Cover Image: Fine

Fine

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Member Reviews

I got an ARC of this book. 

I was really excited. I love graphic novels. I love gender and talking about gender. This was going to be the perfect book for me. I could just tell. 

The issue is, I was bored. So incredibly bored the whole time. I would  have to force myself to read even a page at a time. The only book I can compare it to is the book about working out by Bechdel. Both had the same tone, the same level of excitement from me. 

It might be the book that has the most interviews about gender in it that I have read though. So it isn't completely without merit. There may be lines or ideas that really resonate with people trying to figure out their gender. It was just not for me.
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This book follows the author, Rhea Ewing as they collect interviews from people in their Midwest town. The book discusses gender and trying to find yourself through that. Overall, I thought that this book was fantastic and would be a great addition to any library - personal or public. This would be a great tool for parents, teachers, and kids to read. I think that a lot of people would better understand gender after reading a book like this.
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I loved this book so much. Rhea Ewing's vulnerable and honest discussion of their own gender and questioning process paired with the extensive interviews they conducted made for an enlightening read that many people will undoubtedly benefit from.

Ewing shows a range of experiences, identities, and stages of gender exploration. They show that gender is complex, nuanced, and based on many factors.

As a nonbinary person, I thought that I might not learn anything from this book but I was pleasantly surprised by the range of individual experiences that were depicted and the insightful analysis.

I really appreciated Ewing's self awareness in pointing out that they are not a professionally trained researcher and that there were important gaps in their knowledge going into this process.
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Beautiful illustrations and conversations about gender. Diverse set of characters and experiences depicted in a fresh way. Learned so much from this one. Highly recommend!!
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This is such an important graphic novel that discusses so many topics surrounding gender, identity and relationships. It offers such a wide variety of opinions and viewpoints that really open your eyes to the struggles that different people face in a world obsessed with labels and binary definitions.
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An inclusive and informative book that I think many people will benefit reading from. Accessible to read and the illustrations where great. I think this would be a great resource in my library, not only reaffirming for those who are not cis-gendered but also helpful for those who are looking to deepen their understanding
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I'm absolutely blown away by this book! I loved the art style, the format, the structure, and the way the author weaves in their story with the interviews. I really appreciated that of the 56 people interviewed for this book, there's a great mix of representation with people from different racial groups, age groups, abilities, gender and sexual identities, religions, and socioeconomic backgrounds. I truly felt connected to the various people who shared their stories; many of them I related to because I had similar experiences or knew people who had or are going through similar things. While many of the interviews got into personal experiences, there's underlying common themes that are highlighted in different chapters in the book (i.e. bathrooms, housing, relationships, healthcare). I loved learning from the different interviewees and the author, and feeling embraced by this wider community of folks I'll probably never meet but who share similar dreams and goals. This book is enlightening, inspiring, and challenging. Highly recommend!
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Fine is a non-fiction graphic novel that started out as interviews with others to answer the question that had been playing in their mind over and over, "what is gender?". This is such a personal piece and I really appreciated the medium of graphic novel that was utilized here, it's a piece that I could see as a documentary. The different perspectives from the diverse individuals they interviewed on gender and identity and how that not only affected my thoughts but also Ewings, which was really cool to see included, was a wonderful thing to experience. The gender binary, or perhaps lack thereof, is such an individualized experience and it was really profound to see the stances the individuals Ewing interviewed had. This novel I think is completely accessible to any reader regardless of their experiences with gender and identity or with the LGTBTQA+ communities and I truly commend Ewing for that. 

