L. Ni­chols, Se­cret Acres (SEPTEM­BER) Soft­cover $21.95 (332pp) 978-0-9991935-2-5

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight Reviews Graphic Novels -

In the re­veal­ing and hon­est Flocks, L. Ni­chols of­fers a unique, in­tel­li­gent per­spec­tive on find­ing one’s niche, overcoming con­fu­sion over sex­ual iden­tity, and rec­on­cil­ing one­self to a well-mean­ing but rigidly tra­di­tional re­li­gious fam­ily.

The book’s ti­tle refers to the groups of sim­i­lar peo­ple that young peo­ple iden­tify with as they work to forge their own iden­ti­ties. For Ni­chols, who grew up in a South­ern Bap­tist com­mu­nity, the pri­mary group was the church. As vividly shown in the book, he made many at­tempts to bury his per­sonal un­cer­tainty by be­com­ing fully im­mersed—lit­er­ally, through bap­tism, and fig­u­ra­tively, as an ea­ger and de­voted mem­ber. But Ni­chols ran with other flocks too, tak­ing ad­van­tage of aca­demic op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­pand his hori­zons sig­nif­i­cantly.

Ni­chols charts a course of self-dis­cov­ery—a wind­ing path strewn with haz­ards but al­ways lit by fierce in­tel­li­gence. Ni­chols fi­nally iden­ti­fies as a trans man; as mon­u­men­tal as that self-re­al­iza­tion is, Flocks is much more than just one per­son’s story. Ni­chols han­dles both his par­ents and the church with depth and un­blink­ing anal­y­sis, rec­og­niz­ing that each, though flawed, con­trib­uted pos­i­tively to the cre­ation of the happy, suc­cess­ful fa­ther that he is to­day.

Ni­chols is an ef­fec­tive sto­ry­teller, and though the mes­sage of per­sonal con­fu­sion can seem repet­i­tive at times, there are cre­ative touches that make the book more than a typ­i­cal, nar­ra­tive-based mem­oir. They in­clude the de­pic­tion of Ni­chols as a rag doll with but­ton eyes through­out the book, as well as sev­eral il­lus­tra­tions that make use of sci­en­tific and tech­ni­cal draw­ing skills, with graphs and for­mu­las em­pha­siz­ing his emo­tional dis­tance from other peo­ple. Flocks is a gen­er­ous glimpse into the most per­sonal of is­sues, shared by an au­thor who knows how to look at a sit­u­a­tion from ev­ery an­gle.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.