a bird and a bottle


Bean’s Bookshelf – The First Man-Made Man
March 18, 2007, 1:12 pm
Filed under: bean's books

As an avid reader (when law school is not sucking up all of my time), it’s odd that it’s taken me this long to discuss books I want to read in this space. That changes now. Periodically, I will post a review of a book I have read and enjoyed or of one I want to read. I hope you’ll all share your thoughts on the book, if you’ve read it, in comments.

Here’s the first installment.

SF just sent me today’s NY Times Review of The First Man-Made Man: The Story of Two Sex Changes, One Love Affair, and a Twentieth Century Medical Revolution. Despite its cliche title (“Girls Will be Boys”) the review is fine, but that’s not what really what interests me here. It’s the book itself that has grabbed my attention.

The book, by Pagan Kennedy, tells the story of the first female to male (FTM) transsexual who is on record as having undergone sex reassignment surgery. Michael Dillon’s story was one of scientific invention, but, at least per the review, it was also one of a search for identity and a familiar tale of of spurned love.

A book like this runs the risk of being objectifying or insensitive but the Times reviewer promises that Kennedy avoids those pitfalls. One other potential trap, which the reviewer does not note, is that of the story being too formulaic — from the review, I fear that the book will take an interesting life and cram it into a cliched form.

That said, I’ve only just ordered the book, so this is all conjecture. I’ve got my fingers crossed that it won’t present any teeth-gnashing moments that rely more on stereotypes than on truth.

This isn’t anything formal (though if you’re looking for a more formal, but rocking, blog book club, Amanda has started one over at Pandagon), but I hope some of you will read along with me so we can discuss in comments.

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