I found that this novel was easier for me to read in smaller portions to digest all the interviews as this is a hefty piece and the exploration of gender and identity is a thought-provoking one and I liked to mull over each interview and ask myself the same questions that they had been. I truly recommend this book to everyone as I think it's so vital that there are continued discussions related to gender and identity.
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I loved this book. I am often wary of books that are designed to tell the reader about gender because it seems impossible that it wouldn't be an oversimplification of a vast and complex topic. But the approach FINE takes is perhaps the best possible one. Ewing interviews over fifty people, both cisgender and transgender, about a range of topics related to gender and allows all of those contradicting perspectives to coexist, each one valid and true for the person who voiced it. The book opens broadly, with questions about femininity and masculinity, before tackling how gender intersects with race and impacts people's experiences with housing, bathrooms, and incarceration. The inclusion of cis voices alongside trans ones demonstrates that gender is something on which all people have varied opinions and complicated relationships, not only transgender people, Over the ten years this project spans, some participants were interviewed multiple times, and we are permitted to see how their understandings of their own identities change; for instance, one interviewee identifies as genderfluid on one page, yet when we meet her again two pages and five years later, she identifies as a binary trans woman. That is just one of many instances in which FINE successfully illustrates what gender really encompasses, not by simplifying, but by complicating, by allowing contradicting things to be true—for different people, for the same person at different times, even, sometimes, for the same person at the same time..
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This graphic memoir is an exceptional exploration of the question, "What is gender?" I thought I had a handle on this question, but I realize that I am privileged with my understanding of this answer as a cisgendered person. After reading this incredible book, I realize that the answer to this question will not, and will never, be the same for anybody. 

This book challenged me and it changed me. I laughed, and I cried, and I felt so much empathy for this author and their struggle. "Fine" is a ground-breaking work and I am so excited for its publication so that I can add it to our collection and to my own personal collection as well. Copies of this book should be in every library everywhere as a reference guide and as a conversation starter. I truly, truly loved it.
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I absolutely loved this book! Rhea Ewing does a fantastic job of constructing and deconstructing the idea of gender in a way that is completely accessible regardless of your background with LGBTQ+  topics and communities. This book kept me fully immersed and I easily read it in one sitting. I have never before questioned my gender and this book had me thinking about considerations of masculinity/femininity/the gender binary (or lack thereof) that I never would have thought about otherwise. I highly recommend for anyone looking to have their mind blown (in the best way possible!)

Thank you to NetGalley for the advanced readers copy of this book!!
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Fine by Rhea Ewing is a truly powerful and enlightening memoir for anybody who is gender queer, questioning, has a loved one who happens to be gender queer/questioning, or literally anybody who would like a bit more insight about gender identities and how gender is viewed by a variety of people of all walks of life. As a cis female who happens to be questioning gender labels, who has very close friends that are trans (both with and without therapy or surgery) and non-binary/gender fluid, this novel and POV really means a lot to me. I'd love to see more people read stories like this.
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Recommended for all public library and undergraduate browsing collections.  Readers who are questioning their gender identity or the concept of gender in general won't find answers, but may feel better about the lack of answers.

NetGalley ARC.
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Ewing's illustrated analysis of gender is a charming and informative volume that will be loved and appreciated by so many readers. The interviews provide an easy 'entry point'' to thinking critically about gender, and the interviewees are nuanced and thoughtful, offering a range of coherent and often contradictory perspectives on the gender binary, the gender spectrum, transitioning, hormone replacement therapy, the intersections of race/class/gender/sexuality, and more. My primary critique of the book is formal: I found the structure of the chapters/sections to be repetitive and a bit circuitous -- part of the problem, I think, is that the book's attempt to be a 'primer' on gender without yielding to easy generalities is at odds with the strict breakdown of topic-based chapters. The interviewees and Ewing themself are nuanced and eloquent, often refusing to separate discussions of gender presentation from those of sexual characteristics or racial discrimination or misogyny or transphobia  or capitalism. As such, we return to the same insights throughout the book, which makes it feel repetitive at points. (Though perhaps this is a formal tactic! To replicate the circuitous nature of gender exploration in the book's very structure.... hmm..). Overall, a great read!
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This graphic novel is fantastic! A while ago, I read a tweet by Jae Red Rose that said, "Are You Deconstructing Your Idea Of Gender, Gender Identity And Gender Presentation Or Are You Just Memorizing Pronouns?" This notion has really stuck with me as I continue to unlearn so many things about the gender binary and heteronormativity. This graphic novel follows Rhea as they work through their personal understanding of gender. Rhea also conducted interviews with 56 people who also shared their ow experiences and reflections about gender. Fine covers 15 different topics ranging from femininity and masculinity to hormones, healthcare, and bathrooms. I learned so much while reading this nonfiction graphic and I encourage you to also pick up a copy as you continue to expand your understanding of gender.

