This book was on my radar because I was looking for something to meet a reading challenge prompt of: a novel by a Trans or non-binary author. Thanks to Goodreads, I found this book and saw the amazing reviews it had. It ended up being a tough, emotional, absorbing look at what it’s like to be Trans in the world today. I would highly recommend it.
Wendy is a Transgender woman who was raised in a Mennonite family and is struggling with her place in the world as well as the revelation that her beloved, late grandfather may have been Trans as well. Her struggles with her identity, job, and relationships keep her from exploring her family’s past but soon she can’t ignore how important the truth is to her existence.
When looking for a book for the challenge, I read a lot of different blurbs and looked at a lot of different books but this one caught my eye based on the grandfather’s past story line. It’s a shame then, that this book was barely about that story and more about Wendy’s personal struggles. It’s also surprising that despite this, I found myself thinking about this book days after I read it and appreciating how raw and real it felt. This is a book that does not shy away from the struggles of transgender people, even those who have a loving support system as Wendy does (or as loving as it can be given her background). This is not an easy book. It was difficult to read about someone who seems content on self-destruction and making bad decisions, even as you are hurting for her and her friends. I could imagine this being a very difficult read for Trans people but also a relief that someone is writing about their lives in an honest, visceral way. There aren’t a lot of happy moments and the few that are in the book are fleeting. You feel Wendy’s pain while rooting for her to find some happiness and that, to me, is the sign of a good character. This book will stay with me for a while.
This is a heavy book, filled with scenes of sadness and tragedy. At the same time, there is an honesty and a hopefulness to it that is hard to describe. I would recommend this book members of the Trans community as well as cisgender people who are wanting to know more about what it’s like to be Trans.
“Wendy wanted to be loved. However easily she might have abandoned or ruined her prospects, Wendy did still believe she would have love.”
Author: Casey Plett
Rating: 5 Stars