Hot Best Seller

Burning Butch

Availability: Ready to download

Burning Butch is the courageous story of a trans / non-binary butch on a quest to survive conservative, religious, American culture while questioning if there is room in their heart for the traditional faith they were raised with, and what it means to come home again. When divorce moves young Rebecca Mertz away from rural Pennsylvania and their abusive father, Mertz and the Burning Butch is the courageous story of a trans / non-binary butch on a quest to survive conservative, religious, American culture while questioning if there is room in their heart for the traditional faith they were raised with, and what it means to come home again. When divorce moves young Rebecca Mertz away from rural Pennsylvania and their abusive father, Mertz and their mother find a new life in a conservative Catholic subculture outside of Washington, D.C. There, Mertz's adolescence is dominated by fundamentalist Catholicism. Life becomes God, saints, and babies – except, of course, for the showtunes they latch onto, voices that permeate their childhood boundaries, singing about different worlds. Mertz spends their childhood split between Pennsylvania, and Maryland – between mother and father, between Catholic homeschooling and secular Americana, between safety and violence, between their real life and the "world" they keep being warned against. It’s in homeschooling that Mertz learns what good, Catholic values are: anti-feminist, pro-life; anti-queer, pro-Jesus. The more babies, the better, so as to prove a stronger devotion to God. In an attempt to get away from their father, to interrogate their faith, and to repress the growing feelings Mertz has about a woman in their community, Mertz chooses the Franciscan University of Steubenville, a conservative Catholic school in Ohio. As Mertz comes of age at an oppressive, gender-dependent Catholic college in the early aughts, they grapple with attractions, sexual encounters, and relationships with friends and teachers – men and women whom they trust and admire, who romantically engage with them while in the same breath renounce the sacrilege of Mertz’s identity. Ever the outcast during their college years despite their affinity and aptitude for poetry, Mertz is forced to face their sexuality and what it might mean within the confines of their strict faith. As Mertz struggles to navigate this repressive environment, and questions what role they could play in this community, the vulnerable identity they create begins to threaten the life they know in potentially irreversible ways.


Compare

Burning Butch is the courageous story of a trans / non-binary butch on a quest to survive conservative, religious, American culture while questioning if there is room in their heart for the traditional faith they were raised with, and what it means to come home again. When divorce moves young Rebecca Mertz away from rural Pennsylvania and their abusive father, Mertz and the Burning Butch is the courageous story of a trans / non-binary butch on a quest to survive conservative, religious, American culture while questioning if there is room in their heart for the traditional faith they were raised with, and what it means to come home again. When divorce moves young Rebecca Mertz away from rural Pennsylvania and their abusive father, Mertz and their mother find a new life in a conservative Catholic subculture outside of Washington, D.C. There, Mertz's adolescence is dominated by fundamentalist Catholicism. Life becomes God, saints, and babies – except, of course, for the showtunes they latch onto, voices that permeate their childhood boundaries, singing about different worlds. Mertz spends their childhood split between Pennsylvania, and Maryland – between mother and father, between Catholic homeschooling and secular Americana, between safety and violence, between their real life and the "world" they keep being warned against. It’s in homeschooling that Mertz learns what good, Catholic values are: anti-feminist, pro-life; anti-queer, pro-Jesus. The more babies, the better, so as to prove a stronger devotion to God. In an attempt to get away from their father, to interrogate their faith, and to repress the growing feelings Mertz has about a woman in their community, Mertz chooses the Franciscan University of Steubenville, a conservative Catholic school in Ohio. As Mertz comes of age at an oppressive, gender-dependent Catholic college in the early aughts, they grapple with attractions, sexual encounters, and relationships with friends and teachers – men and women whom they trust and admire, who romantically engage with them while in the same breath renounce the sacrilege of Mertz’s identity. Ever the outcast during their college years despite their affinity and aptitude for poetry, Mertz is forced to face their sexuality and what it might mean within the confines of their strict faith. As Mertz struggles to navigate this repressive environment, and questions what role they could play in this community, the vulnerable identity they create begins to threaten the life they know in potentially irreversible ways.

