The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue – Mackenzi Lee

August 14, 2017

I’m very sorry to direct you here instead of posting this on Goodreads, but GR has recently taken to cracking down heavily on any negative reviews that specifically mention the author’s behavior. Alas, I’m only posting this on my own personal blog.

update: june 18th, 2019

I loved The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue a lot when it came out. I hadn’t seen much bi rep in books at that time, and as a bi woman, it felt good to be seen and recognized as valid! Unfortunately, in the 2 years since I read it, Mackenzi Lee has more or less ruined herself for me with her endless stream of various hurtful remarks, the most recent and relevant of which being when she was asked on IG what sexuality Monty would identify as, she said he “shouldn’t be labeled” and was simply “queer”.

If you’re not bisexual, you might not know why this is harmful, but the B in the LGBTQ+ community undergoes constant erasure and always has. For an author to write one of the stunningly rare bisexual men in YA fiction and then to erase that so effortlessly is painful, it’s dismissive, and it’s cruel.

That was enough to put a poor taste in my mouth to begin with, but there’s also the matter that Lee has another upcoming title releasing that has been pitched for the last several months as an f/f hist-fic novel, only to recently be revealed that the MC is, in fact, a trans man who is dead-named and given the wrong pronouns for most of the book and the entire synopsis. That’s sketchy enough as it is, but add in the fact that a metric shit-load of trans authors and readers have reached out to Lee to ask her not to do this, and she’s dismissing everyone and saying she knows what she’s doing? She, as a cis woman, “knows” what’s best for trans people more than actual trans people do? I think not.

All of that rambling/ranting aside, Mackenzi Lee… it’s time we break up. I’ll be donating the books of yours I’ve already purchased (*sigh*), and sending an email to the publisher of your upcoming Loki novel to inform them I absolutely will not be reading and/or promoting the ARC they’ve sent me, because frankly, I don’t want to think about you or the harmful things you’ve done to the bi and trans communities anymore.

More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

    1. WONDERFUL review! Ah this made me that much more excited to get my hands on this one!! So glad it was a hit for you!

    1. Awesome review! I’ve heard rave reviews for this one and I am excited to pick it up. This sounds like a great pick-me-up due to the fact that it makes everyone laugh lol. <3

    1. I’m so upset about this. I truly loved Gentleman’s Guide, and the ace rep in Lady’s Guide meant a lot to a number of my friends. I 100% agree with you on the matter and will be doing most of the same. I’ve taken her upcoming titles off of my TBR as well. She’s apologized in regards to The Madness Blooms, but sometimes that’s just not enough. As a trans guy I’m so hurt by all of this. Thank you for posting this update.

    1. Hey! Really appreciate you putting this out here, but I wanted to offer a perspective on Monty’s sexuality.

      As a person who doesn’t identify with a particular label beyond ‘queer’, this is the first book I have seen where the author states that a character does the same. It felt so validating, and not having his sexuality stated within the book was a breath of fresh air.

      Bi-erasure is, I think, more centered around the idea that a bisexual person will “choose” – that they cease to be bisexual once they have a partner, or that a bisexual person is not part of the LGBTQ+ community unless they are dating someone of the opposite sex. Identifying as “queer” rather than “bisexual” isn’t something that, I think, should constitute as bi-erasure. Me choosing that word is not me denying my own bisexuality. I’m simply not bisexual; I’m queer.

      That being said, I do wish she had left it open to interpretation and said nothing on the matter… but I wanted to offer this thought, because the representation felt important to me.

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