit 18 and immediately get the medical transitions they need and that audience is still sorely forgotten about. As a disabled person too, the section that says to avoid online diagnoses might be fine advice for kids, again, but as an adult living in a world where official diagnoses are like unicorn poop self-diagnosis is an essential life-line. The book gives some more cursory info on non-binarism but doesn't delve into the depths I hoped for and didn't really live up to the title. If I wanted a rudamentary expanation of the gender binary and living outside of it, I can find that myself online, what I wanted was JOY and stories of enby joy of all ages.
Was this review helpful?
I liked that you could basically read any chapter out of order. That’s a very cool concept and it actually worked really well. However, the author’s narrative style was so annoying and condescending that it made getting through this a real struggle. Content wise, this didn’t really feel like it went in depth. Didn’t contain anything that you couldn’t find in a 10 minute google search. So, cool concept, but poor execution. 

*Thanks to NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review
Was this review helpful?
3.75/5

I loved a lot of things about this book, but it didn't stick out to me all that much. It was a great read and I would recommend it to non-binary people and allies looking to learn from own voices resources. Though I would like to warn allies that as the title suggests, it is a book aimed at non-binary people to captivate their joy. Allies can sit back and learn, but some of the things in the book are not and will never be directed at them. This is intentional on the authors part as they explain that many things are aimed at cis people, so non-binary people can have this.

One thing I absolutely loved about this book was the little illustrations that came with every chapter. They were adorable and I looked forward to them every time.

I thought that there were a lot of great specific reminders to trans and non-binary people such as,
-The reminder that trans and non-binary people deserve love regardless of what society says.
-The reminder that it's okay to care a lot about your labels and finding the right pronouns, but it's also okay to sit back and take your time.

One last thing that I loved was the acknowledgement that the non-binary identity is only new to western culture, other cultures have had something along this line for hundreds if not thousands of years and western colonization has only made that worse.

I tried to only include examples from the first couple chapters as to not spoil your reading experience :)
Was this review helpful?
As a cishet person, I fully recognize that I am not the intended audience for this book. I appreciate that the author does address allies several times throughout the book. In an attempt to be a better ally and advocate, I'm attempting to read varied experiences from folx within the LGBTQIA+ community. Pechey's experiences should be viewed within the larger whole as one person's experience. I appreciate that Pechey offers many resources to help individuals once they've finished this text. Thanks for sharing your perspective!
Was this review helpful?
first of all, I would like to say how happy it makes me to see books like this get published. they are so important and can save a lot of minority people, representation in the media is vital and I am so glad that trans / non-binary people are finally getting safe spaces where their feelings are heard and advice is given. 
I liked the variety this book offered, it had a huge range of different sections of advice. it didn't just offer the generic pieces of information that other books of a similar style do. it spoke about how to be an ally, the thoughts and feelings non-binary people may go through, relationships and everything in between. I genuinely think this will be a massive help to so many people. I really really appreciated how it started with the basics, even defining what non-binary / cisgendered and other important words mean (great for those trying to understand loved ones.) the illustrations throughout were super cute and bright, made the book have an adorable aesthetic. 
my only sort of criticism was, whilst reading, it felt too fluffy and happy. I know that we need to uplift and offer advice to these members of the community, but I feel as though in a way it sugar coated some of the dark issues that are faced. sometimes its messy being LGBTQ, and those areas need to be discussed openly too.
Was this review helpful?
As a non-binary person struggling to find joy in my life this book was everything I needed at the time. I found myself laughing and crying with happiness to know that I was not alone in my experiences. I don't usually read non-fiction because I need fantasy to keep me from overthinking real life. But I needed this book. It helped me grow and develop to be my true self in the time since I've read it. I can and do find more joy and happiness in my identity and my queerness now with the help of Ben's work. I've let go of so many of my personal hang ups that were causing me so many problems. This is truly a delightful book.
Was this review helpful?