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Nonfiction Review: Pageboy: a Memoir by Elliot Page

Title: Pageboy: a Memoir
Author: Elliot Page
Year published: 2023
Category: Adult nonfiction (memoir)
Pages: 288 pages
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location: (my 2024 Google Reading map): Canada, USA (CA)

Summary“Can I kiss you?” It was two months before the world premiere of Juno, and Elliot Page was in his first ever queer bar. The hot summer air hung heavy around him as he looked at her. And then it happened. In front of everyone. A previously unfathomable experience. Here he was on the precipice of discovering himself as a queer person, as a trans person. Getting closer to his desires, his dreams, himself, without the repression he’d carried for so long. But for Elliot, two steps forward had always come with one step back.

With Juno’s massive success, Elliot became one of the world’s most beloved actors. His dreams were coming true, but the pressure to perform suffocated him. He was forced to play the part of the glossy young starlet, a role that made his skin crawl, on and off set. The career that had been an escape out of his reality and into a world of imagination was suddenly a nightmare.

As he navigated criticism and abuse from some of the most powerful people in Hollywood, a past that snapped at his heels, and a society dead set on forcing him into a binary, Elliot often stayed silent, unsure of what to do. Until enough was enough.

Review: I heard about this book quite a bit before I got around to reading it and I am glad I finally did. It is so honest in emotion and experience.

Elliot Page has lived in the limelight, not an easy feat on a regular day, but certainly not when you are attacked by the press and the public about your sexuality, your gender, and your personal choices. I really don't understand why people feel it is any of their business how someone lives or whom they love. Are you a good person who contributes to society in a positive way? Awesome. That's what matters.

Page tells his story of growing up in Nova Scotia, his family (the good and painful), and how he got into the Hollywood life of movies. I do like hearing all these stories; the stories behind the public figure. Page is brutally honest about his loneliness, drug and alcohol use, friends, and the struggles he had being forced to play feminine (read: ultra feminine) roles. The clothes seemed to be the most difficult.

It was good to read as became more sure of himself (and happier), began to take ownership of his choices, his clothing, and to speak up when he needed to. He transitioned in his 30s and sounds so happy by the end of the book.

Challenges for which this counts: 
  • Nonfiction--Culture

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