Some Assembly Required is a memoir by a young transgender man. It’s a quick read that covers his life, from his dawning feelings of male identification as a child to his physical transition. It’s a very fast read, and a decent book considering the age of the author. I would highly recommend it to someone not particularly well-versed in transgender issues who wants to learn, but if you’re more knowledgable about LGBTQIA* issues it doesn’t necessarily add much to the discussion. I’m not saying that as a complaint – trans issues are a group who can use all the awareness they can get and I don’t at all begrudge a book telling a story that would historically never have been told, or likely even happened. The conversation that includes voices like his is far too small to want to shrink it further – but if you’re well acquainted with the voices already out there, there are probably others that you could better spend your reading time on.
My biggest gripe is just about the perspective of someone so young. Some Assembly Required is a memoir that was published when Mr. Andrews was maybe around 20. A lot of time is spent on things that could’ve never been mentioned without impacting the story at all, but things that I would’ve absolutely considered pivotal at that age too (and honestly, without them the book might’ve been too short). Every relationship is described thoroughly, even the ones that all said and done weren’t that important. Hobbies that were barely relevent are major events. But imagine you were sitting down with a relative who was a 20 year old guy and listening to him tell you about his life (assuming he had led an interesting one) – would you expect perfect clarity, perspective, and literary amazement? Nah. If that’s what you expect going in, this is a good book about a smart, determined young man.