The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson was my first read of 2023 and honestly, I have mixed feelings. I wanted to adore this book. And in truth, I liked it for it’s subject matter, I really did. It’s emotional. It draws you in. But overall, it was marred by a number of factors that weren’t just story-related, although I’ll come to those issues too.
Firstly, the packaging: the cover is under-statedly amazing. It’s so simple but it does the trick. The blue edge guilding (is that what it’s called?) between the pink cover was a nice touch. Unfortunately, though, the paper stock is so thick that I had to crack the spine just to read it (and I hate doing that). Additionally, the use of two separate fonts (one for each of the book’s two POV characters) was wholly unnecessary. I would have been able to follow the story without it and the sans-serif font for Leo’s chapters was often difficult to read. It detracted from my enjoyment.
The story itself is inspirational and heartwarming, even if it’s blighted by a few basic coincidences and some altogether stereotypical side characters (as well as the occasional typo which should have been picked up in edits).
I picked up on the mid-way twist after about a quarter of the book and was disappointed when it finally came.
But all that being said, (and I know I’ve made it sound really negative) I did enjoy the story and David and Leo gelled relatively well together. We definitely need more heartwarming trans stories. It’s absolutely worth the read, but won’t get a re-read from me.
3.75 stars out of 5 (losing out mostly due to production values)