Banned Review: Some Assembly Required: The Not-So-Secret Life of a Transgender Teen by Arin Andrews

Seventeen-year-old Arin Andrews shares all the hilarious, painful, and poignant details of undergoing gender reassignment as a high school student in this winning memoir. We’ve all felt uncomfortable in our own skin at some point, and we’ve all been told that it’s just a part of growing up. But for Arin Andrews, it wasn’t a phase that would pass. He had been born in the body of a girl and there seemed to be no relief in sight. In this revolutionary memoir, Arin details the journey that led him to make the life-transforming decision to undergo gender reassignment as a high school junior. In his captivatingly witty, honest voice, Arin reveals the challenges he faced as a girl, the humiliation and anger he felt after getting kicked out of his private school, and all the changes, both mental and physical, he experienced once his transition began. Arin also writes about the thrill of meeting and dating a young transgender woman named Katie Hill and the heartache that followed after they broke up. Some Assembly Required is a true coming-of-age story about knocking down obstacles and embracing family, friendship, and first love. But more than that, it is a reminder that self-acceptance does not come ready-made with a manual and spare parts. Rather, some assembly is always required.

The Meta Details:
Source: Library
Format: Hardcover
Length: 256 pages
Genre: Memoir
Content Level: Young Adult
Featuring: The wittiest seventeen-year-old boy in existence…

Recommended for: Everyone
Rating: Must read

Ginny Lurcock’s Thoughts:Some Assembly Required should be mandatory reading. There. I said it. I cannot speak to how important this book would be to a transgender youth (or any transgender person) because I am not transgender. Trans rights are incredibly important to me (as I know many trans folks I consider family and recognize my own privilege as a cisgendered person) but this book’s importance goes beyond that as well.

It all feeds into why diversity in all art is important.

Wait. Put down your pitchforks and hear me out.

Diversity is so important not just for the folks who desperately need to see themselves represented in the media they consume, but also to promote empathy from people from different backgrounds who lead different lives. It’s harder to condemn someone or view them as an enemy while you’re also seeing them as a person.

And reading Some Assembly Required makes it impossible to see Arin Andrews as anything other than a person deserving of all the rights, privileges, chances, love, and ability to use the goddamned bathroom that every cisgendered person is afforded.

Arin has such a strong and clear voice that this memoir is compelling to read and easy to gobble up. I’m pretty sure I read it in minutes. In fact, it was so good that even though I picked up the book “Rethinking Normal” from my local library, I had a hard time reading it because of what happened between Arin and Katie.

…Listen, I’m not proud. It’s just gonna take some time to get over this and stop being mad at her.

In summation, give Some Assembly required a try. If you’re trans, NB, or cis. Young, old, or in between. If you’re a living person in possession of a pulse, I implore you to check it out. It is so, so worth it and I hope that Arin continues to write. About anything. Because I will read it.

Oh, and if you can… get it from your local library. Either they have it already and need to know how important trans titles are in your community, or you can request it so someone in the future can have access to it who might not have the ability or courage to request it.

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