History is All You Left Me
by Adam Silvera
read in April 2017
I read History is All You Left Me back in April, so I have to write this review based on the notes I took back then. I apologise that this review won’t be as thorough as usual.
I was very excited to read this book. I haven’t read More Happy Than Normal by Adam Silvera yet, but I follow this author on Twitter and his other books are on my TBR.
It’s very hard to review this book so long after having actually read it, because my notes only include negative things. But I must have enjoyed it, because I rated it four stars. Looking back on History is All You Left Me, it wasn’t an easy read. It deals with a lot of serious topics such as death, grieving etc. and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. From what I’ve gathered, Silvera’s other books have similar themes and those are definitely books I tend to enjoy. But please do be aware that his books may include triggering material.
But because this book deals with such heavy topics, I was very invested. When characters made questionable decisions, you really felt for them, but also made me go “Why Griffin, Why??!!”. On top of that, there is a mystery that is only revealed at the end of the book, and I never would have guessed it!
I love that the gay and OCD representation are #OwnVoices and there is also a side character who is black and a minor character who’s in a wheelchair. But the bisexual rep isn’t and I could definitely tell. That’s my main issue with this book. When Theo says he’s bisexual, Griffin says some biphobic things. Instead of calling him out, Theo re-assures Griffin that he would never cheat on him. At the end of the book, there’s a character who says he doesn’t like labels, but Griffin immediately refers to that character as gay. Because “I don’t like labels” is often used to refer to people who are bisexual, I found this biphobic as well. Just because a man is attracted to other men, doesn’t mean he is gay. This bi-erasure definitely hurt. I’m very disappointed that I keep coming across similar depictions of bisexual characters when that representation isn’t #OwnVoices.
I enjoyed History is All You Left Me, but since it deals with an abundance of heavy topics, I’d suggest reading some more reviews beforehand to make sure it doesn’t include any material that might be triggering for you. I’m very disappointed with the biphobia, but I am willing to give Silvera another chance and do plan to pick up his other books in the future.