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The Full Spectrum: A New Generation of Writing About Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Other Identities Library Binding – May 9, 2006

4.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up–Using works submitted anonymously through the Web site the authors created in conjunction with the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Levithan and Merrell have selected 40 essays, mini-autobiographies, poems, and photographs that chronicle the lives of 21st-century young people, ages 13 to 23. The handsomely dense package includes real-life stories about coming out, falling in and out of love, mistaken identities, families and friends, misplaced affection, confronting homophobia, and more. A female-to-male transsexual teen describes a first trip into the men's restroom. A young man recalls his close relationship with a trash-talking, pot-smoking, horror-movie-loving burnout, illustrating the blurry lines that exist between romance and friendship. While nearly half of the installments tell the stories of young gay men, a sizable chunk is devoted to lesbians, and more than half a dozen pieces are about transgendered youth. While many of the stories recall memories of isolation, others delve into a young person's awareness and involvement in a queer community. As a whole, the collection is comprehensive, complex, and the perfect title to put into the hands of teens who approach the information desk asking for real stories about coming out and coming to terms with anything remotely GLBTQ.–Hillias J. Martin, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 8-11. The 40 contributions to this invaluable collection about personal identity have two things in common: all are nonfiction and all are by writers under the age of 23. Beyond that, diversity is the order of the day, and the result is a vivid demonstration of how extraordinarily broad the spectrum of sexual identity is among today's gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. That said, some of the topics addressed in these essays and poems are familiar (the agony of coming out, the heartbreak of religious opprobrium). What is new and encouraging, however, is that so many young people have felt free enough to share the truth about themselves in print and under their own names; as coeditor Levithan notes in his introduction, "One way to effect change is to share truths. To tell our stories." Insightful, extraordinarily well written, and emotionally mature, the selections offer compelling, dramatic evidence that what is important is not what we are but who we are. Michael Cart
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Library Binding: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (May 9, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375932909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375932908
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,365,280 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A book that pulls on every heart string in you. It takes you on rides into the lives of people who have been trough hell and back. So much respect and strength for these beautiful people and highly poetic writers. Reommended read!
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Format: Kindle Edition
Amazing! I figured this would be one of those books that I'd give up on and never finish reading. It turned out to be the most fantastic read I've had in a while. This is definitely one for everyone who supports the LGBTQ community. For anyone who thinks they are alone and that no one has ever felt the way you do now give this book a chance. I ended up finding myself and my story several times.
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Format: Paperback
The pieces in this anthology tackle a myriad of topics: coming out, religion, first love, unaccepting parents/peers, religion, supportive parents/peers, the Boy Scouts, the military, religion(!); in a variety of settings: high school, New Your City, college, junior high, Egypt. They are written by young people who fall under the umbrella term "queer," but identify as gay, bi, trans, lesbian, gender-variant, and more. Some of the pieces are positive and affirming, some speak of overcoming unbearable hardship and hate, some end as hopeless as they began. All of them are important and valid, just like the young people who wrote them.

As a collection, The Full Spectrum is ambitious. It strives to present a multitude of experiences and identities, and it does. The mix of guys and girls, trans or not, is great. The mix of topics is also expansive, and given how much religion is mentioned, the mix of opinions on it is also widely variant. Also the mix of poetry, prose, letters, and diary entries was great. I never felt bogged down in too much angsty poetry or journal writing; all was in balance. This mix of writing styles will, hopefully, make this book accessible and attractive to readers of all stripes.

My main problem was with the editing. Some of these pieces are beautiful bits of polished writing. Some of them are not. I imagine this has a lot to do with the state they were in when they were submitted. Many of these pieces were written by young people about the most traumatic periods of their lives! Everything is in their writing and everything is raw. Everything. It is completely understandable that some of them lack polish. These pieces could have used the guidance of a good editor, and it is a shame that they didn't get it.
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Format: Paperback
The Full Spectrum is a series of essays collected from America's young queer voices. In turns hilarious, heartbreaking, intellectual, and artistic, each of the essays (or poems, or pictures) provides a unique window into a small piece of our world and culture. I couldn't put the book down - it's simply fascinating how each writer's voice and experience comes through loud, proud, and clear, without a trace of cliche or "us versus them" politicism.

The queer community is coming to life today in vibrant ways no one could have imagined a decade ago, but the fight isn't over until we can honstly say we're all just people. Getting inside the minds of these authors shows that it really is true.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a fantastic answer to a lot of the older anthologies that I've read. It filled with hope and heartbreak and some really great stories. There's a wonderful variety of voices and identities through this book and it demonstrates some awesome commonalities across them all. The desire to feel accepted and loved and definite hope comes through.

It's a great book to share with someone who might not understand GLBTQ issues and it was very personal and real.

Loved it.
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