Cover Image: The Book of Non-Binary Joy

The Book of Non-Binary Joy

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

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?
I didn't love the really familiar style that this book is written in but it was still warm, comforting and informative.
Was this review helpful?
As a non-binary person, I just didn't like the whole...vibe of this book.
The longer I look at the cover, the more put off I am by the pink and the font choices.
I didn't like some of the language used throughout the book.
I feel like it was supposed to be inspirational and instill a sense of euphoria around a person's gender, and instead it had the complete opposite effect on me. I actually put this down weeks ago and just didn't want to think about it any more (hence the very, very late review). 
Not for me, but maybe it will help someone else. It's not really for me to say or dictate how someone else views and handles their gender identity.
Was this review helpful?
DNF’d at 25%
I didn’t like the author’s voice. This one was definitely not for me. I largely felt like I was being told things I already know as a non-binary person. It said this book was written for us, not allies, but it definitely felt like it was written as a guidebook for allies to me. Which isn’t a bad thing by any means, but it felt like I wasn’t the target audience.
Also, really hated being addressed as ‘darling’ repeatedly. 
I won’t be posting a review on my bookstagram for this one
Was this review helpful?
I was really excited to read what sounded like a book made for me, unfortunately it went down hill from page one.. As many have mentioned, the author's tone is unbearable. Calling us readers darling repeatedly and saying things like "how was it?" after you finish chapter one was distracting and annoying. I felt like I was listening to a meditation or other self-guided app when that's not what I was prepared for. A lot of the narrative voice grated and came across as so patronizing that I couldn't focus on what was being said..

The premise of this book is a great one, and as a non-binary individual I would love to see another take on this idea. unfortunately, this effort just fell flat.
Was this review helpful?
This was very middle-of-the-road for me. It was a cute book but I don't think it is doing anything new or outstanding. That said, I really respect the author as a person and I think they have great things to say--I just don't know if it needed to be a whole book. Constant uses of "darling" made the tone feel patronizing while the content was mostly things I've seen on an instagram infographic dozens of times already. 

I did love the chapter on fashion and embracing a personal style; I think a whole book just about that topic could have been great. 

I think this will work for some people. Kids or young teens who haven't had much exposure to social media could get a lot out of this book, perhaps people brand-new to queerness as well. But if you're already inhabiting queer spaces online, you probably already know everything here.
Was this review helpful?
I hated the tone of this book.  The author kept referring to me (the reader) directly as “darling” or “nonbinary angel” and it icked me.  It felt patronizing and made me turned off from anything the narrator tried to tell me. And the author made this way to much about themselves, if they wanted that they should have just written a memoir instead.  And this book really isn't as in depth as I was hoping, it is a very basic outline of nonbinary identity and didn’t get into more intricacies or intersectional parts of identity.  Maybe this would be good for preteens questioning identity, but also I think they could get all this info and more just from a basic google search or a few minutes on twitter.  I wanted to read this as a trans person who identified as a trans man and medically transitioned now exploring deeper parts of my gender identity, but this book doesn’t go that deep and provided no new ideas or views to me
Was this review helpful?
A fabulous work of queer representation and celebration. I think this is a must have for all public facing institutions, libraries, schools, etc. 5/5 shining stars.
Was this review helpful?
This was a good book that fell a bit short for me. It reads more like a book targeted toward nonbinary people who are just starting to find themselves and/or cisgender people. I've identified as NB for years and am very well versed in knowledge about my gender and sexuality, so I don't feel like  I learned a lot from this. That being said, there is important information in here that many people could really get a lot of help from.
Was this review helpful?
Had a hard time getting into this book at first.  It’s written in a very conversational voice with the author addressing the reader directly and familiarly.  Being a private person who doesn’t readily open up to others, I found this presumed familiarity off putting.  However I also saw that the author was coming at this with a sincere desire to convey joy and show non-binary readers how they, too, can and should embrace the joyfulness of a non-binary identity even in the face of skepticism, criticism and outright hostility.  Eventually I sought out Ben Pechey’s social media.  I had never heard of them before requesting this #NetGalley ARC as I’m old and don’t spend much time socializing online.  Pechey is an engaging, fun, thoughtful and insightful speaker on social media.  Also has a good sense of humor, true empathy with his non-binary followers, and a flair for styling themself.  Sincere and authentic.

After getting a sense of Pechey via the medium of YouTube, the book was easier to read – the words came off the page with Pechey’s voice and delivery.  I requested this book to begin with because I want to learn more about the non-binary experience.  While I have “googled” as Pechey suggests, like all internet search results – there are good sources and bad sources and in a new area of investigation, it’s hard to figure out which is which.  I had hopes that this book would enlighten me on (1) what it means to be non-binary, (2) whether I, myself, am non-binary, or (3) how to be a good ally to non-binary persons.

It did answer those questions to varying degrees and Pechey themself makes clear at in the book’s opening that the primary audience they are addressing is non-binary individuals except for one section written specifically for allies.  As to the question of whether I am non-binary?  No, I wouldn’t say that I am.  But here’s the thing – I am a trans (AFAB) and it’s easy to conflate the two life experiences.  There is a good deal of overlap when it comes to the struggle to understand one’s self, the eventual revelation of self to others, and dealing with the reactions of others.  There is overlap in that both trans and non-binary folk navigate a predominately cis world to whom questioning one’s gender is foreign and unnecessary.

