Member Reviews

Thanks Netgalley for allowing me to read this book. This book made me take a deep dive into my personal life. It made me look at things differently and from other perspectives.

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In a series of letters to everyone from chosen ancestors to those whom abused her, Kai Cheng Thom reclaims her humanity, resilience and capacity to love. These letters start out in heart-wrenching-ly beautiful ways, particularly those dedicated to other trans femmes. Thom writes with assertion, unafraid to recount the most difficult details of survival in the effort towards healing. Moving from a space of empathy, she demonstrates what it means to approach everyone with love and how that makes space to hold your own humanness with gentle hands. She writes, “i am the courageous part of love,” and it was the most true statement of the book for me. Between each letter is a prompt for journaling or reflecting, some which really resonated. Overall, I recommend this book, particularly for folks working through feeling their emotions, loving, learning forgiveness. Kai Cheng Thom writes to and for the aliveness and thrivance of trans femmes, and I wish this book reaches as many young adults who need these words.

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This book took my breath away. Tender and heartfelt and stunning and devastating - full of love and rage and kindness and compassion. It defies genres, and defies simple explanation, this was a grand project, and an impactful one. The letters are poems are stories are prose are essays are calls to action are manifesto. Kai Cheng Thom puts words together beautifully. She makes magic, and I am so grateful for the chance to have read her words.

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What a beautiful book. These letters (poetry) will definitely make you think, feel, laugh, cry, grieve, and grow. While I'm not particularly a fan of all of the religious language, it is something important to Kai, and is a key part to these stories. This is a book that should be read at a slow pace, not quickly in one sitting. Not all of the letters made sense, or really went together, but there were quite a few passages that I highlighted to keep for a later day. Some of the sentences were a real gut punch of emotion. This is definitely a book that I will come back to again in the future to reread. Thank you Kai for sharing your stories, your life, and your words with us.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a digital ARC of this book.

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Kai Cheng Thom, in a series of letters, takes us on a journey of trans grief, resistance, and joy. They weave poetry with compassion, often writing to those who have caused harm to Kai and their community.

Some of the standouts for me were: to the ones who didn’t cry, to a trans femme of color child from a trans femme of color ancestor, to the deathwalkers, to the trans exclusionary radical feminists, and to J.K. Rowling (the latter was the most compassionate and loving letter to J.K. on the subject I’ve ever read. I hope it gets to her and moves her cells in the way it did mine.)

Overall, the book felt a bit disjointed. Some of the essays I underlined and read aloud to my partner, tears in my eyes — while others did not have the same impact. The call to action between each poem or letter I could see being enjoyable for some, it just did not do it for me.

Kai Cheng Thom, thank you for this beautiful compassionate peace. We can all stand to learn from your capacity to love and to offer forgiveness.

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4.5 stars, rounded up.

there are lines, paragraphs, letters in this book that i had to screenshot and share with people immediately, ways that it helped me think and imagine that have changed me and that i will think about for a long time. it's the kind of book that, while i was reading it, i was already imagining getting tattoos of some of the imagery because i know that being reminded of it all the time will make me better.

and. it's not all like that. this book was short, but uneven. the great parts were transcendent. the other parts ranged from fine to really good.

i want you to read this. i want you to read it as soon as it comes out. i think this book will be the first e-ARC that i ever buy a physical copy of, because it's the kind i want to keep on my nightstand. let's talk about the parts that really got you once you read it, please.

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This is an absolutely stunning collection of self-love letters by a poet seeking to understand what it means to be human in a fast-changing world. Kai Cheng Thom's writing is life-affirming, evocative, and healing in so many ways. This is a book that you finish and then immediately flip back to page one to read again. It's exactly the book we all need in 2023.

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While I adored Kai Cheng Thorn’s ‘Fierce Femmes’ I don’t think this collection of letters meshed for me stylistically. The letters are beautiful and evoke such a depth of emotion - I found myself tearing up reading some of them. However, as a whole, I found myself held back from enjoyment because of grammatical choices and my overall difficulty with engaging with poetry (which, I would argue, this could be seen as! Which is fine! But not for me.)

This will be an incredible read for those seeking meditative and inspiring, poetic, prose. The compassion Thom leads with is powerful and the nuance they seek to represent is plainly shown. I appreciated the practices encouraged between each letter and this others will find a lot of space for self reflection and growth.

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I’m not sure that I have all the words I need to properly review this book.

It is absolutely gorgeous. I’ve only read one other book by Kai Cheng Thom and it was her fairly weird Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars. Falling Back in Love With Being Human is very, very different to that one, to the point that you can’t really compare them.

