I am not Okay with This by author Charles Forsman
There actually are going to be some spoilers in this one but the book is too short to split up the reviews this time. I’ll mark where they start so that you can stop reading if you prefer.
I Am Not Okay With This is a simply drawn graphic novel that has since been turned into a Netflix series. I have not seen the Netflix series, I therefore have no opinion on it or whether it’s better or worse than the book.
That said, judging by the reviews I read of the book a lot of people who like the series really hate the book. That’s not the typical opinion for readers. But I Am Not Okay With This seems to be quite polarizing. I can understand why but first I’m going to break down why a lot of the reviews are hating for the wrong reasons.
The book stars Sydney, a very depressed teenager who happens to have some weird mind control powers. She doesn’t fully understand what they are or how best to use them but she knows that she can cause some physical harm to people just by thinking about it.
The book follows Sydney as she navigates a less than ideal puberty. She experiments with drugs and sex and generally attempts to fill the void she is feeling. Her coping mechanisms are unhealthy but not unrealistic. It’s a fairly honest examination of the most confusing and hormonal years of a person’s life. It may not be a universal experience but whether you like it or not it is an accurate one for many young people.
Now, before I get into spoilers I’ll discuss the one valid complaint I saw of this book. It’s ugly. The drawings are very simple and just ugly. Everybody is ugly to a degree that they look ill. Like hair falling out in clumps ill. The quality of the art is just one notch above stick figures.
In order to discuss the complaints around this book we need to discuss the ending. After a series of truly unfortunate events Sydney decides to use her mental ability to kill herself. She succeeds and the book ends with her.
A lot of the reviews I read seemed to think that because suicide is depicted in this book it’s being glorified. That’s simply not true. No part of this book states that anything Sydney does is the right thing to do. These are the actions of a confused teenager without a strong role model to whom she can turn for help.
Here’s the deal, many teens do commit suicide. Are we supposed to never talk about that in fiction? Are we supposed to ignore all of the bad topics because someone might possibly get the wrong idea? That’s bullshit. Suicide happens. And that’s the ending for this story.
The shock of the abrupt ending also seemed to rub some readers the wrong way. That’s also bullshit. Suicide is impulsive and permanent, this ending makes that clear. It works, I loved the ending.
Another complaint I saw was one that I should really write a whole essay about. Apparently, in this situation, it is inappropriate for a male author to write from a female perspective. The people who make these kinds of complaints cherry pick when to make it and only bring it up when they didn’t like the book. I can also guarantee that those same people aren’t saying that a female author shouldn’t write from a male perspective.
Creativity should never be censored. The author felt the story needed to come from a female perspective and wrote it as such. Authors should never be expected to only write what they know. That’s all of the bullshit that’s ever been shat. I gotta say, I was a depressed bisexual female teenager who had experience with thoughts of suicide, absent fathers, self harm, and substance abuse. The author honestly nailed the experience.
Some of my favorite stories are the most depressing ones. I don’t read upbeat idealized romances for a reason. They’re fake. I Am Not Okay With This may have some supernatural elements but it otherwise rings true. Life is not easy, life is full of pain and torment and awful awful people that you can’t help but fantasize about murdering.
I fall on the liberal side of the spectrum but complaints about this book are why moderates and conservatives hate libs. It’s the cancel culture trigger warning hardcore snowflake types who have never experienced trauma for themselves so they don’t even know how to handle it when they see it in a book.
I initially was going to give this book 4 stars but felt the need to bump it 5, mostly out of spite. I’d love for you to read it and argue with me about it. I think everyone is going to have a strong opinion about this one.
5/5 minds blown 🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯
For more Charles Forsman check out The End of the Fucking World
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