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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Book Review: The Letter Q

The Letter Q: Queer Writers’ Notes to Their Younger Selves
Edited By: Sarah Moon & James Lecesne
Format, etc: Hardback, 2012

So an author, Sarah, got together with the creator of the Trevor Project, James, and decided to do a non-fiction book on a simple premise – what would you say to your (sometimes much)younger self to say that everything will be okay? They then took this idea to five dozen GLBT authors and artists and came up with a collection large enough to make this book.

I’ll admit, I have no need for this book. (Truth be told Q is my favorite letter of the alphabet and the cover grabbed me.) But when I saw it at the library, I was intrigued. I wanted to know what these people needed to say.

As far as the letters themselves… here’s the thing. I was expecting something…less mainstream. But the letters all just basically say “Hey, life will be good, everything will be better, push through the crap you’re dealing with now,” which isn’t a bad thing, but. Very few of these letters actually address GLBT issues directly. And like I said, that’s not a bad thing, but since that’s the point of the book, I was sort of expecting a little more of it. Also, the letters all sort of blend together after a while. After you read a handful of them, there aren’t any extra gems of wisdom, and since they’re letters to the author’s self, some of them don’t really apply to anyone else. I read the intro paragraph of a couple of them and then skipped on to the next one.

Another issue that I had with this book is that I didn’t really know who a lot (okay most) of these people were. I think that it would have made a little more of an impact for the people to have been better known so that the people reading the book could be like “Oh, if made it…”

Still, I think that for a teenager dealing with GLBT issues (the book’s actual demographic), that the book will be helpful. Because of that, I’m torn with giving it a number. If the book fits, It’s a 5/5, but if the book doesn’t, it’s barely a 3/5.

trevor-project-image-31

If you need help, call the helpline.  Remember, you *are* important
and loved and you will make a difference in this world…

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