These sort of books I both seek out and find spontaneously, but for the one that I’m going to discuss, I ended up reading it by accident. I hadn’t really heard of the book in any large sense prior to reading it and had really managed to get ahold of a copy entirely by accident.
And boy, was this a wonderful accident. Secondhand Origin Stories by Lee Blauersouth is not the best book I’ve ever read, but it is an exceptionally good one. This is the first book, in my entire life, in which I have come across Xe, Xyr pronouns used in a novel. And it threw me, not because I was bothered in any way, but because this was the first—and remains the only—time I’ve ever read a book that used them for a character.
I really enjoyed the story, on a separate level. It was good and interesting enough to keep me reading. But there was something actually life-changing about the experience of reading a book where these pronouns are being used. I cannot begin to express how much this shocked me. And I spent a great deal of time utterly baffled at how unaware I had been previously.
Never once had I really thought that this was something we needed to see more often in books, not because I don’t believe it’s important—I very much do—but rather because my experiences in life had never really opened me to those sort of thoughts. And I will forever be exceedingly grateful to Blauersouth and her novel for this experience that has introduced me to a world in which I have a new understanding for the need this world has to be more inclusive where gender is concerned.
I’m twenty-five years old. It took twenty-five years for me to be exposed to different gender pronouns in a fiction novel. I want to see a future in which it doesn’t take twenty-five years for readers to have this sort of exposure, to see and understand a little more about those who use Xe, Xyr, Xim pronouns, and for those who identify in such a way to see characters in novels that represent them.
We need more books like this. Plain and simple.
I hope you’re all having a fantastic 24in48! I’m coming up on my 14th hour soon, having gotten off to an amazing start and with short naps in between. If you haven’t joined in, I believe there’s still some time and believe me, it’s a Readathon well worth participating in!