Queer Questions Straight Talk, by Abby Dees

Queer-Ques-Straight-TalkQueer Questions Straight Talk is subtitled “108 frank & provocative questions it’s OK to ask your lesbian, gay or bisexual loved one.” That pretty much sums up what this book is about. There is some introductory material and then the questions are split into sections, with a little discussion ahead of time, but mostly just questions to ponder. The book is meant to be used to open conversation between someone who falls into what Dees calls the “LesBiGay” category and their straight loved ones.

When this book was offered to me for review, I warned the publicist that I’m REALLY REALLY SLOW at reading nonfiction, and she assured me that this book was different. She was right. It’s a very small book, short and thin, and definitely easy to read. A good half of it deals with questions – questions that aren’t answered, but that are presented as conversation materials. The point is that Dees wasn’t answering these questions herself, but was trying to generate talk between parties. Each of us possibly asked these questions would have a different response. I flew through the book. When I finally sat down to read it, it took me less than an hour to finish.

Dees explores tons of different avenues and has talked to many people. I was particularly impressed with something she said in the introduction, something that I’ve struggled with myself (though I’m not going into details here, sorry). To me, that little detail is what really hooked me, the time and effort she put into her research and studies. She was very thorough, and I appreciated that.

Unfortunately, this is the sort of book that it’s difficult to get much out of on its own. It’s simply not the sort of book that’s meant to work by itself. It’s meant to be a tool to help get people talking. At the end, what I was left with was a wish that I had someone that I could talk to. As a bisexual woman who has been living in a monogamous relationship with her husband for the last 11 years, I’ve honestly had no reason to talk to anyone about my sexuality if I don’t want to. My family can be quite judgmental in this area, so other than my cousins (who thankfully didn’t inherit those judgmental views), siblings (same), and my dad (who’s better than most), I’ve never bothered to tell anyone. I don’t see the point. It would just be uncomfortable for all of us and I really don’t want to deal with it. I have that right, of course, but it’s funny because for those people I don’t mind telling (cousins, siblings, my dad, friends, all you lovely bloggers), I’m not sure this book would help us. It might be useful if I ever tell my mom, or someone else who I know simply wouldn’t understand.

I don’t know if that’s ever going to happen. I’m not sure if the people who I haven’t told and could tell would be willing to read this book and have a conversation either. You have to be the right sort of person to read this book and be willing to ask questions. That limits its market. But! Having a limited market does not make the book pointless, not by any means. Instead, it caters to what will hopefully be a growing body of people trying to understand something they might have previously had misconceptions about. It’s good that books like this are out there and available. I hope one day I get to hand my copy to a friend or family member and open discussions. And if I know anyone else having this same conversation, I will definitely recommend this book.

About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
This entry was posted in 2010, Adult, Prose and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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