A visceral memoir that deftly explores Grace’s experience fronting seminal punk band Against Me! as well as the years she spent grappling with gender dysphoria.
From the time she was 5 watching Madonna perform “Material Girl,” Grace, who was born in 1980 as Thomas James Gabel, knew that she wanted to be a woman. Her father was an Army officer, and Grace’s family moved frequently. In 1991, Grace’s parents divorced, and she moved to Naples, Florida, with her mother. Frequently bullied by her peers, she turned to music as an escape. After playing in local bands and getting into the punk scene, Grace decided to create her own solo music project, Against Me!, which eventually grew into a successful and highly influential punk band. The author traces her band’s slow but significant rise to fame, discussing the many issues she faced as they rose—most significantly, the constant worry that the originally anarchist group was “selling out” as well as the debilitating substance abuse that went hand in hand with a touring lifestyle. Grace also explores her constant feelings of gender dysphoria, her attempts to suppress them, and, eventually, her realization that they were not going to go away, which ultimately led to acceptance. Throughout, the author’s voice is candid and raw, and she delivers a touching, occasionally heartbreaking firsthand narrative of what it feels like to be born in the wrong body. “By coming out,” she writes, “I indirectly triggered changes around me….People I’d known for years and saw every day cycled out of my world. It wasn’t that they were transphobic or unsupportive, it was just that things were different.” The book is also a revealing look behind the scenes at the music industry and what it takes, and means, for a band to “make it.”
A fascinating, gripping, moving memoir
perfect for anyone interested in learning more about gender identity or about
the complicated inner workings of the music business.