Brave Face

Brave Face

Critically acclaimed author of We Are the Ants—described as having “hints of Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five” (School Library Journal)—opens up about what led to an attempted suicide in his teens, and his path back from the experience.“I wasn’t depressed because I was gay. I was depressed and gay.”Shaun David Hutchinson was nineteen. Confused. Struggling to find the vocabul...

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Title:Brave Face
Author:Shaun David Hutchinson
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Brave Face Reviews

  • Kai

    full review to come

  • Sam Miller

    So. F*cking. Good.

  • DonationWayne

    I don’t really know how to write a review for a memoir other to say it was a lot of things very important for me to hear. I grew up in a younger generation, one who had more access to the internet, to media and in general gay content. I cried when he described his feelings while going to see Beautiful Thing, the fear the worry he would be seen by someone he knows as I experienced the same thing with Love, Simon. I ached as he described suicidal ideation and self harm, because I’ve been there too

    I don’t really know how to write a review for a memoir other to say it was a lot of things very important for me to hear. I grew up in a younger generation, one who had more access to the internet, to media and in general gay content. I cried when he described his feelings while going to see Beautiful Thing, the fear the worry he would be seen by someone he knows as I experienced the same thing with Love, Simon. I ached as he described suicidal ideation and self harm, because I’ve been there too. I don’t have much to say other thank you for sharing your life with us, at your high points and low points.

    Please heed the trigger warnings and take breaks if you need to, but it’s a very important listen. Check it out if your mentally in a place where it’s possible.

    --

    Edit:

    After reading Brave Face had the inexplicable urge to come out to a few people around me I'm close to. My sister and my best friend. This book changed my entirely life, and gave me the courage to live more authentically in front of the people I care about and the people who care about me. I just want to thank Shaun again for sharing his story, because I don't know if I would have had the courage to do so otherwise, at least not yet.

  • anna (readingpeaches)

    it feels utterly ridiculous to rate a memoir but still, i'm just really grateful to shaun for being brave enough to share his story with us. we need it. lgbt youth growing up & figuring themselves out need it.

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  • Christy

    A resounding message of IT GETS BETTER. I so appreciate Shaun sharing his experiences.

  • Anniek

    If you, like me, mainly read fiction, you might have read your fair share of LGBTQ+ books, but won’t have read much about the queer people who actually wrote those books. And of course, fiction has huge value in capturing human experience. But reading about someone’s actual reality is a different kind of experience.

    I don’t read memoirs a lot, but I read a few of Shaun David Hutchinson’s books recently and really loved those, so when I saw he had a memoir coming out, I knew I had to read it. And

    If you, like me, mainly read fiction, you might have read your fair share of LGBTQ+ books, but won’t have read much about the queer people who actually wrote those books. And of course, fiction has huge value in capturing human experience. But reading about someone’s actual reality is a different kind of experience.

    I don’t read memoirs a lot, but I read a few of Shaun David Hutchinson’s books recently and really loved those, so when I saw he had a memoir coming out, I knew I had to read it. And I’m very glad I did. Because his memoir shows a very different type of representation. A more honest, less polished type. At times this book felt almost invasive to read because of how brutally honest it was. It must have taken a lot of courage to write a book like this, and then publish it and allow others to read (and, inevitably, judge it, and you). I can only applaud the author for that.

    People are ultimately flawed, and growing up is not all rainbows and unicorns in general, and even less so if you struggle with, in this case, your sexuality and mental health. And Hutchinson really didn’t shy away from that. Instead, he embraced it, and I thought it was so powerful how he talked about his own flawed views as a teen, and the mistakes he’s made along the way.

    At the same time, this book is so well-written and profound. Hutchinson is such a skilled writer, and the writing style really adds to this book’s impact.

    Something I really appreciated, is how explicit content warnings are added to the book: one at the start, and one somewhere in the middle, to alert the reader to a discussion of attempted suicide. In the second content warning, the reader is even referred to a page number to indicate where it’s safe to continue reading again. To be honest, adding content warnings should be standard in publishing, but the reality is that it’s not, and it was so well done here. I sincerely hope other authors/publishers pick up on this example.

    CWs: attempted suicide, hospital, (internalized) homophobia, homophobic slurs, self harm, bullying

  • Dylan

    January 25th, 2019:

    Wowowowowowwowowowow is this book important.

    It was pretty surreal reading so in depth about Shaun's life considering he's my favorite author of all time and I can now consider him a friend.

    I always have a hard time reviewing memoirs because it's someone's life, but I will say that while it is an important read, it could also me incredibly triggering. I plan to mark in this review where the specific things are mentioned in the book, soon, but just know that this goes into gre

    January 25th, 2019:

    Wowowowowowwowowowow is this book important.

    It was pretty surreal reading so in depth about Shaun's life considering he's my favorite author of all time and I can now consider him a friend.

    I always have a hard time reviewing memoirs because it's someone's life, but I will say that while it is an important read, it could also me incredibly triggering. I plan to mark in this review where the specific things are mentioned in the book, soon, but just know that this goes into great detail about suicide, depression, self harm, anxiety, and queerphobia.

    *There is no rating because I always feel odd about rating memoirs. Just know that I really enjoyed this.

    March 20th, 2018:

    I had the absolute pleasure of announcing this book (which can be found here:

    ) so of course i can't wait till everyone can read it!!

  • Circe

    I wanna read this more than do my thesis.

    I know it shouldn't have been easy to write this book and more because is his own memoir book, so I wanna say: Thank you so much Shaun for writing. I don't have words to describe how much you have help me with your books.

    --

  • Circe

    I wanna read this more than do my thesis.

    I know it shouldn't have been easy to write this book and more because is his own memoir book, so I wanna say: Thank you so much Shaun for writing. I don't have words to describe

  • Kelly

    The thing I appreciate about books dealing with any challenging aspects of growing up or being a person in the world -- and in Shaun's case, being gay and having depression -- is when they don't end on a happy note, but end on the fact that being OKAY is the goal. That finding a space to be OKAY is the challenge and the work done to manage life on realistic terms. This book does that.

    There are trigger warnings throughout, as this book delves into life with depression, suicide ideation and an att

    The thing I appreciate about books dealing with any challenging aspects of growing up or being a person in the world -- and in Shaun's case, being gay and having depression -- is when they don't end on a happy note, but end on the fact that being OKAY is the goal. That finding a space to be OKAY is the challenge and the work done to manage life on realistic terms. This book does that.

    There are trigger warnings throughout, as this book delves into life with depression, suicide ideation and an attempt, as well as what life is like being gay and not having a strong sense of self and acceptance, in part because the world around you offers none of the role models you deserve to see. Shaun doesn't shy away from sharing some of the poor decisions he made or the behaviors he engaged in that don't put him in a great light, but those are real, and they're raw, and they're honest and vulnerable and the kinds of things that young people will see and understand and appreciate.

    A compelling, moving, powerful read from an author who leans into his imperfections as a young person, while being realistic that being brave isn't a requirement of being a person and sometimes, things suck and are hard and yet, they can and do improve....and finding that space to be OKAY? It can happen, will happen, even if it takes time. And it's also okay to be frustrated by that.

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