5* Review: Judge Me, Judge Me Not: A Memoir of Sexual Discovery – James Merrick

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Judge Me, Judge Me Not is easily the most thought provoking, emotionally raw and sexually honest book you’ll read this year.

You’d be forgiven upon reading the preface, for thinking that the chosen format for this book would lead to a story that is disjointed and difficult to immerse yourself into.

In reality the format is unique and works exceptionally well from a readers viewpoint. Whilst this is a memoir and not an autobiography, James’s retelling of his journey in this format, is such that there is still a subtle chronological order from beginning to end, and within individual chapters.

Each of those “chapters” will leave you feeling like you’ve personally met each and everyone of the people that have played a part in James’s life, such is the author’s skill at drawing you in to the retelling of their memories.

The inclusion of “The Voices” makes James’s internal conflict all the more palpable on the page, depicting a turbulent journey of self discovery and sexual awareness.

In parts i could easily draw parallels between my own history and that of James’s experiences. I spent a large majority of my teenage years in a religious environment and my dad was a closeted gay man, hiding in a straight marriage up until a few years prior to his death. A death which lead to him being outed to family posthumously.

My dad’s premature death whilst i was a child, created many questions to which there are no forthcoming answers.

By reading this book, the honesty and vulnerability of James’s words in the telling of his own journey, has provided glimpses of an insightfullness i’ve been missing and prompted considerations of being closeted which i wouldn’t have arrived at on my own.

As such I found James’s story not only vastly interesting for what it is at face value, but personally both retrospectively and introspectively thought provoking.

There are many, many, things you could takeaway from this memoir – that homophobia is still rife, being truthful with yourself and others is not easy, asserting your needs can be even harder.

But perhaps the most prominent at every turn of the page, is that love comes in many forms and each have a place at the table of life.

I received an ARC of this book for review from Butterworth Books, in exchange for an honest review.

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