By a prize-winning, young Black trans writer of outsized talent, a fierce and disciplined memoir about queerness, masculinity, and race.

Available for Preorder

Product Code: 9388
ISBN: 9780593537145
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Knopf
Pages: 240
Published Date: 05/28/2024
Availability: Not currently available.
(Backorder policy)
Price: $28.00

Even as it shines light on the beauty and toxicity of Black masculinity from a transgender perspective—the tropes, the presumptions—Pretty is as much a powerful and tender love letter as it is a call for change.

“I should be able to define myself, but I am not. Not by any governmental or cultural body,” Brookins writes. “Every day, I negotiate the space between who I am, how I’m perceived, and what I need to unlearn. People have assumed things about me, and I can’t change that. Every day, I am assumed to be a Black American man, though my ID says ‘female,’ and my heart says neither of the sort. What does it mean—to be a girl-turned-man when you’re something else entirely?”

Informed by KB Brookins’s personal experiences growing up in Texas, those of other Black transgender masculine people, Black queer studies, and cultural criticism, Pretty is concerned with the marginalization suffered by a unique American constituency—whose condition is a world apart from that of cisgender, non-Black, and non-masculine people. Here is a memoir (a bildungsroman of sorts) about coming to terms with instantly and always being perceived as “other”

Bookmark and Share


Author’s Note

After Dionne Brand
Until I Wasn’t
Contending with My Want (To Be Normal)
The Game of Letting Things Go
There Are Miracles and Blessings for Me
Good School
On My Hometown

How to Identify Yourself with a Wound (2018)
Who Am I Kidding: I’ve Only Ever Been a Question
We skip school to listen
Channel Orange Taught Me
There Are Men Around
You Can Call Us, But
Our Allegiance to Queerphobia
I came to run away from Fort Worth but maybe also to have sex
You Just Haven’t Met the Right Guy

Toxic Masculinity
I’m Not FTM. I Am
How I Learned to Love My Chest
Sonnet Five
I Get Least of You
I’m trying to see some things, feel some things, be some things he couldn’t

”Sir?,” “Ma’am?” and Other Things I Miss
Make Dis-Privilege
Texas: An Exodus
A Trip to the Gynecologist
We Are Not Untouchable


"Brookins’s writing thrives on well-observed juxtapositions. . . . Linguistically, Brookins pulls equally from playful internet slang and queer theory, often joining both syntaxes in the poems that punctuate each chapter. . . . Dazzling. . . . Brookins is a writer to watch." —Publishers Weekly

“This book, above all, offers a potent narrative of learning to live authentically, no matter the circumstances and challenges. Brookins relays their experiences and opinions with candor. . . . The most compelling threads of the text relate the author’s journey of self-actualization, from questioning ideas of gender to shedding shame. 'My life’s work is to make Black people, queer people, and masculine people fall in love with who they are and shed the daily violence of betraying themselves and others,' they write. This book is a powerful testament to that. An inspiring and deeply human work.” —Kirkus Reviews

Pretty is one of the most brilliantly constructed memoirs I’ve read. There is not one wasted paragraph or scene here. The language cradles but never ever coddles. Some art just makes you thankful. I am so thankful.” —Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy

“This book blew me away. Seamlessly transitioning between poetry and prose, Pretty is as fearless, incisive, and brilliant as they come. It's a gorgeous memoir that, despite pain and rejection, insists on hope, forgiveness, and Black trans joy. ‘You see gender, spinning and fusing into something freer?’ Brookins asks. Thanks to their life-changing book, I do, I really do. There's no doubt about it: Brookins is the real deal.” —Marisa Crane, author of I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself

Be the first to submit a review on this product!
Review and Rate this Item

You might also be interested in: