Bookviews Book Reviews
A Field Guide to Otherkin
Okay, let's get something out of the way before I get into this review. In the past, I had considered myself Otherkin. It was during a time of exploration and self discovery, and while I still consider myself a Therian, I no longer truly consider myself to be Otherkin. And yes, I am quoted in this book.
Now that that is out of the way, I want to say that I think this book should be on the shelf of almost everyone who is interested in Otherkin, Animals and Shamanism or weird subcultures. Lupa does an outstanding job with this book.
I can't really say much more than that. You must be willing to suspend your disbelief a lot when you read this book simply because the concept is pretty "out there". I know that when I first encountered the concept of Otherkin, I was thinking to myself "Wait, there is a group of people who believe they are descended from human-like animals and dragons who really think that they aren't human?"
It is a hard concept to grasp initially. Listening to the stories the Otherkin tell, however, and you get a picture of a group who passionately believe this, who are sincere in their quest to discover themselves.
Unfortunately the Otherkin who are normally encountered in chat rooms and on various boards tend to be those who are into the Otherkin subculture for the shock value, not the ones who are on a sincere personal quest of self-discovery. Because that is normally the case, the Otherkin community tends to have a bad reputation.
So when reading a book similar to this you must simply accept that Otherkin exist and that most are sincere in their personal quest. If you can get over that mental hurdle, this is an outstanding book describing the different types of Otherkin, what they believe and how they see the world through their unique perspective.
There are many many quotes in this book, taken from various questionnaires that Lupa put out in the process of researching this book. Personal stories and anecdotes, quotes and items that will encourage contemplation.
Truthfully? I had a hard time putting this book down.
But, there is some layout problems that I will note. I can't critique the content because the critiques I could give were not in the author's control. It could have used more variety in the persons responding to the survey, but given that there were only 131 surveys collected, I fear that would be asking far too much from such a small sample.
I did note that in many places the text runs on top of itself. This makes reading very hard. It looks as though in places text was dropped in from a document that was formatted to a half character spacing rather than the full character spacing and this happens throughout the book. The chapter headings are the same size as the section headings, making transitions from chapter to chapter difficult unless you are really paying attention.
I DO have to compliment Lupa on the bibliography as it is about as complete as it is possible to be. I believe that this is probably the definitive list of Otherkin books and websites as well as the best listing of resources relating to Otherkin. The quibble I have with that section is that the listing is broken up by personal commentary on the site or book itself, and that commentary is not indented to keep the alphabetical listing easy on the eyes. Also the paragraph formatting seems to change from paragraph to paragraph, indented here, and not indented in the next paragraph, single space between paragraphs here and double spaces there. That tended to happen around the quotes however.
I did note that in the section where she is talking about Otherkin symbols, she uses a term I'm not familiar with and she never explains it. This is in relation to the seven pointed star. The illustration shows a septagram and assumes that you know what an obtuse septagram is, which I didn't. There is no illustration of it.
As a point of interest and nothing more, I will warn readers that there are a number of references to her own work, as well as her husband's works throughout this book. If that bothers you, you may wish to skip those parts. It is not obtrusive, but it is prevalent.
With my formatting and layout objections considered, I give this book 4 ½ stars out of 5. I think this is an exceptional work and with just a few slight modifications in the second printing, that it would be a perfect book. I believe that this could be the definitive work for some time to come.
Copyright: "Copyright Daven" All rights reserved. Permission granted to reprint this review as long as the entire article and this copyright statement are kept intact.
Reviewed by Daven