30 review for Burning Butch

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kayla

    The way my heart soared when I realized the chapters were named after songs from musicals……. Yeah, automatic 5 stars. Mertz, you’re the coolest.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    This was an intense one for me. First of all, I’m so glad that R/B chose to share their story because it matters. It matters to all of us who have similar experiences of abuse, particularly spiritual abuse. Those of us who grew up queer in the Church, who struggled and fought. Those of us who survived and those who did not. These voices matter and these stories need to be told. It was painful, it was beautiful, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Madisen Armstrong

    WOW! this should be recommended reading for every lesbian/trans/queer person.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sarah-Hope

    In honor of Pride Month, I've been working some LGBTQ+ memoirs into my reading. Burning Butch is one of those titles—an articulate, quirky recounting of the author's journey from fundamentalist Catholicism to their current identity as a nonbinary butch teaching at a Catholic University and still wrestling with issues of faith. I was struck by the commonalities and differences between Mertz's experiences and my own. I had an easier time of it embracing my identity (in this case nonbinary no frill In honor of Pride Month, I've been working some LGBTQ+ memoirs into my reading. Burning Butch is one of those titles—an articulate, quirky recounting of the author's journey from fundamentalist Catholicism to their current identity as a nonbinary butch teaching at a Catholic University and still wrestling with issues of faith. I was struck by the commonalities and differences between Mertz's experiences and my own. I had an easier time of it embracing my identity (in this case nonbinary no frills femme lesbian) than did Mertz, and I was also raised by a religious family, but my family's religion was Congregationalism. Congregationalism more or less leaves each of us to find our own path with a minimum of dogma, but has high expectations for living our beliefs. (There's a joke that UCC—United Church of Christ—actually stands for Unitarians Considering Christianity.) If you're interested in learning more about nonbinary queer experience, Burning Butch is a title you'll appreciate. You'll also appreciate it if, like a great many of us, you've come to your queer identity after a childhood firmly grounded in religion. This is memoir, not fiction, and Mertz is inviting us to stand alongside them as they reflect on their journey of identity. I received a free electronic review copy of this title from the publisher via EdelweissPlus; the opinions are my own.

  5. 4 out of 5

    jordan

    i needed this book. there were times where i read a passage and wanted to scream out “EXACTLY!” because exactly, yes, this is exactly what it’s like to be queer and catholic. it’s not perfect— it’s messy and overexplained in just the right way but i really don’t care. and i honestly prefer it this way. if you can’t relate to it you might not rate it as highly, but i did and i will. i’m not sure how hard it would resonate with someone who didn’t grow up catholic, but if you want to know what it’s i needed this book. there were times where i read a passage and wanted to scream out “EXACTLY!” because exactly, yes, this is exactly what it’s like to be queer and catholic. it’s not perfect— it’s messy and overexplained in just the right way but i really don’t care. and i honestly prefer it this way. if you can’t relate to it you might not rate it as highly, but i did and i will. i’m not sure how hard it would resonate with someone who didn’t grow up catholic, but if you want to know what it’s like, it’s this. their explanation was what i’ve been trying to put into words for so long. it gives me hope, that someone like me can come out the other end and love themself fully, without any pretense of “is this wrong? am i lying?” thank you, thank you so much to the author for writing this book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    Incredible. Beautiful. You need to read this book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    R/b Mertz was born Becca, and suffered through Catholic indoctrination and condemnation as she reluctantly realized she was gay but went to an extremely religious college. This is an honest and heartrending story of a woman driven to despair before she acknowledged herself. Very well written, with personal stories of her family, her teachers, and the people she interacted with, though as a non-religious reader, at times I wanted to shake her out of her own rigid beliefs. I gave it four stars out R/b Mertz was born Becca, and suffered through Catholic indoctrination and condemnation as she reluctantly realized she was gay but went to an extremely religious college. This is an honest and heartrending story of a woman driven to despair before she acknowledged herself. Very well written, with personal stories of her family, her teachers, and the people she interacted with, though as a non-religious reader, at times I wanted to shake her out of her own rigid beliefs. I gave it four stars out of 5 because towards the end, some of the stories got repetitive, and I found myself skipping a few pages. This book is well worth reading, even if you are not lesbian, not from a Christian background, or, like me, not female. This is a worthwhile tale of a difficult struggle to self-acceptance.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Melina Birchem

