Book Review: Transgressive

Title: Transgressive: A Trans Woman on Gender, Feminism, and Politics

Author: Rachel Anne Williams

Format: Netgalley Advance Reader’s Copy PDF

Published: 2019

 

Thank you to Netgalley for the advance reader copy in exchange for my honest book review!  This book is scheduled to be released on May 21, 2019!

I would like to note that this book is out of my normal wheelhouse of books.  This is a book of essays written by Rachel Anne Williams, a transgender woman, taken from her blog she writes.  I am not normally a fan of essays, but this book intrigued me and I was excited to be approved for the advance copy.

The author prefaces this book with letting you know to read the book however you want.  Since this was an ebook for myself, it was easiest to read it straight through.  She also asks for feedback and requests it come in the form of a “shit sandwich.”  What this means is you say something that wasn’t so great, add in a part or something you loved, and end with something else that needs a little work.  I appreciate this author and her quest for honest, constructive feedback.

The essays are categorized in similar groups and so they begin.  I had to Google a lot of things in this book.  As someone who does not know any trans gendered people, this was my first real introduction in to this world.  Suddenly terms appeared in the essays and I was clueless at what they meant.  This became frustrating to have to read with my phone nearby so I could look up new terms.  I did find that as I read and finished the book, many of the terms were explained in detail that I had to originally look up.  It would have been great to have those essays at the beginning of the book or at least an extra preface to terminology that someone outside of the transgendered world would not be familiar with.

Williams is a well-educated woman with a clear background in philosophy.  The way she writes is stunning and remarkable.  You can tell she thought about how she wanted to articulate herself.  I also appreciated that she made sure to clarify that this book is about HER experience, and her experience only, and that everyone’s experience is different.  I will say it was eye opening to learn about the process and what transgendered people go through.  If you are looking for an insight and are overall just curious, I must steer you in the direction of Rachel and this book.

I wanted to like this book more than I did, but, I found myself skipping over a few essays as they just went above my head.  It also frustrated me to have unfamiliar terms explained at the end of the book.  I know this also probably goes with the nature of an advance copy, but, there were footnotes that were all at the end of the book.  That made it difficult to read the footnotes, so I just gave up on trying, it would have been helpful to have them at the end of each essay instead.

I am giving Transgressive a 3.5 star rating.  It held my interest and I feel much better informed and understanding of issues and the process that surrounds transgendered people.  I also see the potential in the book to be very controversial.  You won’t be sorry if you pick this book up to read and you really can skip around and read essays in whatever order (my recommendation is start with the last category of essays first).  I hope to read more work from Williams in the future.

 

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