This book is important.
First of all, I’d like to give thanks to the amazing authors of this book, Christina and Lauren, for being so careful and so honest with their characters. They tackled huge topics, but nothing felt forced. I’ve never read a book like this before. It felt genuine. Also, I’m just generally grateful to this book because after dealing with a lot of personal demons and not picking up a book in months, I read this and loved it. Loved it so much.
Autoboyography is the story of Tanner, a bisexual boy living in a town in Utah where the majority of people are Mormons. Although Tanner’s mom was Mormon before, his family does not practice any religion, not even through his Jewish father. Religion plays a big role in this story. For some reason, I’ve always been drawn to stories about religion, and religion in general. I’ve studied the subject a lot, and I’m fascinated to learn about the way people all over the world practice different religions. This story, in particular, exposes religion without harsh judgment, which I really appreciated.
The gist of it is, Tanner falls for a Mormon boy who is also his TA in his Senior year of high school. Things are complicated from that moment on. Sebastian is nothing but a sweetheart, who is deeply involved in his church and faith. I really loved that. Tanner tried to understand Sebastian’s love for his religion, and there were a lot of amazing discussions regarding religion and sexuality. Because those two things never seem to coexist in peace somehow.
“I don’t actually care if you break my heart, Sebastian. I went into this knowing it could happen and I gave it to you anyway. But I don’t want you to break your own. You have so much space in your heart for your church, but does it have space for you?”
The communication between all of the characters in this book was phenomenal. There was no unnecessary drama due to miscommunication. People always spoke their thoughts and feelings. It was like a breath of fresh air, no matter how difficult some of the conversations were.
The characters were incredible. Tanner stole my heart from the very beginning, and I loved Sebastian because I got to see him through Tanner’s eyes full of love. I loved Tanner’s best friend Auddy. She was the sweetest person, so loving and accepting. My only complaint was that she got involved in the overall mess created, and I didn’t love that. Tanner’s family were a joy to read. His parents were supportive and open, and they were involved in his life. It’s an aspect rarely shown in books, but this one didn’t breeze through it. Sebastian’s parents weren’t the best, but I didn’t hate them, and that says a lot.
I connected with this book on so many levels. Sexuality and religion are two of my favorite topics to learn about, so this combination worked perfectly. Not only that, but coming from a Christian background, as well as being pansexual, I related so much to everything playing out. I’ve been there. I’ve seen the struggle. Thankfully, I’ve never felt any guilt about who I am, or who I love. I have a strong faith that doesn’t clash at all with my sexuality. But I know how hard it is for many others out there.
I can’t express how significant this book is. I would love for everyone to read it and take something from it. I would love to see more acceptance for our LGBTQ+ youth who come from religious backgrounds, who feel the need to hide who they are, who are afraid to act on their feelings. I would love for more religions to embrace these beautiful, amazing people and allow them to love who they love.