Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Book Review: For Today I Am A Boy

To celebrate the US Supreme Court decision that makes gay marriage a right, book club decided to choose LGBTQ as our genre for July! I wanted to read a transgender biography, but ended up settling on a fiction novel about a man who secretly, but not openly, wants to be a woman.

July 2015: LGBTQ

For Today I Am A Boy
By Kim Fu
2014
256 pages

Peter is a young boy growing up in small town Ontario. He has 3 sisters, and strict Chinese parents. Once in elementary school, the teacher asked the class to draw what they want to be when they grow up, and Peter draws a mommy. And then he keeps his desires to be a girl/woman hidden, buried, for decades. We follow Peter through elementary school, high school, through his teenage years, and finally to Montreal where he works as a cook. We meet people along the way who suspect, like his sisters, and those who don't, like his father (well maybe he knows), school friends, and colleagues. We meet two women who he has strange and stunted "relationships" with. We follow Peter's gender struggles, but also the cultural clash of a first generation Canadian. And we do all of this in weird semi-frequent time hops.

This is mostly a sad book. Peter is never happy, except for in the last sentence. It is an interesting look inside his head though, and an interesting journey to follow. It was an easy read (undetermined if this is a YA novel) and went quick. It plodded a little, but kept me interested enough that I kept turning the pages and starting new chapters when really I should have been going to sleep on a school night.

I don't know how to review this book. I was really enjoying it until the last page, and then it suddenly ended (the ending was satisfying, it was just, sudden). I think I expected to be along for then entire journey of transformation, but instead read through 200+ pages of sad Peter wanting to be something he can't be, and 1 page of Peter being a happy woman named Audrey. I was left wanting the bit that fell through the gap. But, for what it is, I'd recommend this book. Based on truth or not, it opened my eyes a little to the struggle people who are transgender face. It was...insightful. I think I need to read a good biography now though.


3 comments:

  1. For a good autobiography, read Redefining Realness by Janet Mock. For good fiction, read Nevada by Imogen Binnie or the stories in A Safe Girl to Love by Canadian author Casey Plett.

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  2. Also, "transgender man" describes a man who was assigned female at birth. The story you read is about a transwoman.

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