This was a really fascinating read by a well-spoken, intelligent woman with one hell of a sense of humor.
“My conviction, by the way, had nothing to do with a desire to be feminine, but it had everything to do with being female. Which is an odd believe for a person born male. It certainly had nothing to do with whether I was attracted to girls or boys. This last point was the one that, years later, would most frequently elude people, including the overeducated smarty-pants who constituted much of my inner circle. But being gay or lesbian is about sexual orientation. Being transgendered is about identity.”
Jennifer Finney Boylan, born James Boylan, knew her whole life that she had been born into the wrong body. She tried to ignore it, and focused on her belief that if she found the right person to love, and to be loved by, that it would “cure” the way she felt. So she got married to a woman (called “Grace” in the book) and had two sons. But she couldn’t shake the knowledge that she was lying to herself, and to her whole family. So she slowly began the incredible process of coming out to her family and friends and colleagues, and eventually had surgery to complete her transition to becoming a woman.
The book is really well written — Boylan has always been a novelist — and I particularly enjoyed the audio version, narrated by the author. It took me a little bit to get into it. She starts with a recent story (well, recent when it was published 10 years ago) about picking up some hitch-hikers in Maine that didn’t really seem to gel. But once she really starts talking about her life, I was hooked. She’s honest, about her own actions and about how everything she did (or didn’t do) affected her wife and kids. But she handles it all bravely and with a dry wit (particularly when it came to the surgery) that had me laughing out loud. It’s really a great read and I’m eager to check out the two sequels she wrote to it.