Published by Beacon Press on May 1st 2012
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Gender Studies, Personal Memoirs, Religion, Scientology, Social Science
A stunningly original memoir of a nice Jewish boy who joined the Church of Scientology and left twelve years later, ultimately transitioning to a woman. A few years later, she stopped calling herself a woman and became famous as a gender outlaw. Kate Bornstein—gender theorist, performance artist, author—is set to change lives with her compelling memoir. Wickedly funny and disarmingly honest, this is Bornstein's most intimate book yet, encompassing her early childhood and adolescence, college at Brown, a life in the theater, three marriages and fatherhood, the Scientology hierarchy, transsexual life, LGBTQ politics, and life on the road as a sought-after speaker.
Other than having the longest title ever, this is actually a fascinating and heart-warming book. For the most part this book was incredibly enjoyable and covered an extraordinary scope of topics without sacrificing the writing element.
Overall, this book is excellent, but let me start out with what bothered me, which was the apparent levity in which the author treats her eating disorders and the desire to cut.
I’m not talking about S&M here (which is also explored in the memoir), that’s a different issue – I’m not here to judge. But anorexia and cutting are serious issues that should be treated (or at least acknowledged) as such.
That being said, the apparent honesty and freshness in the way that she writes is amazing. Mark Twain believed that no man could ever write a completely true biography in his lifetime — or ever. Kate Bornstein has come as close as anyone ever will to doing that.
I already knew that there are assholes everywhere, but the passages relating to Bornstein being discriminated against at lesbian and/or feminism functions and the community just sadden me.
The passages concerning Scientology are fascinating, as there will always be when people speak out about notoriously closed societies.
Great for people with an interest in gender studies and LGBT rights/issues.
What about you, Reader? What are you looking for in a memoir?