Favorite Quotes:
~ "What we should be focusing on is our humanity, and on our ability to see each other as living creatures on this planet."
~ "Anything that improves the lives of the most vulnerable improves everyone's lives."
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I was very glad to see the diversity of perspectives and experiences discussed in this graphic novel and really appreciate the food for thought that Rhea Ewing poses for us through these interviews. I found it refreshing that Ewing readily presented the contrasts and discrepancies between different people’s feelings and opinions because it is so important to maintain that no community is a monolith. At times I found it difficult to get a proper sense of who was who and at what point in the timeline x scenario was but this didn’t impede my reading too much as I was able to still grasp the overall message and theme.
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I was very excited to read a "comic about gender," thinking it would be something in the vein of Alex Iantaffi and Meg-John Barker. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a talking heads documentary in comic-book form from the perspective of a young, white, naive non-binary person. For someone who is at the very beginning of their journey of questioning their gender, this may be a comforting approach. This may also be a good book for cis people. For this particular trans reader, however, it felt like a lot of conversations about gender with cis strangers. Conversations I choose to engage in out of an effort to protect trans folks seeking care through certain institutions but conversations that definitely take a toll on my mental health as my humanity and needs are often undermined by cis fragility. There was some nuance, acknowledgment of privilege, and definitely a diverse cast of interviewees, but the prevailing tone of naivete and overt niceness was very off-putting. The talking heads style also made it very difficult to feel engaging to me as, beyond thematic associations, there was very little narrative flow (beyond the author's, "gosh, I've never thought of that before" reactions).
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Fine: A Comic About Gender is such an important story, and one I think everyone should read if they have the chance. This comic brought up such an important conversation about gender, and I really do believe everyone can benefit from reading it. Each person will take away something different, I feel. Even for those who think they have a good grasp on what gender is, and especially for those who are unsure or questioning, this story is for you. Fine could even be used to teach others just how complex gender is, and how it’s unique to each person. This comic wonderfully illustrates that concept through the different interviews. Rhea’s individual story woven throughout was so special and really brought home the whole point of the comic. I laughed, I smiled, I frowned, I cried, and I learned. I think that’s the most important thing I can take away from my time with Fine. We all stand to learn more about ourselves and about others, and this comic was a fantastic way for me to do that. Not only did it help me to understand the experience of others a little better, but it also brought up personal questions that I might not have had an answer to.

While the story and content were both amazing, I also have to give a nod to the artwork. It captured the feelings and emotions felt by the various people so perfectly. It showed Rhea’s confusion, their hesitancy, their discomfort in their own body, but it also showed the stark difference between the earlier years of the comic and the later ones when they became more comfortable and had a better understanding of who they are. Each person introduced had a style that was distinctive to them. I can’t praise this enough, because while it was a way to make sure each person was their own, it also reinforced how each of us experience gender and life differently.

I’m so glad I came across Fine while I was browsing NetGalley one day. I was looking for more graphic novels and comics, so when I saw this one, I thought it would be a perfect fit for me and immediately requested it. I was right. This was such a profound read, and I highly encourage everyone to pick it up for themselves.
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I thought this was an accessible and diverse look into gender. As a trans person, it's hard for me to determine how cis people will understand the nuance and layers of this, but I feel like it gives a variety of voices a platform that decenter the common stereotypical or dominant narratives about gender and what it means to be trans. I appreciated that it touched on a lot of pressing topics while also showing that no two trans people are alike. I hope that books like this encourage cis people to think more about gender and what gender means to them, and I think this book has a lot of great questions that may facilitate that.
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This is a wonderful graphic novel exploration of gender in the form of interviews and self reflection by Rhea.

I particularly appreciate the many different views highlighted in the book, showing that gender is an intersectional and diverse topic.
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