A considered and compassionate manual about transgender identity.

WHEN GENDER IS IN QUESTION

A GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING

Sherkin blends personal experience with practical advice in this guide to transgender allyship.

When the author’s adult child came out as trans, Sherkin was initially filled with apprehension because she didn’t know very much about transgender identity. However, through her experience with her son, co-author Hagen, she came to learn—and grow—a great deal. This book is her attempt to share what she discovered and demystify the transition process for cisgender readers. “If you respond to difference with judgment, fear, or anger, the energy of that will impact the cultures around you,” writes Sherkin. “Respond with acceptance and respect, and that will be the tone of your impact.” The author starts readers at square one, explaining nuances of sexual identity, gender identity, sexual orientation, and what it means to transition. She also goes into the challenges that transitioners can face in the home, the workplace, and in society at large. Hagen contributes memoiristic sections while psychotherapist co-author Seidl provides psychological perspectives. Short testimonials from other trans people are scattered throughout the text, which serves to illustrate the diversity of experience that exists in the trans community. The prose throughout is straightforward, with a professional, reassuring tone. The authors keep the focus on the fact that transition is a process to be celebrated while acknowledging that initial steps can be confusing both for the trans person and their family. “Regarding my own transition,” writes Hagen, “there is no real clear beginning, and I really don’t see any clear end. I’m not sure if that’s a trans thing as much as it seems to be a human thing. How do you know when you’re done growing?” The thoughts of a loving parent, a candid child, and a passionate psychotherapist combine in these pages to provide a comprehensive picture, answering most of the questions that people who are new to trans concepts might have. The authors are all Canadian, so the resource section at the back of the book may be of limited value to American readers, but the work is otherwise applicable to a wide audience.

A considered and compassionate manual about transgender identity.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-5255-7414-6

Page Count: 152

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Jan. 7, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 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 48 LAWS OF POWER

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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