Title: Burn the Page: A True Story of Torching Doubts, Blazing Trails, and Igniting Change
Author: Danica Roem
Publication Date: April 26, 2022
Sub Genre(s): Memoir, LGBTQ
Summary: Danica Roem made national headlines when–as a transgender former frontwoman for a metal band and a political newcomer–she unseated Virginia’s most notoriously anti-LGBTQ 26-year incumbent Bob Marshall as state delegate. But before Danica made history, she had to change her vision of what was possible in her own life. Doing so was a matter of storytelling: during her campaign, Danica hired an opposition researcher to dredge up every story from her past that her opponent might seize on to paint her negatively.
In wildly entertaining prose, Danica dismantles all the stories her opponents tried to hedge against her, showing how through brutal honesty and loving authenticity, it’s possible to embrace the low points, and even transform them into her greatest strengths. Burn the Page takes readers from Danica’s lonely, closeted, and at times operatically tragic childhood to her position as a rising star in a party she’s helped forever change. Burn the Page is so much more than a stump speech: it’s an extremely inspiring manifesto about how it’s possible to set fire to the stories you don’t want to be in anymore, whether written by you or about you by someone else–and rewrite your own future, whether that’s running for politics, in your work, or your personal life. This book will not just encourage people who think they must be spotless to run for office but inspire all of us to own our personal narratives as Danica does. -From Goodreads
What I Liked: I enjoyed the conversational style way this book was written. Roem’s voice is unique, and it seems like the publisher let her just go for it and write what she wanted to write and tell any story she wanted to tell. She doesn’t hold anything back and I appreciated that. I particularly liked her insight into campaigning and how hers was successful, despite her opponent finding everything he could to use against her. She is very open about her past and her family without being intrusive and her advice to younger LGBTQ folks was touching. I think where the book excels is her openness about being Transgender and the difficulties she faced with coming out. These are the moments I wish bigoted people would read and learn from so they can know what it is like to not feel like you are being your true self.
What I Didn’t Like: I found myself skimming over a lot of the sections in this book about Roem’s love of heavy metal and her exploits with her band because most of it felt repetitive. I wouldn’t have minded this so much if I felt there was a point to some of the stories, but they didn’t connect well to what Roem was trying to say.
Who Should Read It: Anyone interested in running for public office can learn from Roem’s story and would benefit from reading this book. Anyone struggling with their gender identity would also find Roem’s words heartening and inspiring.
Review Wrap Up: This is an important book because everyone should know Danica Roem’s story and how important it is to elect LGBTQ representatives. I enjoyed the insight into what it’s like to be a freshman legislator and how we can work together in this country for the better good. I liked that Roem was given free rein to write her story how she wanted to but I wish some of the stories had been tighter and fit more into the overall narrative.
Favorite Quote: “That is something we seem to have forgotten about as a population: it’s possible to be several things at the same time. You can think different thoughts and hold different identities and be fascinated by different things all at once. It doesn’t make you weak or distracted; it makes you human.”