Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Review: The Bisexual’s Guide to the Universe by Nicole Kristal and Mike Szymanski

Nicole Kristal and Mike Szymanski
The Bisexual’s Guide to the Universe

Published by Alyson Books

Reviewed by Kay Sexton

One line from this book, ‘Not many folks leave their houses on a Friday night thinking, “I hope I meet a nice bisexual tonight.”’ - sums up bisexuality for those of us who are. I do have a quibble with the title – it’s actually The Bisexual’s Guide to the USA. It’s relentlessly focused on one geographic area and one cultural reality. That apart, you will not find a better feel-good, laugh-aloud, tick-box introduction to the weird, wonderful and often almost inexplicable world of those who swing both ways.

The best sections for this reader were the ‘bi-slogans’ and the quizzes. I was somewhat adrift with some of the BIcons, which is where the American focus of the book left me a bit cold (like who IS Marin Hinkle?), but for those unsure of their sexuality the list of bi potential role models is huge, and there’s definitely someone for everyone (Marin Hinkle, possibly?). I would have liked more identification of the difficulties that arise out of bisexuality in relation to ethnic and religious issues – being bi is tough enough, but being female, bi and black can be a lot tougher, so my partner tells me - and I think the authors missed a trick in failing to categorise that aspect of ‘fluid’ sexuality, given that they managed to find a category for almost everything else.

The book made me laugh, and that’s quite a feat in a world where being bi often means ‘second-class citizen’. If you’re bi – buy: you will enjoy.

As well as writing for the UK's premier sustainability journal, Green Futures, Pushcart-nominated Kay Sexton has recently completed ‘Green Thought in an Urban Shade’, a words and pictures exhibition with painter Fion Gunn that was shown in London, Dublin and Beijing. She has had more than ninety short stories published. Kay blogs about writing fiction at http://writingneuroses.blogspot.com/ and has a regular column at www.moondance.org.



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