TRANS MISSION by Alex Bertie


My Quest to a Beard
Age Range: 13 - 18
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A YA addition to the long-standing genre of trans memoir.

“I’m not really a writer,” explains Bertie, the 23-year-old YouTuber-turned-author, “but I have had some different experiences that I’d really like the world to know about.” In chapters like “Chest Binding” and “Bottom Surgery,” Bertie repackages generations of information developed and shared by transmasculine people, with some contemporary additions. Given that it's also memoir, he narrowly focuses on a fairly privileged white trans male experience with chatty prose in distractingly laid out text. Bertie sticks to fairly basic information around medical and social transition in addition to his personal experiences. Early on he remarks that “the area I lived in until I was five was not a nice place. I can’t imagine the kind of person I’d be today if I had grown up there. Would I ever have had the confidence to transition?” This may alienate readers, both trans and cis, from stigmatized backgrounds. In the chapter “Dating While Trans,” he acknowledges that he doesn’t know “what life would be like if I were a single trans man navigating the world of dating,” which calls into question the value of his advice.

Readers who want to see their specific experience reflected in a book and those fascinated by prosaic trans narratives will be satisfied by this text, though its lasting value is otherwise limited. (Memoir. 13-18)

Pub Date: May 14th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-316-52903-7
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2019


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