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Detransition, Baby
Detransition, Baby: A Novel | Torrey Peters
108 posts | 100 read | 2 reading | 80 to read
"An unforgettable portrait of three women, trans and cis, who wrestle with questions of motherhood and family making."--Andrea Lawlor, author of Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl "Emotionally generous, richly textured, and deeply intelligent."--Claire Lombardo, New York Times bestselling author of The Most Fun We Ever Had Reese almost had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York City, a job she didn't hate. She had scraped together what previous generations of trans women could only dream of: a life of mundane, bourgeois comforts. The only thing missing was a child. But then her girlfriend, Amy, detransitioned and became Ames, and everything fell apart. Now Reese is caught in a self-destructive pattern: avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men. Ames isn't happy either. He thought detransitioning to live as a man would make life easier, but that decision cost him his relationship with Reese--and losing her meant losing his only family. Even though their romance is over, he longs to find a way back to her. When Ames's boss and lover, Katrina, reveals that she's pregnant with his baby--and that she's not sure whether she wants to keep it--Ames wonders if this is the chance he's been waiting for. Could the three of them form some kind of unconventional family--and raise the baby together? This provocative debut is about what happens at the emotional, messy, vulnerable corners of womanhood that platitudes and good intentions can't reach. Torrey Peters brilliantly and fearlessly navigates the most dangerous taboos around gender, sex, and relationships, gifting us a thrillingly original, witty, and deeply moving novel.
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review
Taylor
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Pickpick

One of the best new novels I‘ve read. But one thing: there were moments when I felt nearly every character is a dickhead (jerk), and by the end I was outright laughing at how dumb they were being…. And I still kind of feel like they‘re jerks, though time has chilled me out on this view…I think it‘s pretty much undeniable.

Still though, that doesn‘t stop the book from being killer. And the characters‘ flaws make them human. (Mean though.)

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Taylor

I don‘t mean to be dramatic, but this is just the best book ever. If only they all could be this good.

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Taylor

Reese knows a lot of talented people—half the trans women in Brooklyn live in a state of perpetual pre-celebrity, awaiting a well-deserved recognition that will never come.

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ChaoticMissAdventures
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#manicMonday #LetterD @CBee
📚 Detransition, Baby
✍️ Cherie Dimaline
🍿 Death at a Funeral
🎤 Dean Lewis
🎶 Deliverance (Ry X)

CBee 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 3mo
23 likes1 comment
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Taylor

“When you get a divorce everyone expects you to provide a story to justify it. Every woman I‘ve ever met who has had a divorce has a story to explain herself. But in real life the story and actual reasons for the divorce diverge. In reality, everything is more ambivalent. My own reasons are closer to a tone than a series of causes and effects. But when I talk about it, I know people want a cause and effect, a clear WHY.”

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Sarahreadstoomuch
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Pickpick

I cannot wait for our book group meeting to discuss this book. Themes of gender identity, motherhood, family… all circle around Reese, a trans woman, her ex-lover Amy- now Ames as he has detransitioned, and Ames‘a pregnant lover Katrina. It suffers from pacing issues, but will live in my brain for a long time.

CarolynM I wish I‘d read it with a group - so much to discuss! 5mo
24 likes1 comment
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Jeg
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Mehso-so

Between a pick and a so so even though I didn‘t finish it. It was a bit too long for me. A great insight into trans life , what it means to be a parent. I volunteered many years ago on a queer counselling line. Part of training was meeting and talking with all sorts of people from the queer community. This book would have been good back then. We have come a long way but still a long way to go. 🌈🌈

CarolynM It would be a great book club book, lots to talk about. 5mo
18 likes1 comment
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mgschu
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Pickpick

maybe it‘s the covid brain, but i‘m not sure i loved this as much as everybody else did. would still recommend.

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tphil10283
Pickpick

It‘s a good story about people that are more complicated than what I imagine most people are. Although, I‘m not sure I‘m imagining correctly. It‘s informative and gave me some different perspectives on things and I always enjoy any book that does that.

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Brooke_H
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Just so incredibly good. Maybe the best book I‘ve read this year? We‘ll see.

CarolynM A contender for best book I‘ve read this year too. 6mo
25 likes1 stack add1 comment
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ChaoticMissAdventures
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#pridebookrec
T is for Trans
This is such a raw and heartfelt story. I don't read many books about motherhood but this one was excellent.
It is also the first book by a Trans author to be part of the Women's Prize for Fiction award.

