I enjoyed this book very much. Bohjalian manages to take a controversial and, to some, off-putting topic and imbue it with humanity and immediacy. Not an "issue," but a personal (albeit socially constructed) struggle, the subject of transsexualism is handled deftly in this touching novel. I anticipated the "twist" at the end, but enjoyed watching it emerge, nonetheless. For some petty reason, the entire time I was reading this book I was distracted by wondering whether the NPR plot feature was devised merely to justify the book's exceedingly clever title.
What an incredible book! I was touched by the clarity and depth of the characters. Their individual complexity and the power of the whole is undeniable. I felt Dana was particularly well portrayed. Dealing with Transsexuality and gender differences is always difficult, but Bohjalian handles it remarkably and I was thouroughly impressed.
Well-written story of a MTF (male-to-female) transsexual who falls in love with a heterosexual woman *just before* he plans to undergo his sex-reassignment surgery. Tastefully told. Interesting plot twists. I enjoyed this book
Interesting premise but definitely not my favorite Bohjalian book. A lot of the plot - namely, the relationships between the key characters - just didn't ring true. This could have been a much better read than it was... I was disappointed.
with trans-sister radio,you will take a look of human characters with issues larger than they are. tackling here the explosive issue of gender.
this book was impossible to put down, you will love allison banks and university professor dan stevens.
Excellently written bok. Could hardly put it down. Wonderful depiction of what a community can tolerate when someone totally different enters the scene and begins a relationship with a well-respected schoolteacher. Highly recommended.
Interesting concept, made good reading during my vacation because I enjoyed it but it wasn't too hard to put down. Those expecting juicy sex scenes will be disappointed, but the story is more about relationships, including a love triangle or two. I agree with another reviewer who wondered if the whole National Public Radio element was brought it purely justify the punny title (which came first, the book or the title?). However, I can only give it three stars because of the ending, which I found ridiculous, like M. Night trying too hard for a big twist. The book would have been better without it.
Bohjalian gives a face and reality to the issue of "gender dysphoria" -- the notion that one has been born into a body with the wrong gender -- with his odd love story between a Vermont college professor who falls in love with a woman just as he is about to make the surgical transition to the female body he believes he was destined to inhabit. Bohjalian says a lot of things about the nature of love, the "straight" community's discomfort with (or active dislike of) transgendered individuals, and sometimes provides TMI about the surgery itself. There are indeed moments here that will make you squirm, but there are also many moments that will make you think. He loses points for setting up a truly odd love triangle at the very end, which Constant Reader has seen coming for a while, but kept hoping wouldn't develop.
In brief, Allison falls in love with Dana the man. Dana reveals what he has known since childhood - She is a woman in a man's body. And she will soon undergo surgery to correct nature's mistake.
This book could have been a hot mess. Instead, the author tells a compassionate and tender story that asks some important questions about identity. What defines us? Does the soul have gender? What is gender?
An honest book you will interact with on many levels.
This book was a real page turner! It is written about a subject that I am sure would make an excellent read for book clubs! A great deal to discuss and comment on! The book is narrated by 4 different characters, which makes it very interesting and kept me turning the pages wondering what next! After reading this book, I am going to read past books by Chris Bohjalian.
This book on transgendered relationships was very interesting. I really enjoyed it. The plot, however, was a bit predictable, but the characterizations struck me as realistic. And I thought that the rather delicate subject matter was handled well. The detail on the surgery was a little - well, more than a little - graphic, but it was an important part of the story, even if it was not for the squeamish. I think Bohjalian is a very talented writer and I really enjoyed this book!
I am a Chris Bohjalian fan. I came across Midwives less than a year ago and have been working my way through his entire body of work since then. He is a great story teller but I think his real gift is his choice of stories to write. He is able to take material that is fascinating in itself and draw characters that are interesting,yet flawed.
In this particular effort, Bohjalian introduces us to a few characters who deserve a book of their own--Carly and Allie have so much more to tell us. By focusing on the small part of their lives that is Dana, we get a glimpse of great characters leading very complex and challenged lives. I feel like I have to know more about who these people are...before and after Dana. Hopefully, Bohjalian feels just as invested and will revisit them.
This is a fine book, although I agree that the ending stretches a bit. Of course, it really is not the end. Is it?
This was such a fantastic look at the world of transgender and transsexual people, and at gender dysphoria. The NPR story telling format was also a nice change from your usual book style. I was hooked and fascinated from page one!
A very well written look at gender dysphoria. Very well drawn characters who you want to come out of this not just ok, but "all right!!!" Bohjalian pulls you in at the first page and won't let you go. I read it in one day, 342 pages, so it is a quick and fascinating read. I highly recommend reading this one. It is nothing like any other book I've read.
How can you not love Chris Bohjalian? Not one of his best books, but a great read nonetheless. The ending was a bit far-fetched, and I don't understand the purpose of Carly as a character. Other than that, I enjoyed the thought-provoking nature of this book. At some parts you will get so mad! Then you stop to think, would I act in the same way? I wish more authors were willing to take on subject matter like this.
i loved this book. i was amazed at how he could write from a teenage girls' point of view. this is a beautiful story about a relationship between a girl, her mother, her mothers boyfriend who decides to transition, and the world. i couldnt put it down and plan on reading it again.
I was expecting edge-of-the-seat tension like in Midwives, and instead found myself in the most unexpected plot lines, all based, of course, on human relationships, with a trans-sexual in the middle of it all. A book for either men or women, read aptly by Judith Ivy.
When schoolteacher Allison Banks develops a crush on university professor DanaStevens, she knows that he will give her what she needs most: gentleness, kindness, passion. Her daughter Carly enthusiastically witness the changes in her mother. But a few months into their relationship, Dana tells Allison his secret: he has always been certain that he is a woman born into the wrong body, and is considering a sex-change operation. Allison, overwhelmed by the depth of her love, finds herself unable to leave him, but, by deciding to stay, she must face questions most people never consider. Not only will her own life and Carly's be irrevocably changed, she will have to contend with the outrage of her Vermont communtiy and come to terms with her lover's new sense of self - and hope that their love will transcend their ingrained notions of what it means to be a man and a woman.
A story about a divorced woman who falls in love with a transsexual man (who is going to have reassignment to become a woman). Interesting look into the transgender issue, but lacking. I found the relationships to be unbelievable, esp the twist at the end of the story. It's just not realistic. Can be graphic at times, & was gripping in places, but overall, just OK for me.
I am giving this book one star because the writing and story itself was gripping and well crafted. However, the ending was miserable, unrealistic, and such a cop out. I was so pleased to read a book that really looked at transgender relationships, and to end the book in the way he did left me feeling like he abandoned his subject to appeal to the heterosexual book buyer.