Documenting Light

I read this book because I am attending a meeting for librarians to discuss LGBTQ+ books and this one was on a list of fiction that features transgender characters.  I enjoyed this book and feel like it would be a great read for anyone who is transgender, exploring their identity, or cisgender and who wants to learn about the experiences of transgender people through the story of Grayson and Wyatt.

There are things that I really liked about this book.  I thought Grayson and Wyatt were well thought out characters who had depth and I loved seeing their love story play out.  Each is in a different stage of their “coming out” and provided support for each other when they needed it.  I found the development of their relationship to be believable and was rooting for them in the end.   Being cisgender, I have no context as to how difficult it must be to decide to live as your true self but I thought the author did a great job showing the struggles Wyatt had with coming out to his family. The moment of relief when he was able to use his chosen pronouns was wonderful. I also appreciated the few, short scenes in which Grayson, already transitioning, was faced with fear in his surroundings and the doubt that people would treat him with dignity and respect.  I can imagine that transgender people see the world differently when it comes to safety and it was heartbreaking to see how Grayson has to protect himself when he was out doing normal activities.

I found the story line about the photograph a bit weak in terms of the mystery surrounding it.  I understand that the photo is what ultimately brought Grayson and Wyatt together and was then the catalyst for Grayson to decide what he wanted to do with his career, but the investigation part didn’t keep my interest for long.

Overall, I think this was a good book to show the struggles that some transgender people face with accepting how they are, making the decision to live their life, and the support they need to make these tough decisions.  I enjoyed reading about Grayson and Wyatt and appreciated the insight the author provided in what it’s like to be transgender.

Author:  E.E. Ottoman

Published: 2016

Rating: 4 Stars

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