Like a Boy but Not a Boy
Inquisitive and expansive, Like a Boy but Not a Boy explores author andrea bennett's experiences with gender expectations, being a non-binary parent, and the sometimes funny and sometimes difficult task of living in a body. The book's fourteen essays also delve incisively into the interconnected themes of mental illness, mortality, creative work, class and bike mechanics (apparently you can learn a lot about yourself through trueing a wheel).
In Tomboy, andrea articulates what it means to live in a gender in-between space, and why one might be necessary; 37 Jobs 21 Houses interrogates the notion that the key to a better life is working hard and moving house. And interspersed throughout the book is Everyone Is Sober and No One Can Drive, 16 stories about queer millennials who grew up and came of age in small Canadian communities.
With the same poignant spirit as Ivan Coyote's Tomboy Survival Guide, Like a Boy addresses the struggle to find acceptance, and to accept oneself; and how one can find one's place while learning to make space for others. The book also wonders what it means to be an atheist and search for faith that everything will be okay; what it means to learn how to love life even as you obsess over its brevity; and how to give birth, to bring new life, at what feels like the end of the world.
With thoughtfulness and acute observation, andrea bennett reveals intimate truths about the human experience, whether one is outside the gender binary or not. (From Arsenal Pulp Press)
andrea bennett is an editor, journalist and poet from Montreal. Their work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, the Walrus and Reader's Digest. Like a Boy but Not a Boy is their first book.
From the book
On an afternoon when we were a little more knee-deep in the after-effects of toddler tornado than usual, Will and I decided to put Sinclair, who was then seventeen months old, on the waitlist for a French-language preschool. Preschool would start when she was three. When I looked up the preschool intake form and saw blank spaces only for mère and père, I let the tab languish, unattended, at the corner of my browser window. If I crossed out mère, I wasn't sure what I'd put in its place. I hadn't settled on a parent name. "Baba," which is probably the most common parental label used by non-binary people, means dad in multiple languages, and grandma in others; I didn't have a connection to it, and it felt culturally appropriative for me to borrow it. So I remained label-less.
From Like a Boy but Not a Boy by andrea bennett ©2020. Published by Arsenal Pulp Press.