I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver
fulfills the prompt “Book
by a Trans or Nonbinary Author” for the PopSugar 2020 Reading Challenge. I was
a little lost for the category and asked for help. One of my writer
friends, Tib, recommended this title, and I cannot thank them enough. I loved the
book. It made me cry so many times.
The novel depicts the story of a young person, Ben De
Backer, revealing to their parents they are nonbinary. The parents promptly
kick their child out into the cold on a winter night without shoes. My
mama-bear senses bristled right from the start. Luckily, Ben has an older
sister they can turn to for help. With a new home, a new school (they are
eighteen and finishing high school), and new friends, Ben starts a long journey
of healing, acceptance, and possibilities.
I’m not doing this story justice. It’s a coming-out story, it’s a
growth story, it’s a redemption story, it’s a “learning to see the world as it
is” story, and there’s some romance in there too. There’s so much to talk about
I could write a thesis, but I won’t. I know you hate when I do that. But here
are some of my big thoughts on this amazing book.
I live in the Northeast and am pretty liberal in my
thinking. People are people. I don’t
care who they love. Just be nice and treat others nice is my philosophy. When a
friend came out to me in college, I said, “So?” He hugged me hard. I have no
problem accepting, but other people do.
told my own children many times the cure for hate, racism, and homophobia is
love. When you love someone who is a different race, religion, creed,
sexuality, gender (in all its forms), you accept better. You love them. You see
the issue as a person, not an abstract. And then the hate doesn’t make sense
anymore. They are still the same person you loved before they came out. Love
them for the person they are, not who you want them to be. I’d be one of those
older women at Pride with an “If your parents don’t accept you, I’m your mom
I saw some info that Mx. Deaver wrote a book that
they would’ve liked to have around when they were a struggling teen. I’m so
glad they put this story into the world. Because they tell the tale in first
person, present tense, the reader is in the middle of the action. They feel all
the emotions that Ben does. We experience their struggle over so much more than
the issues with parents. It’s
school, friends, identity, and a big crush too. All the things teens deal with,
but Ben must face abandonment and mental health issues too. As I read the book,
I thought of the kids who have no support or poor support for their issues.
Today, there’s more freedom for everyone to be who they are, but that doesn’t
mean it’s easy to declare it to a judgmental public. I was glad the book
included mental health and seeing someone to talk about depression and anxiety.
Those two conditions are rampant in today’s youth. The book showed it was okay
to ask for help.
I loved the romantic element too. Ben is such a sweet
character, and we feel for them in deep ways. When they crush on Nathan, all we
want is for Ben to finally declare their feelings and tell the boy. Just having
the crush, brings up issues of sexuality beyond gender. I think that Mx. Deaver
did a wonderful job illustrating Ben’s
trouble with the situation. Having Ben work through the crush showed the reader
the reality that is being young, nonbinary, and in love with your best friend.
I know it would never happen, but this book would be a
fantastic choice for a high school English class. Conservatives would probably
ban it, but so many teens could learn and enjoy this story.
I give I Wish
You All the Best by Mason Deaver Five Paintings All in Yellow.