Book Review: Allies: Real Talk About Showing Up, Screwing Up, And Trying Again. null
Allies: Real Talk About Showing Up, Screwing Up, And Trying Again. null
This book is for everyone. Because we can all be allies. As an ally, you use your power—no matter how big or small—to support others. You learn, and try, and mess up, and try harder. In this collection of true stories, 17 critically acclaimed and bestselling YA authors get real about being an ally, needing an ally, and showing up for friends and strangers. From raw stories of racism and invisible disability to powerful moments of passing the mic, these authors share their truths. They invite you to think about your own experiences and choices and how to be a better ally. There are no easy answers, but this book helps you ask better questions. Self-reflection prompts, resources, journaling ideas, and further reading suggestions help you find out what you can do. Because we’re all in this together. And we all need allies. A portion of the proceeds from this book goes to supporting charities.
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I was fortunate enough to win Allies: Real Talk About Showing Up, Screwing Up, And Trying Again in a giveaway right before GeekDis started, and it was the perfect book to review regarding intersectionality. The disabled community is the one marginalised community that intersects with every community. Disabled people come in shapes and sizes, faiths, genders and sexualities because disabilities and health conditions do not discriminate. They can happen to anyone at any time. This should mean that we’re also the most accepting community, and many of us are, but sadly becoming disabled doesn’t automatically remove people’s biases. That’s why a book like Allies is an important read for disabled readers just as much as it is for nondisabled readers, and I loved the message of this book; we’re all in this together and yes, we’re going to screw up while we do it, and you’re not alone in doing that.

That was an important theme in the personal essays in this book; screwing up and learning from those mistakes. One that really stuck with me was Brendan Kiely’s essay about owning up to your mistakes and realising that in that moment when you’re making them, you are the bad guy. Even if you have the best of intentions, or you’re a good person, your actions at that moment are bad. That one made me take a very hard look at myself and recognise a few things, and that is what a lot of these personal essays do. However, they’re done in a safe space. There’s no judgement.

The first chapter, a personal essay by co-editor Dana Alison Levy is sarcastically called “Dana’s Absolutely Perfect Fail-Safe No Mistakes Guaranteed Way to Be an Ally” and it’s a brilliant introduction to the book. Dana explains that being an ally is complicated, offers information and her own personal struggles in trying to get other authors to be more aware of the inequalities faced by authors from marginalised communities. She does it in a fun, yet informative way which is easily approachable for young adults and adults. This book is aimed at young adults, however, this is a fantastic read for adults as well.

Usually when a book with diversity comes along, the content isn’t actually diverse. Allies is diverse, and the editors have done a fantastic job at curating these personal essays. I keep using that term because I’m not sure what else to say, but one is in fact a cartoon, so as I say, wonderfully varied. As the synopsis says, there are stories about racism, invisible illnesses, and passing the mic. There are stories from several members of the LGBTQA+ community and from people who have immigrated. These are real experiences from all over the world, which makes a huge difference. Again, I find that sometimes diverse books have a tendency to just be about one country. I loved that one of the personal essays is by Lizzie Huxley-Jones who also has Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS) and her description of the condition made me giggle multiple times because it was just so perfectly accurate. It was how those of us with hEDS talk about our bodies. You can’t make up this kind of genuine personality, and Allies is overflowing with it.

Overall, Allies is an excellent book for anyone who wants to learn more about diversity and how to encourage and support it as a genuine ally. For those of us who are members of a community, it’s a great book for how to interact with friends, family and colleagues who aren’t quite there yet or want to be allies but don’t know where to begin. This book helped me start to put a framework in place for how to handle awkward or stressful situations where the expectation was on me to provide guidance, rather than on the other person, for example. There’s a lot of useful experiences shared in Allies from our side of the fence that can help us just as much as people outside our communities.

GeekDis Book Giveaway!

Throughout September, I am giving away some of the books that I am reviewing for GeekDis!

This giveaway is part of GeekDis, a collaborative event for members of the disability community to talk about disability representation in pop culture. You can learn more about GeekDis and see all the content myself and others have been creating here! To help spread awareness about the need for disability representation in pop culture, I am giving away books that feature disability representation.

I am giving away any book with disability representation that costs no more than £10.99 on The Book Depository at the time of the giveaway. All eligible books will be marked with GIVEAWAY in the title, just like this one, so keep an eye out for them! You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for notifications of new book reviews.

Giveaway Terms and Conditions

By entering this giveaway, you are agreeing to the following terms and conditions:

  1. This giveaway is open internationally to any country that The Book Depository delivers to for free (a list is available here).
  2. The prize is only for reviewed books marked as “GeekDis” and “Giveaway”. A list can be found here.
  3. Participants must be over the age of 18.
  4. Family members of Heather T  of Just Geeking By are prohibited from taking part in any of the giveaways.
  5. Shares to social media accounts must be PUBLIC and visible for entries to be seen and counted.
  6. Therefore, private or locked social media accounts may not take part in any “share activities”.
  7. Any discriminatory or ableist comment given towards the disabled community that is made as a part of any action while entering the competition will result in automatic rejection from all giveaways at Just Geeking By. This is because GeekDis is an event designed to spread awareness about disability representation, not hate.

For the full Terms and Conditions, please see here.

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Don’t forget to check out the rest of my reviews if you’re looking for some more book recommendations 🙂 You can also now sign up for my newsletter to get an email each month with a list of my new reviews!


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