Let me just start this off by saying that it’s good that there are so many more diverse books out there. I used to have to research and scour stores in order to find good Diverse fiction and now it’s easily accessible. It’s mainstream and I’m living for it. That said, there are a lot of books I’ve been reading lately that I’m sure were written with the best intentions, but end up perpetuating stereotypes. These stereotypes can be anything from cringeworthy to harmful, depending on how far they go with them.
I’m thinking about this because of Little & Lion which has a pretty decent goodreads score, but ended up demonizing mental illness and making a love triangle with a bi character. Which yay, bisexual representation, but it feels like it’s always a love triangle. Even worse, in this one it’s the bi character who’s pursuing both people at the same time keeping up with the slutty bi person trope.
The mental illness aspect of it focused a lot more on how erratic a person who has bipolar could be and how dangerous they could become if they were off their medication. There wasn’t enough humanization of Lionel and showing how he suffered from his illness to offset the issues that his illness causes for the family later.
I feel like this could be changed by simply shifting the narrator of the novel. Instead of showing how mental illness affects the people around someone who’s mentally ill (which is a perspective we see all the time), show how it affects the person directly. Tell their story rather than their symptoms.
As for to mishandled Bi representation, I think it would have been fine if we already had a ton of books that didn’t make the bisexual character a problem or pursuing multiple people at once. Since we don’t though, it helps to tip the scales in the wrong direction.
What do you guys think? Am I overreacting? Are there other books where you’ve felt this way? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.