It’s day 2 on the Fierce Ink Press Takeover Week. A quick description of what a ‘Fierce Short’ is before I get started on my review. To quote from the Fierce Ink Press website, “Fierce Shorts are creative non-fiction pieces about all things teen. Love, friends, school, family, fitting in, standing out. For some it’s a trip down memory lane, for others it’s a breath of relief that they aren’t alone.”
Today I’m reviewing Carol Little’s I Used to Think I’d Make a Good Boy, a story that is one of most raw and vulnerable pieces I’ve ever read. Carol Little cuts right to the chase in her first two sentences.
If you want to get right down to it, I fucking hated my childhood. And I hate reflecting on it now.
At first I was taken aback, thinking to myself, it couldn’t have been that bad and then I read on. Raised in Summerside, a small town in PEI, Carol Little quickly learned that looking different or acting different than the norm will result in brutal attacks, both physically and verbally. She’d daydream about what it would be like to be a boy so that she could do “boy things” and how it would then be socially accepted to have feelings for girls. She grew up in a homophobic family and learned to bury any thoughts and feelings she had for girls as this would be morally wrong. She also became really good at “dealing” with the physical abuse she received from her classmates, because she was being shushed anytime she shared with them what was really taking place at school each day.
Learning that she was entirely alone in a town with no friends, family or support, Little became consumed with three thoughts:
1. Running away
2. Wishing she could have been born a boy
While reading these words, I felt so sad for Carol Little. Childhoods are supposed to be filled with ice cream, pyjama parties and staying up past your bedtime, not with feelings like the ones listed above. That being said, these events did transpire and they helped make Carol become the person she is today. Her reluctance to let others into her world is still present today. How could it not be after all the things she had to endure growing up. Although raw and sometimes hard to read, the experiences in which she shares have helped to make her a stronger woman today.
There’s a part in I Used to Think I’d Make a Good Boy where she wishes that she could forget the past, somehow erase it from her memory and just move on. As a reader, you can sense that she didn’t accept to write this piece of work easily. Drudging up those feelings of anger, hatred and resentment wouldn’t be an easy thing to do, but it is her story and even though it’s a hard one to recall, it matters.
Your childhood is a part of who you are, but it doesn’t have to define you.
Please take the time to add this haunting, yet beautiful piece of work with all your friends and family. You can purchase a copy for your eReader here.
Drop by tomorrow when I’ll be reviewing Cheating at the End of the World by Corey Redekop.
My thanks to Fierce Ink Press for allowing me the opportunity to read and review I Used to Think I’d Make a Good Boy by Carol Little.