Cover Image: The Times I Knew I Was Gay

The Times I Knew I Was Gay

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Member Reviews

I really wanted to like this book but unfortunately I could not get into it. I do not think this was the one for me. The premise was super interesting, but towards the end to me it just fell apart.
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This was a great graphic memoir about the struggles of identity in a heteronormative world. Questioning your sexuality is hard when there is a perceived default that everyone should fall in and I feel like Crewes captured that perfectly in her illustrations and commentary. I really appreciated her story and know that many young people will benefit from this memoir being out there and will be able to relate to Crewes story.
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A lovely exploration of what it means to discover oneself in a world that is not often keen about finding out who you really are. What I liked about this one was the art - it was simple and not busy, but still conveyed very clearly the dynamics of emotion and dialogue.
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I loved this story. It felt so real and relatable to not only my queer experience, but so many of the ones I've heard of.
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I was unable to finish this in time before it expired but from the part I read I loved the art and it was a great story. I fully plan to check this out from my library, since we have purchased it and fully devote my attention to it. Great book from the first 20 pages!
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The entire experience of reading The Times I Knew I Was Gay felt like peeking into someone's diary comic. Charming artwork with fluid lines and just enough details. This book is humorous and very relatable. In my own head I changed the name to "All The Times I SHOULD Have Known I Was Gay".
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This book was super squee! The way Crewes tells her story feels like she's your friend, telling you her story over tea. Coming out is not something I've experienced, but Crewes makes it relatable. I was so happy when she finally came out to herself, and accepted who she was. My favorite part was the author picture in the back, because she just looks so happy! I know the reality is that a lot of people don't have a happy coming out story. I know that not everyone has the supportive family and friends she had, and I hope this will change. I hope that humans can stop finding arbitrary reasons to hate and be mean to each other. In the meantime, we have sweet, inspirational memoirs like this, and that's wonderful.
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I was unable to read this book on any of my devices with any clarity.  It seems to have downloaded in a manner that was not linear.  It jumped from one random page to another.  I hope it was my devices or me but there was no narrative line at all and I had to infer what it was saying.  The pages were numbered but not in order.  I am hoping that was not intentional.  I think I would have really liked this book if I could have read it the way I think it was written.  I also think it would be a terrific title for a teen collection but I had so much difficulty trying to make sense of it that I finally gave up.  The pages showed up split, too.  Too bad.  I would really have liked to read this to see if it was as good as I thought it was.  I'm giving this 4 stars in hopes that it was as good as I think.
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I loved the simple illustrations! Crewes makes her journey really relatable, sweet, and hopeful. I'm excited to share this memoir with both teens and adults.
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I enjoyed this sweet, gentle 90s coming out and coming of age story. I really connected with the character's confusion, but I think a lot of people will find the diary-style writing a bit disjointed and not super catchy from the start. I think this is the perfect sort of slow, dreamy wondering that captures the kind of tween/teen/young adult ennui that lots of us queer folk experienced.
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A really thoughtful, realistic narrative of coming out - both to oneself and the world. I would recommend for young adults and teens comfortable with the topic of sex.
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I really, really wanted to enjoy this book but there was just something about it that I couldn't get into. More than anything it's not the kind of art style that I usually prefer in graphic novels so I was somewhat lost from the beginning. Then I just found the narrator to be a bit insufferable.
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I always enjoy titles like this because it is nice to read about the variety of ways people figure out their sexuality. It is good to see that there is no one way to be gay and to figure it out, which is an important thing that I want to make sure the patrons can see for themselves. I also liked it because its art and story were so simple and quick to read. I liked being able to speed through it. I didn't want to stop reading it.
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Eleanor Crewes has a style very reminiscent of Noelle Stevenson, back when she was simply known as "gingerhazing" and drew fan comics about Thranduil being the Elven King of Parties and embarrassing his son, Legolas, in front of his new college bro friends, particularly Gimli. All of this is really to say, it brought me back to a different time in my life. A time where I was a young, queer university student reading webcomics and having a whole lot of anxiety. I saw a lot of myself in Eleanor. We dressed similarly in university, had similar interests; it's easy to relate to her. I was engaged very easily.

The delivery here is just effortless, even though logically we know it must have been somewhat painstaking. Eleanor feels like your friend or your sister, telling you her story of how she slowly came to the realization that she's gay. The art is stylish and matches the effortless voice of the narrative. There are a lot of coming out narratives, but they are overwhelmingly shadowed by "I knew since I was a child that I was not straight" or "I figured it out in adolescence but had to hide it for my survival in a hostile environment" or "I came to the realization and came out to all my loved ones, most of whom accept me and even told me that they've known for the majority of my life but never said anything." Rarely do we get to hear the fleshed out story of someone who just didn't question why they were never as enthusiastic about relationships with the opposite sex and how "coming out" is a process. As queer people, we're kind of constantly coming out in different facets of our lives to varying degrees but rarely will you get a story about that; nevermind one that can really engage young readers who might be questioning themselves right now. Moreso, it talks about how the realization can be gradual over a long period of time. We are so indoctrinated into heteronormative culture that many young people don't question if they even feel attraction to people of any gender really; most of us just went on dating the people of the gender that wasn't our own. I think for young women/femmes this is particularly true. Eleanor really makes this just so easy to follow and engaging the whole way through. I definitely know a lot of people who also could identify with this story.
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A wonderful way to spend an afternoon - Eleanor is kind to her younger self, and I loved the references to pop culture and how they shaped her view of herself.
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I absolutely adored this book. I wish past me could have had this book, and I'm so happy for all the people who get to have this book in their life as they work towards coming out! A wonderful queer memoir!
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An autobiographical comic following Eleanor as she realizes and accepts that she is gay. Crewes artwork is fantastic. Her story tore at my heart but also hit home in ways I didn't realize until I read it. The Times I Knew I Was Gay is a story that everyone should read, it's a great perspective told with humor and love.
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Today is National Coming Out Day and I'm excited to share this amazing graphic memoir by @ellistrates. 

