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Trans-Sister Radio

1 rating: 3.0
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1 review about Trans-Sister Radio

Does it All Come Down to Muscle Spasms?

  • Dec 3, 2008
  • by

This was the choice for our December book club and, as it turns out, the only reason I read it. Overall, it was a highly unpleasant reading experience because I had little interest in the subject matter. That's not to say the writing wasn't good and the characters weren't well drawn . . . it is to say, that the core of the story was completely outside of my comfort zone.

This is the story of a male college professor, Dana, who falls in love with an adult female student named Allie, just prior to his gender reassignment surgery. Set in a small Vermont town, when Allie decides to stand by Dana during and after the surgery, she becomes the town pariah. As a sixth grade teacher, Allie faces an unsupportive school administration and parents who pull their kids from her classroom. Meanwhile, her ex-husband, Will, and their daughter, Carey, are featured prominently through chapters of first person narration (interspersed with accounts from both Dana and Allie), and we learn about the evolution of their acceptance (and lack of acceptance) of the situation facing their family. Will works for the local public radio station and gets to the core of the story of the male to female transsexual and his female lover's decision to standby him/her for broadcast, and ultimately it's Carey who brings the story to NPR's All Things Considered.

I'm willing to bet it's the NPR angle that led my book club to this choice. Trans-Sister Radio succeeds at indirectly showing how the seeds of an extraordinary story comes to fruition on a respected show like All Things Considered; however, as for the story itself: Descriptive details of either male or female genitalia and the intimate act of coupling, for me made this book distasteful at best. Regardless of whether the sex acts were about male/female or female/female, throw a transsexual into the mix, too often it made me want to throw the book aside.  It was an odd feeling to juggle the concept of people wanting their private lives to remain private, and yet readers are given a magnifying glass to look inside AND know that the entire story was broadcast over the airwaves not once but twice.

Unless you have a strong interest in the subject of gender reassignment or you know a transsexual and would like to understand the mindset of this individual, I don't see any reason to spend time reading this book. If you're a public radio fan and want to know more about the inner workings of a radio operation, perhaps All I Did Was Ask by Terry Gross would be a better choice.

Trans-Sister Radio

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