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It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, & Creating a Life Worth Living

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The Bottom Line

"It Gets Better" is an important addition to the literature geared towards GLBT youth. While the message found in almost every piece reflects the theme that, while things may be hard now, they will become easier over time, the essays are unique enough to maintain the reader's interest.

Pros

  • An engaging read drawing from a great variety of perspectives.
  • Most authors are not celebrities. Many of the happy adult lives described actually seem attainable.
  • A voice of hope in a world where GLBT youth don't often find openly gay role models.
  • Provides a smooth transition from video to book form.
  • Teens will be able to relate to many of the intensely emotional, painful and empowering essays.

Cons

  • A lot of teens can't wait for things to improve. They need it to be better right now.
  • For some teens, the repeated message that it get's better, might begin to sound hollow.
  • Some of the essays by the biggest names are the least powerful.

Description

  • "It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living," is a book by sex advice columnist, Dan Savage and his DJ husband, Terry Miller.
  • The book grew out of the couple's YouTube project, which was designed to encourage GLBT teens to remember that while they might be enduring serious bullying and misery in high school, turning to suicide would deprive them of the potential to have an awesome life later.
  • The book is mainly compiled of essays based on videos posted to the site. It includes the voices of well-know political figures (opening with an essay by President Barack Obama), celebrities, writers and average individuals with a message to share.

Guide Review - It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, & Creating a Life Worth Living

A lot of insight comes out of the essays in, "It Gets Better," and many of the contributors seem to acutely remember their teen years. Plenty are also able to speak to kids without the condescension that youth can see right through. For example, a comic named Dave Holmes does a good job of reminding teens that while they might not be able to control the homophobes of the world, over time, they will be better able to control how such small minded people affect them. As he says:

"Now, I am not telling you that you are never going to come across someone who judges you for your sexuality. We see this very day...You are going to come across some people who think differently of you because you're gay. I can tell pretty easily when someone is judging me for being gay. And that is a quick and easy way for me to know that I am talking to an idiot, someone who is not worthy of my time or attention, someone who can't come to my party. And, it's a good party, my party; and your party is going to be a really good one, too."

Ultimately, some essays are more powerful than others and plenty will speak to one kid, but not to another. In some ways, however, that's one of the strengths of "It Gets Better." If you are a teen who needs to hear from the President, or a religious leader, or a celebrity, that it is okay to be gay, then you get that. But if you are a teen who just needs to hear that message from someone more relatable, well, you get that as well.

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