This story about the author's exploration of her sexuality is funny, honest, poignant and enlightening. I love how she shows how coming out  isn't a one-time thing but a constant part of the lives of anyone who's LGBTQ+ - for Ellie, it started with coming out to herself and has continued for years. I rooted for her to find love and self-acceptance and her emotional journey is evident in every frame of this book. I laughed, I cried and I learned from The Times I Knew I Was Gay and though I'm straight and cis, as an ally I highly recommend it!

Thanks to NetGalley, Scribner Books and the author for an advanced copy to review.
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note: I received The Times I Knew I Was Gay as an e-arc from the publisher.

cw for the book: lesbophobia, use of the d slur, disordered eating. body image issues

cw for the article: discussions of lesbophobia

I didn’t realize I was a lesbian until the summer before my junior year of high school. I was 16 (but calling myself almost 17), and at that point, there was still  hope in my family that I might one day get a boyfriend. (Three years later, it’s quietly accepted that if they asked about my relationships they might get an answer they won’t like by all but the youngest members of my family.) A running joke for my entire high school career up until that point was that, well, I was lesbian and one of my best friends was a gay man. And this joke continued no matter how many times I told my friends I ID’d as bi. But beyond the fact that seemingly everyone I met thought I was a lesbian, I had never even considered it.

That changed that summer. About a month before I realized I was a lesbian, a certain author wrote an essay saying that a certain character couldn’t be a lesbian since that would be a harmful stereotype. Now, I’m a bit ashamed to admit this, but I was still active on Tumblr back then (which would stop soon after I came out on there as a lesbian and realized how unfriendly that website was to lesbians), and I saw the hurt this caused lesbians at the time. More importantly, the conversation afterwards introduced me to a term I’d never heard before: comphet or compulsory heterosexuality. 

I won’t be defining the term here. Because what matters is that I learned about the term. I read academic sources on it. I read firsthand accounts of it. (I never did read the Sacred Texts.) What matters is that I dug and dug and read and read about experiences that felt closer and closer to my own. What matters is that something finally clicked, and I found an identity that fit me.

Reading the Times I Knew I Was Gay by Eleanor Crewes, a graphic memoir about Crewes own lesbian discovery process, I was brought back to then. My experiences echoed the ones shown in the book and I felt seen in a way that only two books (both, coincidentally, 2020 releases just like The Times I Was Gay) before had made me feel. It was a cathartic feeling. And it was a bittersweet feeling too.

Drawing on her own experiences, Crewes touches on the ways that we can latch onto characters and those characters tendency to end up being a lesbian or bi with Crewes obsession with Willow from Buffy the Lesbian Slayer. She touches on the way that lesbians just pick a boy to a crush on when we are younger or, when we are older, how we pick men to be attracted to. She touches on the ways that even if we decide that we ‘like’ a man, we look for ways to pick them apart and the smallest things turn us off them. She touches on the way that lesbians always feel a little different from our peers in a way we can’t really reconcile. She touches on the ways we are expected to change ourselves and hide who we are in order to fit in.

And it’s all painfully relatable. And it’s like a warm mug of coffee on a cold, autumn day. And it felt like an acknowledgement that what I’ve experienced is normal, at least to a small group of people.

I imagined, vividly, how having this book to read when I was a young teen or even a kid would’ve helped. No matter the technical issues I had with the art style, this was a book that spoke to me, reflected myself back at me in a way only another lesbian could do. And that’s powerful. And that would’ve helped me immensely if I had been given this when I was questioning.

It’s something I think about often but even in 2017, no resources on lesbianism were particularly available to me. I had to dig for them. I had to find them myself. It’s not like I was a stranger to the LGBTQ+ community when I first thought I might be a lesbian. For five years, since I was 11, I knew I belonged in the community. I had seen countless resources over the years but never about realizing you are a lesbian, about picking apart the ways society tell people raised as girls that they like men.

And I know I realized I was a lesbian when I was young, that I realized I wasn’t straight even younger but I think there’s something tragic in the fact I lost spent so many years with only a partial understanding of who I am. I hope,  I desperately hope, that a book the Times I Knew I Was Gay can help lesbians discover who we are without having to read theory and actively learn to dismantle the ways we have been taught to conceive of womanhood all on their own. I hope it can make them feel a little less alone in this incredibly isolating process. I hope it gives them something to point to and say “Yeah that’s what how I feel” and use it to point themselves in the right direction.

That, I think, is the value of lesbian memoirs and lesbians sharing their experiences in general. They have the power to make us feel less alone. They have the power to show us things about ourselves we might not even realize. They have the power to push us towards the community we will find a home in.

buy the book*: https://bookshop.org/a/13798/9781982147105

*this is an affiliate link. I will earn a small commission if you use it.
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This book was honest, funny, quirky, moving, relatable, just all of the things really. If you are gay, bisexual, queer, or even just someone who has ever felt a moment of self realization I think it will be easy to see yourself in a part of this book. Everyone should give this read a chance!
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