This book is a collection of letters, written to all sorts of people. There are letters to herself as a child, to johns (she previously worked as a sex worker), to TERFs, to the Animorphs, and many more. Thom is a trans woman and regardless of who she is writing letters to (including the transphobic author who shall not be named), her kindness and love shine so brightly through. These letters are absolutely beautiful, even when they are sad or tough to read, they are so beautiful. Also, at the end of each letter is a small action the author is asking you to take. They are more about reflecting on your own thoughts and actions, as opposed to going out into the streets to take action. They are both thoughtful and thought provoking and they really add to the overall feel of the book. I love them.

I highly recommend this book. It is a gentle and lovely read, and I think the title pretty much perfectly captures what the book is about and how it will make you feel.

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Thank you Netgalley for a digital copy in exchange of an honest review. Since I read the blurb I wanted to read the books and was so happy to have been offered an arc.

‘Falling back in love with being human by Kai Cheng Thom is a collection of essays where she shares her observations, hopes, disappointments and dreams. This collection was written in the midst of Covid-19 pandemic and you can feel the poignancy of these times reflected in the essays. These essays will make you laugh, cry, reflect but above all, keep hope.
I only read a little at a time because I didn’t want it to end. I’ll probably be getting a physical copy of this book once it comes out and highly recommend it.

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Absolutely stunning, which is pretty standard for Kai Cheng Thom. This is one to savor, not binge.

I especially loved "to the compulsive caregivers," "to the johns," "to the ones who watched," "to the Animorphs" and "to the sidekicks"

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Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC copy of this book. Kai Cheng has such a tender and compassionate approach to humanity. I've worked with her personally in a handful of professional settings, and she is just as lyrical and invitational in person as she is in this book of love letters.

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DNF at 31%. I liked the positive, inclusive tone of this book, but it just wasn't for me. I found it too repetitive. I'm probably the wrong audience for it.

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for providing this ARC. All thoughts are my own.

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Some of these poems/letters were really fantastic, others did not stand out as much. (For example, I just don't consider a page with "I forgive you" written on it over and over again to be interesting in any way. Sorry.) My favorites were "to the church of social justice", "to the johns", and "to the goddess of whores and all her children." They were really thought-provoking and beautiful. Overall I think Thom really shines in her use of extended metaphors and allegory. In other letters, I felt like some of the language used sounded pretty and poetic but didn't actually mean much, which got boring. The book also got repetitive at times. All in all, still a lovely read that I think would be meaningful to people interested in social justice and communities of care.

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"Falling Back in Love with Being Human" is a collection of introspective, poetic letters to various figures and aspects of self, interspersed with reflective journal prompts. Kai Cheng Thom explores the complexities of identity in a way that is approachable and beautiful, and, at points, heartrending. This was a lovely, powerful read that could be read quickly or savored over time!

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I first read Kai Cheng Thom's A Trans Girl's Notes from the End of the World and this is where I first fell in love with her writing. As a Chinese transgender femme I deeply admired her ability to speak to the overall goodness in humanity despite the painful experiences she has encountered during her lived experience. What makes Kai's work stand out is the range of personal and professional observation of humanity she brings to her writing. Kai has done so much work in the world towards helping others heal and healing herself as a former activist, sex worker, psychotherapist and spiritual healer.

The collection of letters in Falling Back in Love with Being Human were all written during the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kai writes: "I wrote my way through the question: What happens when we imagine loving the people-and the parts of ourselves- that we do not believe are worthy of love? What emerged was a series of love letters to unexpected people and places."

This collection reads like a stream of consciousness where Kai is sharing her observations, hopes, disappointments, questions, and what she believes to be potential answers to deep suffering in life. I loved the poetic language of her letters and the way she is able to speak to the political and harmful while still centering gentleness and the beauty we find in meaning meaning.

Thank you so much to the author and publisher for the e-arc copy! I cannot wait to have a physical copy of this one in my hands!

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4.3/5 stars -- My poetry rating system admittedly sucks but this isn't exactly, technically poetry, and that worked in it's favor for me. <i>falling back in love with being human</i> reads both like a memoir and a self help book, but is more literally a bunch of letters about forgiveness, growth, and what it means to be a human. these letters are for everyone- they are written to the reader of the book, to sex workers, to terfs, to the animorphs. they are written to varying, incredibly specific audiences, but they are also for everyone, in that kai cheng thom has things to say to them that will surprise you, touch you, and make you think. in the end this work is a celebration of the goodness that lives in every person (even the ones who seem like the worst), and that's pretty darn beautiful. there were a few instances where the writing got a bit repetitive (and not in a way that seemed intentional), but more often there were quotes that I was highlighting, wanting to hold on to. it was a quick read, and I especially love that after each letter is a little self-reflection or self-care homework assignment, if you will.

Writing: 4/5
Enjoyment of subject/ideas: 4/5
Aesthetic: 5/5

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