A heartfelt manual for those seeking to understand their transgender parent.

MY TRANS PARENT

A USER GUIDE FOR WHEN YOUR PARENT TRANSITIONS

Bryant offers advice to those with a transgender parent in this instructive guide.

There has been much discussion in the last few years about how parents should best accommodate their transgender children. But the opposite dynamic is a common one as well: children—be they kids or adults—who learn that their parents identify as transgender. Bryant went through this experience three decades ago, long before transgender awareness was widespread. At the time, Bryant was in the fifth grade, and she understandably had a lot of questions. Easy answers, however, were not forthcoming. The word transgender was not even used. “I thought I was the only person on the whole planet with a family like mine,” she writes in her introduction. “This book aims to fill a gap in conversations about the many shapes of families. I hope that reading this book will provide you with a built-in community of people like you.” When a parent transitions, it doesn’t just mean a change for them. It’s a change for the entire family. While that change should not be viewed as negative, it can often result in feelings of confusion or uncertainty for other family members, especially the trans parent’s children. By sharing stories from her own experience, as well as the experiences of people from around the world who have also gone through this process, Bryant prepares the reader for what to expect. It isn’t only a matter of getting used to a parent’s new look, new name, or new pronoun. There are logistical issues, like whether or not the parent “comes out,” possible divorces or new partners, and the realities of transphobia. There are a number of mental shifts that can occur, altering the child’s perspective of their parent, themselves, and the world. As Bryant reminds the reader early on, “It’s your transition, too.”

The book is essentially a What To Expect When You’re Expecting for those with a transitioning parent, tipping the reader off to the situations that may arise while providing them with the tools needed to navigate them. Bryant’s prose is chatty and reassuring, elucidating the ins and outs of the transition process: “If our parents don’t want to be out in the community, they might not want to connect with other families. It might be something we seek out for ourselves. Mostly, it’s about finding people who say, ‘Yeah, I’ve been there and this is how I got through.’ ” She moves frequently among the stories of several families, and the reader gets to know them over the course of the book. Each chapter ends with prompts meant to generate reflection about the reader’s own family situation. The book also includes a large glossary of transgender-related terms—a necessity for a subject where language so often reveals its limitations—and an extensive list of additional resources. Whether you are a 10-year-old like Bryant was when her father began to transition or you are an adult with children of your own trying to understand an older parent’s journey, this book provides a positive, nonjudgmental guide to all the thoughts and feelings you might be going through.

A heartfelt manual for those seeking to understand their transgender parent.

Pub Date: May 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-78775-122-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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This guide to Black culture for White people is accessible but rarely easy.

UNCOMFORTABLE CONVERSATIONS WITH A BLACK MAN

A former NFL player casts his gimlet eye on American race relations.

In his first book, Acho, an analyst for Fox Sports who grew up in Dallas as the son of Nigerian immigrants, addresses White readers who have sent him questions about Black history and culture. “My childhood,” he writes, “was one big study abroad in white culture—followed by studying abroad in black culture during college and then during my years in the NFL, which I spent on teams with 80-90 percent black players, each of whom had his own experience of being a person of color in America. Now, I’m fluent in both cultures: black and white.” While the author avoids condescending to readers who already acknowledge their White privilege or understand why it’s unacceptable to use the N-word, he’s also attuned to the sensitive nature of the topic. As such, he has created “a place where questions you may have been afraid to ask get answered.” Acho has a deft touch and a historian’s knack for marshaling facts. He packs a lot into his concise narrative, from an incisive historical breakdown of American racial unrest and violence to the ways of cultural appropriation: Your friend respecting and appreciating Black arts and culture? OK. Kim Kardashian showing off her braids and attributing her sense of style to Bo Derek? Not so much. Within larger chapters, the text, which originated with the author’s online video series with the same title, is neatly organized under helpful headings: “Let’s rewind,” “Let’s get uncomfortable,” “Talk it, walk it.” Acho can be funny, but that’s not his goal—nor is he pedaling gotcha zingers or pleas for headlines. The author delivers exactly what he promises in the title, tackling difficult topics with the depth of an engaged cultural thinker and the style of an experienced wordsmith. Throughout, Acho is a friendly guide, seeking to sow understanding even if it means risking just a little discord.

This guide to Black culture for White people is accessible but rarely easy.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-80046-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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One of the funniest—and truest—books in recent memory and a must-have for fans of the poet laureate of human foibles.

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THE BEST OF ME

A welcome greatest-hits package from Sedaris.

It’s not easy to pick out fact from fiction in the author’s sidelong takes on family, travel, relationships, and other topics. He tends toward the archly droll in either genre, both well represented in this gathering, always with a perfectly formed crystallization of our various embarrassments and discomforts. An example is a set piece that comes fairly early in the anthology: the achingly funny “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” with its spot-on reminiscence of taking a French class with a disdainful instructor, a roomful of clueless but cheerful students, and Sedaris himself, who mangles the language gloriously, finally coming to understand his teacher’s baleful utterances (“Every day spent with you is like having a cesarean section”) without being able to reply in any way that does not destroy the language of Voltaire and Proust. Sedaris’ register ranges from doggerel to deeply soulful, as when he reflects on the death of a beloved sibling and its effects on a family that has been too often portrayed as dysfunctional when it’s really just odd: “The word,” he writes, “is overused….My father hoarding food inside my sister’s vagina would be dysfunctional. His hoarding it beneath the bathroom sink, as he is wont to do, is, at best, quirky and at worst unsanitary.” There’s not a dud in the mix, though Sedaris is always at his best when he’s both making fun of himself and satirizing some larger social trend (of dog-crazy people, for instance: “They’re the ones who, when asked if they have children, are likely to answer, ‘A black Lab and a sheltie-beagle mix named Tuckahoe’ ”). It’s a lovely mélange by a modern Mark Twain who is always willing to set himself up as a shlemiel in the interest of a good yarn.

One of the funniest—and truest—books in recent memory and a must-have for fans of the poet laureate of human foibles.

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-62824-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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