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Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws [Paperback]

Kate Bornstein , Sara Quin
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

May 2 2006
Celebrated transsexual trailblazer Kate Bornstein has, with more humor and spunk than any other, ushered us into a world of limitless possibility through a daring re-envisionment of the gender system as we know it.
Here, Bornstein bravely and wittily shares personal and unorthodox methods of survival in an often cruel world. A one-of-a-kind guide to staying alive outside the box, Hello, Cruel World is a much-needed unconventional approach to life for those who want to stay on the edge, but alive.
Hello, Cruel World features a catalog of 101 alternatives to suicide that range from the playful (moisturize!), to the irreverent (shatter some family values), to the highly controversial. Designed to encourage readers to give themselves permission to unleash their hearts' harmless desires, the book has only one directive: "Don't be mean." It is this guiding principle that brings its reader on a self-validating journey, which forges wholly new paths toward a resounding decision to choose life.
Tenderly intimate and unapologetically edgy, Kate Bornstein is the radical role model, the affectionate best friend, and the guiding mentor all in one.

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About the Author

A celebrated pioneer for the LGBTIQ community, KATE BORNSTEIN is the author of My Gender Workbook: How to Become a Real Man, a Real Woman, the Real You, or Something Else Entirely and Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and The Rest of Us, as well as the editor with S. Bear Bergman of Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation. Her plays and performance pieces include Hidden: A Gender, The Opposite Sex Is Neither, and Too Tall Blondes In Love. She lives in New York City with her partner, Barbara Carrellas.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! June 14 2012
By Kaila
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Got the book super fast and it's a very good book. Reading it for the second time now :] hard to put it down. Has alot of information that makes you rethink life/ how your living your life. Tells you to just be yourself and pretty much it doesn't matter what anyone thinks of you. I loved this book!!!!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  40 reviews
62 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thanks Kate Aug. 14 2006
By A Reader - Published on Amazon.com
I'm not a teen, but I am a long-time freak in the middle of what I sincerely hope is the worst set of circumstances I will face in my life. I am losing someone I love more than just about anything to a very slow and painful disease.

I haven't felt hope in nine months. This book gave me hope.
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Saved my life a few times. May 15 2009
By Travis Aschemeyer - Published on Amazon.com
I was given this book by a school counselor on our final session. I had just graduated and my school health insurance was ending, but I was still depressed and suicidal. This book ended up being a 'portable counselor' - and actually helped me more than counseling sessions did.

The book is written as though she's talking to you. Reading through this book is like talking to an **experienced** friend who has all sorts of suggestions. With each suicide alternative she usually also refers to other books/media to check out if you're interested.

I've read the first part of the book 3 times since it was given to me less than a year ago. Yet, I still haven't entirely read through all the alternatives - I typically find something that I can work on that helps me feel better. Hello Cruel World *always* helps if I can remember to reach for it, but sometimes I just can't even make it to my bookshelf. This book is especially helpful if you're dealing with LGBT and gender issues.

The best part about Hello Cruel World is that it's easy to read when you're depressed. Nothing is easy to read when you're depressed, right? It was written intimately and warm and each of the alternatives is written with a brevity that makes it bearable. Her cheesy humor somehow works when you're wanting to kill yourself. Just flip to something that sounds interesting and it's hardly a chore to read it.

I let a friend borrow the book a couple weeks ago but this is one of those books that I need to keep track of because I never know when I'll need it again. I'm actually here to purchase a copy for that friend because I really need mine again. =P

BTW: Just a tip - If you're transgender MtF I recommend Julia Serano's "Whipping Girl" before reading Kate's "Gender Outlaw" or any other trans specific books.
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars REAL-DEAL HELP April 17 2007
By Bill Brent - Published on Amazon.com
This book could save your life. I wish it had been around when I was a suicidal seventh-grader. One of the readers at Amazon.com says, "Every high school library should carry this book!" and that's probably the best possible endorsement. This is a wonderful book.

Hello, Cruel World is the best depiction I have seen of the real world of troubled teens. It accurately locates the bully as the most common cause of self-esteem issues that can take years, even decades, to resolve. Kate's only rule for readers is "don't be mean," and that is certainly the most obvious characteristic of every bully I've ever faced. Kate's winning personality and irresistible sense of humor prevail over the heavy topic matter. Her writing is inspired, passionate, and empathic. There is little if anything that goes uncovered here. (Well, okay, she includes "sex worker" but omits "drug dealer" and "rock and roller" from her list of freak-admissible careers in alternative 34, "Sing for your Supper." I mean, if you're going to include the Unholy Trinity, you might as well go all the way, right?)

Actually, my only real quibble with this book (and it is a quibble) is that I thought this book might be even "safer" if the cover were more discreet. I admit that it's a bit busy for my taste, but perhaps a plain cover would have been even better for the sake of the kids who might have to sneak around with this book.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GET OUT OF HELL FREE CARD July 19 2006
By HoneyDu - Published on Amazon.com
At a recent benefit at Bluestockings Bookstore, Kate handed out "GET OUT OF HELL FREE CARDS" where she promised to negotiate with God on our behalf and accept any punishment inflicted on us (even going to hell in our place) for taking the advice she lists in "101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws," which encourages us to save our lives by whatever means necessary. Amung her 101 alternatives to suicide she lists: cutting, starving yourself, taking drugs, and finding the love of your life. All of which she lists with an indication of hearts or skulls the effectiveness of each technigue. Although I did not take any of her suggestions, upon finishing the book I was no longer as suicidal...maybe because I felt like she would accept me no matter how messed up (or un-acceptable) I am and this made me feel better. Every High School Library Should Carry This Book!
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hello - Fellow Survivors Nov. 9 2006
By David Israelstam - Published on Amazon.com
My three favorite passages:(not verbatim - as I remember them)

1:In high school, we didn't kill the freaks - we did something worse - we made them want to kill themselves.

2:The next time you want to kill yourself - kill the offending part of yourself instead- selective serial suicide.

3: I want to become that which I'm most attracted to.
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