The warm, engaging memoir about how a transsexual woman and her family came to terms with her transition from male to female.
Best-selling author Boylan (English/Colby Coll.; I'm Looking Through You: Growing Up Haunted, 2008, etc.) started out life as a boy named James. She began cross-dressing as a young teen and kept her struggles with gender identity a secret throughout her adolescence and young adulthood. As James, Boylan believed that if a woman could love her deeply enough, she "would be content to stay a man." She eventually did marry and became the father of two boys. But when Boylan turned 40, she knew that she had to make "the thing [she] felt on the inside visible” to the world and decided to undergo the painful process of gender transition. Remarkably, the woman she married decided to stay rather than seek "the love of some nice man," and her two sons accepted her as their parent with little difficulty. Boylan knew that she and her family had been "very lucky" to be able to maintain strong, loving relationships with each other throughout her strange and difficult journey. The more she embraced her new identity and life, however, the more she found herself questioning received notions of mother- and fatherhood. In an effort to broaden her understanding of these and related issues, Boylan talked to fellow writers (including Augusten Burroughs, Edward Albee and Ann Beattie), former students and others from across the straight-trans-gay spectrum about their experiences with marriage, family and parenting; she includes these interviews in what she calls "Time Outs" from her memoir. This informal investigation and her touchingly funny and always candid story work together to reveal the book's ultimate truth: that "to accept the wondrous scope of gender is to affirm the vast potential of life in all its messy, unfathomable beauty.”
Genuinely insightful through and through—a must-read for anyone interested in the trans experience.