Coincidental to Abbas’s post a couple of days ago titled “Men are from Earth, and so are Women”, I was reading a fascinating and very moving book called “She’s Not There – a life in two genders”, by Jennifer Finney Boylan, co-chair of the Dept of English at Colby College in Maine.
Here is an excerpt from the book:
“I was looking forward to introducing Russo that evening. It would be my first official re-introduction to the college community since I’d switched from Regular to Diet Coke. I knew the reading would be packed, too, the room likely to be filled with a couple hundred people. It would definitely be an occasion. To make it stranger, everyone knew that Rick had been my best friend back when I was a man. As a writer–and as a man–Russo was something of a tough guy. Having his best friend turn into a woman hadn’t struck him as a great idea at the time.”
From the book jacket (other reviews can be found here):
“By turns funny and deeply moving, Jennifer Finney Boylan explores the remarkable territory that lies between men and women, examines changing friendships, and rejoices in the redeeming power of family. She’s Not There is a portrait of a loving marriage—the love of James for his wife, Grace, and, against all odds, the enduring love of Grace for the woman who becomes her “sister,” Jenny.
To this extraordinary true story, Boylan brings the humorous, fresh voice that won her accolades as one of the best comic novelists of her generation. With her distinctive and winning perspective, She’s Not There explores the dramatic outward changes and unexpected results of life as a woman: Jenny fights the urge to eat salad, while James consumed plates of ribs; gone is the stability of “one damn mood, all the damn time.”
In the New York Times – Janet Maslin wrote:
Although this story is by no means pain-free (one friend commits suicide), Ms. Boylan places her emphasis elsewhere. What she accomplishes, most entertainingly, is to draw the reader into extremely strange circumstances as if they were utterly normal. It’s easy to feel, as Mr. Russo apparently did, when being told by his friend’s doctor that sexual reassignment surgery and novel writing require similar precision.
More at Professor Boylan’s website.