A multifaceted, rich, and moving exploration of the trans experience.

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A Texan decides to have gender-affirming surgery in this memoir.

Jeremy Ivester was born as Emily in 1989. Growing up in Austin, he wanted to be one of the boys. He loved short haircuts, male clothes, and football, playing on teams where he held his own as the only one perceived to be a girl on the field. His idyllic tomboy existence was upended in middle school, where he was excluded by classmates as his gender nonconformity became more glaring in the midst of adolescent dating culture. He was further horrified when puberty gave him breasts and curves that felt decidedly unnatural. A decadelong process of self-discovery and self-adjustment ensued. Google searches helped Jeremy put the term “asexual” to his perennially misfiring dates and lack of interest in either sex. An MTV episode of True Life on gender-affirming surgery proved a revelation—maybe he could have the masculine body he dreamed of. After much exploration and equivocation—“I don’t necessarily feel like I’m a male….None of the pronouns feel right”—top surgery and hormones allowed Jeremy’s body to reflect his gender identity, and he experienced that quintessential rite of passage: chugging brews with male buddies, shirtless. (“I felt the sticky beer all over my chin and chest,” he recalls exuberantly.) His saga, penned by his mother, Jo Ivester, and based on interviews and Jeremy’s video diary of his transition, incorporates reminiscences in both their voices and those of his father, siblings, and in-laws. It’s not a traumatic coming-out story: Jeremy’s family and co-workers were generally supportive. But there is quieter drama as they all navigate uncharted emotional territory, with Jo feeling unspoken anguish that Jeremy has decided to forgo marriage and children and young Jeremy enduring the aching loneliness that many gender-nonconforming kids feel: “My throat hurt and my chest tightened, and I felt isolated and deserted as I thought about how long it had been since I’d hung out with my teammates like when we were little kids.” The result is a heartwarming story that anyone with a complicated life and identity can relate to.

A multifaceted, rich, and moving exploration of the trans experience.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63152-886-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: She Writes Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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