The Gender Games – book review

I’m just a girl standing in front of a book, asking it to love her. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Either way, this week’s lucky suitor is The Gender Games, a brilliantly breezy and yet incredibly informative and thought-provoking read that combines memoir, medical research and cultural criticism into a useful resource for anyone looking to better understand trans experiences.


Kiss, marry, or kill? 👰 SURPRISE, WE’VE ALREADY ELOPED.
My type? Defo my kind of non-fiction: A page-turning story rooted in personal experience with lots of top-notch research to ground it.
“Easy” read? Yesss, I flew through this and really enjoyed the trip. Dawson has always been a really engaging writer, and the book has a lot in common in terms of voice with her regular Glamour column.
Love at first line? Very much so.
Most attractive trait? Dawson’s honesty and personal touch gave this book such a wonderful urgency. It’s like she’s sitting in the room with you, talking through her experiences and beliefs.
Character I’d swipe right on? Would 100% go for drinks with Juno, obviously.
Character I’d swipe left on? Gender, the villain of the story gets a big fat no from me thanks.
Ideal reading date? I bought myself a signed coy of The Gender Games as a souvenir from this year’s Hay Festival, so I fund myself falling in love with it on the train back – but I think this is one you could, and should, read anywhere.

More on that:

I loved this book, genuinely, and I don’t know there’s much more that needs to be said on the topic. It’s a super engaging and super educational resource that ought to be prominent on shelves in books stores and libraries everywhere. Dawson’s honesty and integrity in telling her own story, whilst simultaneously exploring larger aspects of LGBTQ+ culture – both the joys of being part of the community and the difficulties that come with identifying as not straight and/or not cis – makes for a compelling and informative journey.

And while The Gender Games has been marketed as Dawson’s first book for adults, I do think it’s an important read for her established teenage audience as well, particularly in its clear and unwavering denouncement of the concept of binary gender, a conversation so ripe for the picking in present times.

The book is a perfect continuation of Dawson’s Glamour UK column, and if you’re not a follower of it already, it’s worth keeping up with, as is her YA list.

Hardcopy | Ebook | Audiobook

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