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Monday, April 22, 2013

Stuck In The Middle With You: A Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders

I haven't yet read Jennifer Finney Boylan's She's Not There (although it has been in my queue for some time), but I did pick up Stuck In The Middle With You: A Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders.

Almost a decade into her marriage, Jennifer made the transition into womanhood. She spent ten years as a father and the last eight as a mother, and in this memoir Jennifer digs deep in her heart and in her family to share how her transformation affected her family, for better or for worse. Still happily married to her wife of 18 years, Deedie, they are raising their two sons who almost men themselves. Interspersing her anecdotes with interviews about family with famous writers, this book explores what it means to be a parent, regardless of gender.

This book sat with me for a while after I finished it. Well, I should back up a bit and tell you that first I raced through the book. I really enjoyed it, quite tremendously, and I was shocked when I finished it in just three short days. I was that invested in Jenny's stories and thoughts that I felt it was just an extended dinner conversation. As I said, it sat with me for a bit after I finished. I am so thankful that Jenny opened her world and her family to me, the reader, and allowed me to be a fly on the wall for a bit.

I realize that the subject of transsexuals and transgenders makes some people uncomfortable--I love people who own who they are. Many of Jenny's thoughts have affected my view of things, such as what is the definition of gender neutrality (does it mean you get to be nothing or does it mean the freedom from making a conscious decision daily about whom to be?) or what it means to judge someone for their choice in partner when you yourself can't stand the sight of your heterosexual spouse. These are just a handful of nuggets that I took away from this book, and now you should pick it up for yourself and revel in the words of Jenny and her marvelous friends that she interviews in the interludes.

Kindle version on left, hard copy on right.

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