The chapter on being an ally was useful and I have more knowledge when meeting and interacting with those in the queer community who identify as non-binary.  

As for Pechey’s writing, it did become very repetitive very quickly.  Unfortunately I am one of those readers who finds idioms annoying and this book is a working list of the top 50 idioms in the English language. The publisher and author should consider producing an audiobook as I think Pechey’s literal voice can work to offset what started to sound like one continuous note with no variation.  

Finally, I hope Pechey themself takes some time for self-care and takes their own advice from this book.  A whiff of professional burnout rose to the surface from time to time – professional burnout in that the author is an active creator as a non-binary identified person.  It feels like they may be struggling to balance creativity outside of the public/media demand exclusively for their non-binary creativity so to speak, and not seeing Pechey as a full artist integrating many aspects of themself.  I saw this happen with trans people in the ‘90s who were out and in creative spaces and whose art reflected their trans experience.  Truly encourage this author to hold space for themself, their whole self, for all the joy you’re creating for others.
Was this review helpful?
Very well written, and it did bring me joy. I’m glad I took the time to read it. The way it’s given makes me feel less alone in my personal experiences, which I don’t find very often in books.
Was this review helpful?
'The Book of Non-Binary Joy' is a refreshingly light outlook on all the things that make living outside the gender binary a wonderful thing. So much queer non-fic tend to be wrapped up in (and justifiably so) all of the trials and heartaches that nonbinary folks go through. Ben Pechey's writing is friendly and feels like a lovely, warm hug.

I did find myself thinking that some of the lessons were a bit Genderqueer 101 in terms of substance—potentially a better fit for someone just starting to explore gender or for allies! However, what 'The Book of Non-Binary Joy' may lack in depth, it more than makes up for in heart.

Thank you to NetGalley and Jessica Kingsley Publishers for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed reading this. It's self help, so it features a lot of things that other self help books have, but everything is discussed with a nonbinary 'twist' on it. I think the best thing about the book is that it will make people feel seen. Yes, you could read any self help book and then figure out how to apply it to your own circumstances, but there is just something so wonderful about reading something specifically written for you. The focus is on exploration, that it's ok to take time to figure yourself out, and how to look after yourself in a world that does not treat nonbinary people the way they should be treated. The art at the start of each chapter is cute, and each chapter ends with a helpful summary and an activity.

I appreciated that, whilst this book is predominantly about joy, Pechey doesn't ignore the negatives. The book talks about the way society impacts nonbinary people, and does not pretend that self love fixes everything. It shows how self love can help you to survive, though.

It's a little wordy at times, and I found the overuse of the word 'darling' a little irritating. Some topics felt like they were oversimplified at times, but given that this is self help and not queer history or theory that's pretty typical. 

The book features fun activities, practical tips, and tools that you can use in real life. Well worth a read, particularly for nonbinary people, but also for anyone who wants to be an ally to nonbinary people.
Was this review helpful?
Joyful definitely sums up this book. Deals with some heavy and difficult aspects of non-binary life in a sunny but realistic (eg not with toxic positivity) way. It's tailored towards non-binary people, but I'd say it has appeal to people who aren't non-binary too - both as advice on how to be more supportive to the non binary folks anoung us, and some personal universal advice avout finding joy. It would especially be relevant to other queer and trans folks. 

I really enjoyed the voice of the author in this, and it has lovely illustrations and interactive bits.
Was this review helpful?
I think this book would be enjoyed and be a useful tool to some people, however myself I found it a bit boring. It didn’t really tell me anything I didn’t already know. However, I do love the concept of it, and the illustrations are great!
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this - I had very little idea about being non binary before reading this book and it’s really opened my eyes!
Was this review helpful?
I've found it incredibly difficult to summarise my thoughts on this book. This collection of insights provides a really wonderful overview of what it means to be non-binary, as a non-binary person myself I felt the love pouring out from the author and their words brought me so much joy. 

The description of non-binary identities using colour was beautiful and is a metaphor I'll definitely use when describing myself in the future. I also loved all the metaphors Ben used when talking about self-love and development, looking at myself as an unfinished book has really helped me be more compassionate to myself. The book was really educational and compassionate, but at its core is a celebration of non-binary joy and self-love. I didn't even make it 10% in before I started crying, this book saw me, brought me in for a warm embrace and told me it was going to be ok. Then it 

I think this is a great tool for non-binary or gender questioning people to read to get to know themselves better and help us be kinder to ourselves, but it's also accessible for allies and people curious to learn more. The writing was personable and the illustrations are truly heart warming. I really loved the "Key Takeaways" at the end of each chapter, it made the book feel laid back in a way that most self help books lack, and all in all I felt like Ben was holding my hand through the whole experience, like a kind friend guiding me through a wonderfully queer garden. Whilst I would've loved to have this book when I first came out as non-binary, I got just as much out of it now. I can't wait to buy this for myself and everyone I love. 

From the bottom of my gender-queer, purple, rose, pink and blue heart, thank you Ben.
Was this review helpful?