Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Rethinking Normal

Rethinking Normal
(Image originally from Amazon, cropped by me to get rid of extra space)
Katie Rain Hill

(Trigger warnings for suicide, slurs, violence, transphobia, drug mentions, sex mentions, genitalia frequently mentioned, and rape mentions)

I can't summarize memoirs. Sorry. Look, it's about Katie Rain Hill, a trans girl who currently goes to college at Tulsa. The end. 

Reviewing memoirs is kind of weird, as I have said multiple times about reviewing things that are anything but strictly fiction. Am I judging your life to see if it's interesting enough? That would be weird. Frankly, if I wrote a memoir, I'd probably get one stars if we were judging on how interesting it is. But, anyway, onto the review.

As a non-binary person, it's good to see a book about being trans that isn't just anthropology (I have a simmering hatred for anthropologists, but that's not related) and sniffy phrases like "transgendered" and "man who identifies as a woman". If you read too much of that, no matter how nice it tries to be, you start feeling miserable. Your identity is picked apart piece by piece, given "explanations", and you go from a person to an "it". Anyway, I am so glad Ms. Hill wrote this.

The book tackles gender confusion and transphobia. I can't believe she can describe gender uncertainty so well. You have a bunch of things going on, and you don't know why. She talks a lot about genital dysphoria, which is important and does need to be addressed. However, I'd like to see a little more on baseline dysphoria, where something's just a little off. It's the fly that buzzes over your head as you work.

Another topic is depression. She had severe depression from age seven, and attempted suicide twice. Thank God she didn't. She got into the gritty parts that fiction doesn't want to touch on (Yes, latest book, depression is totally when all you do is cry but power through /sarcasm). Not bathing, not leaving your room, not even knowing what to do in life. But she doesn't write it like it's just her backstory and doesn't affect her anymore. It does. She notes that.

Really, none of the book was written in any way but relatable. Who's been on national TV here? Oh, look, one hand in the back. But she makes it feel as close to you as tripping on your own shoelaces. It feels like you've done it, now that you've read about it. I love that.

If there was one thing I wanted to see less of, though, it was sex mentions. I know, they didn't happen often, but there were a couple that could have been cut. Then again, I have no clue how important that kind of thing is to allosexual* people. Those wacky allos.

*Allosexual- someone who feels strong sexual attraction- opposite of asexual

(A note for the book- genderqueer is not the "in between" of male and female. That would be like saying every color is in between blue and pink.)

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