    Can I give this 10 stars? Growing up homeschooled, super catholic, and then going to the university of Mary and then realizing how gay I was, made me feel so freaking alone. Finding someone in that darkness who not only brings fresh light and love but also beautiful writing??? It’s precious. I read it as a digital copy but my next paycheck I’m buying a physical copy so I can annotate and write notes and revel in this delight of being heard and known. THANK YOU MERTZ ❤️

  9. 4 out of 5

    Anne Crean

    I could not put this book down, and I’m going to be thinking about it for a while. I needed this

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jonah

    A really cool book, written by a really cool author

  11. 5 out of 5

    Drew Praskovich

    🌟 🌟 🌟 💫/5 (rounded down) Feeling represented in a memoir is a truly profound experience. R/B Mertz explores Catholicism, queerness, a love of musical theater, and their experiences in Pittsburgh, PA. Ummm hello that’s ME. I think this starts really strong and then loses steam as they really delve into their time at Franciscan University in Steubenville, OH. It becomes slightly stagnant and repetitive in terms of theme and content. This also is about mental health struggles, processing sexual abu 🌟 🌟 🌟 💫/5 (rounded down) Feeling represented in a memoir is a truly profound experience. R/B Mertz explores Catholicism, queerness, a love of musical theater, and their experiences in Pittsburgh, PA. Ummm hello that’s ME. I think this starts really strong and then loses steam as they really delve into their time at Franciscan University in Steubenville, OH. It becomes slightly stagnant and repetitive in terms of theme and content. This also is about mental health struggles, processing sexual abuse, and gender. I love their reverence and critique for Catholicism. Makes it infinitely more interesting.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gaby

    A strong 3.5! I found this memoir to be super readable despite some of the qualms I found with its structure and repetition. I’m also a lesbian who grew up believing the same strict Catholic doctrines as R/B, and I want to make everyone I know read their story because it means I didn’t make it all up.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dory

    Mertz’s struggle to come to terms with their identity and sexuality amidst the most conservative of Catholic experiences plays out in a memoir with intellectual flashes amongst a great deal of suffering. There’s humor as well, though, including the titling of each chapter with the name of a show tune. While it’s a compelling story, it suffers from a lack of tight editing.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ruby

    absolutely loved this book. every time i told a friend the title they thought i said "bush" wrong but it was worth it. i found the last chapter a bit sappy and cliche but overall the book was amazing! absolutely loved this book. every time i told a friend the title they thought i said "bush" wrong but it was worth it. i found the last chapter a bit sappy and cliche but overall the book was amazing!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Atakpa

    thank you song

  16. 4 out of 5

    J

    Breathless, heartbreaking, and insightful. A peek into a world I expected to be exotic, but which turned out to be surprisingly (and distressingly) like my own. Recommended.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Reid

    I couldn't put this down. And I wanna read it again. I couldn't put this down. And I wanna read it again.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    1

  19. 5 out of 5

    Shannon Walls

    This book made me cry and get mad and then smile all in a few pages. The authors rawness is so brave and honest.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Zoe

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sal Manzo

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nicki Hanseling

  23. 5 out of 5

    elizabeth harris

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rayroy

  25. 5 out of 5

    Naheed Patel

  26. 4 out of 5

    Shawna Grajek

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Gardner

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jo

  29. 4 out of 5

    Six St.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Maylla

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...