Sunday, June 5, 2016

Being Jazz by Jazz Jennings

Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen 
by Jazz Jennings

Released: June 7, 2016
Publisher: Crown (Imprint of Penguin Random House)
Page Amount: 272, ARC
POV: 1st Person (Jazz)
Genre: Memoir
Buy it here: Barnes & NobleAmazon

This review is based on an advance reader copy that I picked up at BookExpo America. All thoughts expressed in this review are my own.


Jazz Jennings is one of the youngest and most prominent voices in the national discussion about gender identity. At the age of five, Jazz transitioned to life as a girl, with the support of her parents. A year later, her parents allowed her to share her incredible journey in her first Barbara Walters interview, aired at a time when the public was much less knowledgeable or accepting of the transgender community. This groundbreaking interview was followed over the years by other high-profile interviews, a documentary, the launch of her YouTube channel, a picture book, and her own reality TV series "I Am Jazz" making her one of the most recognizable activists for transgender teens, children, and adults. In her remarkable memoir, Jazz reflects on these very public experiences and how they have helped shape the mainstream attitude toward the transgender community. But it hasn t all been easy. Jazz has faced many challenges, bullying, discrimination, and rejection, yet she perseveres as she educates others about her life as a transgender teen. Through it all, her family has been beside her on this journey, standing together against those who don't understand the true meaning of tolerance and unconditional love. Now Jazz must learn to navigate the physical, social, and emotional upheavals of adolescence particularly high school complicated by the unique challenges of being a transgender teen. Making the journey from girl to woman is never easy especially when you began your life in a boy s body.

This was a book that I picked up on a whim at Book Expo America. Before picking up this book, I had never heard of Jazz Jennings, but I'm really glad I now know who she is. Before reading this book, I binge watched all of the episodes of I Am Jazz. Then, once I finished watching the show, I decided to pick up this book. Seeing as Jazz is only 15 years old, this book is fairly short and doesn't really cover anything unique from the television show. There were a couple chapters that were about the filming process of I Am Jazz and about the start of her activism that weren't covered on the show, but for the most part, the passages on bullying and her transition were identical to the stories I saw on the show. 

Nevertheless, I really enjoyed this book. It was a super fast read, which allowed me to read this book in one sitting. I enjoyed being able to see pictures of Jazz as a child, and I really loved hearing her unique voice narrate her experiences. I also really loved the extra interviews with her siblings, parents, and grandparents that were included at the end of the book. I found it interesting to hear how Jazz's being transgender affected the family as a whole.

All in all, I enjoyed this book, but I think it would be more successful if Jazz waited to write about her life so that she would have more unique experiences to speak about. I was very interested to hear about what its like being a transgender teenager, but I felt like I didn't get to hear much about her emotional journey. This book seems to focus more on Jazz's public life rather than her private struggles. Although this book wasn't entirely what I expected, I will definitely pick up any other books that Jazz writes because of her unique, engaging voice.

My Favorite Part: I loved being able to see how Jazz became famous.

Do I recommend this book? Yes, if you haven't already seen the show I Am Jazz.

Thanks for reading! Please follow and let me know in the comments if you've watched I Am Jazz!

It's a Book Thing
Review by Macy ♥

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