I received some excellent book post recently, a book that I’d been wanting to read for a while! Huge thanks to Wren & Rook publishing for sending me a reviewer copy of Can Everyone Please Calm Down? by Mae Martin! I really enjoyed this book – I don’t often read non-fiction, but LGBT+ non-fiction was something that I knew I’d enjoy, and I was pleased that I enjoyed and learned from this book.
Why do we find sexuality so, well…scary? Comedian Mae Martin investigates in this hilarious and intelligent guide to 21st century sexuality. Covering everything from the pros and cons of labels, to coming out and the joys of sexual fluidity, Mae ponders all the stuff we get hung up about – and then a bit more.
Mae’s mission is to ensure that in a world that’s full of things to worry about, who we choose to kiss should not be one of them. And when it comes to sexuality, she asks: can everyone please calm down?
I found this book immersive and enjoyable, and can instantly tell that it’s written by a comedian. The jokes and quips are so natural, and I never felt like I was being forced to laugh along at a certain part. Mae’s take on sexuality, labels and coming out was certainly a refreshing one to read. In an age where LGBT+ people still aren’t treated equally (the recent homophobic attack on two girls on a London bus proves this), it’s good to read a book this isn’t full of doom and gloom, but also holds up a mirror to society, a mirror that asks the question ‘why is this still such a big deal?’
Can Everyone Please Calm Down? sums up the contents of the book perfectly. Mae discusses topics such as labels, coming out, gender and identity, but also discusses whether LGBT+ people are LGBT+ because of nature or nurture, what she finds important in a partner, as well as instances of homosexuality in our history. It’s certainly an interesting array of topics, and any reader of this book should come away with the thought that actually, sexuality shouldn’t be a big deal and shouldn’t have to be constantly debated by people who have no business in your life.
This book was a really easy to understand read. I didn’t feel bogged down or overwhelmed with any overly scientific topics, nor did I feel like the book was trying to be political. It felt like I was just having a chat with a friend, where we could agree on particular topics easily and have a laugh and a chat about how silly people really are to be concerned with what gender we like. The book made me feel comfortable and it made me feel seen.
Mae’s breakdown of labels in particular was a chapter that I really connected with and enjoyed, especially with feeling seen. Sometimes I get the impression that many people are obsessed with labels and putting people into boxes, but this book was refreshing in that stance. Mae, along with Dr Meg-John Barker, break down the pros and cons of labelling, which are excellent and eye-opening. It’s a reassuring section of the book for sure, and I’m certain that readers who may be having doubts about labelling, or may feel like the label they thought matched them years ago is somehow different now, will feel reassured by this section and definitely take comfort in knowing that labels don’t have to be set forever and ever. We are all people, and sometimes people change.
I’d definitely recommend this book not only to LGBT+ readers who may want to learn more and have a comfortable and open book to read, but I would also recommend it to straight readers. It could hopefully change the idea that some straight people have that LGBT+ people are strange, different and wrong. We’re not. We’re people too.
Final thought: A engaging and educational book that doesn’t shy away from making the reader laugh too. 4/5