Review: FINE by Rhea Ewing

As a comic about gender, Rhea Ewing’s FINE is pretty close to perfect. It is organized by topic, and the content is a collection of nuggets found in more than 50 interviews Ewing conducted over a decade. With painful and raw honesty, readers are also invited to discover the author’s motivations for the interviews and creating the book. Ewing reflects personally on answers they hear from people with great differences in views and experiences surrounding gender and how it affects their lives. It creates an effective, thoughtful, and comforting guide to anyone grappling with gender labels or wanting to support their loved ones.

Sections of the book include Femininity, Masculinity, Race, Hormones, Housing, Language, and more. Certain interviewees return again and again with commentary included in multiple sections. What readers will realize, and likely recognize in themselves, is the struggle and journey towards an honest identity is rarely simple or easy. One particularly poignant section centers on the Queer Community and how it can be a joyful and life saving support network, but also sometimes exclusionary, especially for people who straddle identities or challenge established labels. Still, the overarching feeling throughout the book is one of gentleness, acceptance, and an embrace of people for who they are.

Readers should know that topics like gender and body dysmorphia, suicidal ideation, and harassment and bullying make appearances. The author includes footnotes in which they acknowledge the topics and direct readers to appropriate support and resources. In fact, there is a content warning and information for national groups like The Trevor Project, Trans Lifeline, and Suicide Prevention groups even before the introduction. The notes and further reading sections at the end are also helpful for those seeking more detail about what they’ve read in the book.

Rhea Ewing’s FINE is an impressive debut with a fresh and important viewpoint on a timely set of topics. Highly recommended.

About That Unique* Weblog

Adjusting to car culture, dealing with leaving a career I loved, and spouting off along the way. Do The Most Good.
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