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CarolynM
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Pickpick

Oh boy, what to say about this? From my very privileged position I feel totally unqualified to express an opinion about the issues it raises but I loved reading it & being given so many new things to think about in relation to gender identity, concepts of motherhood & the politics of queerness, both internal and external. Reese is such a vivid character she rather overshadowed the others but that is a small complaint.
#Doublespin

CarolynM @xicanti As a piece of queer literature does this book qualify for #gaymay? 6mo
Alfoster Great review! That‘s exactly how I felt about it!👍 6mo
CarolynM @Alfoster There‘s a lot that troubles me, but I keep coming back to the fact that I am & always have always been privileged. My ideas about gender & sexuality are a product of that privilege. I feel kind of humbled by the rawness & honesty of the book. 6mo
See All 12 Comments
Ruthiella Great review! This book also really got under my skin. I also loved how messy and raw it was. (edited) 6mo
CarolynM @Ruthiella Thanks, Ruth😘 I think it will stay with me for quite a while. 6mo
Chelsea.Poole Great review! 6mo
xicanti @CarolynM absolutely! 6mo
LeahBergen What a great review! 6mo
Jeg Sounds very much like something I‘d like to read. 6mo
Cathythoughts I love your review 👍🏻 6mo
squirrelbrain Fab review! I felt much the same about this book, but couldn‘t express myself as well as you do. 6mo
TheAromaofBooks Great progress!! 6mo
76 likes3 stack adds12 comments
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honeydew_reader
Pickpick

I usually avoid queer books because I often feel disappointed and isolated by how little they reflect queerness as I experience it BUT this book captured every gory detail I didn't think to ever share: every pain, every kink, every hope.

7 likes1 stack add
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unreal
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The question, for Reese: Were married men just desperately attractive to her?

#firstlinefridays

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AFrostCauseReads
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Pickpick

Interesting and full of drama. Definitely for a mature audience who can handle more than the standard sex scenes. It also touches upon a lot of transgender topics - maybe even too many. At times, I felt like the author was cramming in too much. I found myself agreeing with a lot, but also opposed some view points.

And there‘s parts I don‘t know how to feel about. I‘m looking forward to my book clubs discussion (as long as everyone is respectful)

Ruthiella I loved the overstuffed drama of this book and the conflicting feelings it provoked. 8mo
22 likes1 comment
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paisleyjess
Pickpick

I missed the book club discussion about this one and I really wish I hadn't because there is a lot to unpack! It is interesting, informative and all heart.

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Liz_M
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Photo taken from a hill across from the picnic house in Prospect Park.

BarbaraBB That is so cool!! 8mo
BkClubCare Whoa 5mo
28 likes2 comments
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JillR
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Pickpick

This was a very intense read. One I didn‘t always look forward to reading but was gripped by once I picked it up. A story of love, friendship and motherhood amidst the trans community; it made me uncomfortable at times, but feeling uncomfortable reading about something that is not your own experience is no bad thing.

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bekakins
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Pickpick

I can see why this has divided opinion, but I really enjoyed it! Some really fascinating insights…

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arlenefinnigan
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Pickpick

This is a fascinating book. The characters are both likeable and at times infuriating. It gets very messy. A really well written exploration of gender, motherhood and life not turning out how you wanted or expected.

CarolynM On my TBR 🙂 9mo
35 likes1 comment
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GerardtheBookworm
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Pickpick

Penned by a trans author, the novel is thought provoking and complex. Reese, a trans woman, breaks up with her girlfriend Amy, another trans woman, who is now detransitioning to a cis-male under the new name Ames. Complicating the situation is Ames impregnating his lover Katrina which changes the dynamic of family, love, sex, and relationships for everyone.

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AliD73
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Pickpick

I‘m not sure I can find the words to adequately describe how much I love this book and the effect it had on me. Parts of it made me laugh, parts of it made me cry, and parts of it made me question things I have been taught all my life about gender and relationships. I‘m glad I read this. In addition to being absorbed in and entertained by the story, I learned a lot. This novel is going to stay with me. Moving, thought provoking, outstanding!

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CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian
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Pickpick

The protagonist of this book, Reese, is one of those characters that I early on decided I would do anything for. I identified deeply and viscerally with Reese and her desire to be a mother, especially as I have recently become one. Peters' writing is brilliant: brutal honesty, keen insights, sharp jokes, nuanced characters, and thoughtful explorations of its themes of motherhood and trans community. This novel also has a perfect ending, IMHO.

Ruthiella I loved this book too. I totally look forward to Peter‘s follow up. 10mo
CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian @Ruthiella Yeah, what will she follow this with?? 10mo
46 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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Addison_Reads
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Pickpick

I have done absolutely nothing today except stay in bed and read this entire book. Once I started, I couldn't stop.

Reese, Ames, and Katrina have taught me so much. My heart broke for each of them in different ways as they struggle with what being a woman, and what being a mother, means to them.

I'm thankful to authors like Torrey Peters who are brave enough to write books like this one.

Suet624 A great way to spend the day. 10mo
45 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian
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"Heterosexual cis people, while willfully ignoring it, have staked their whole sexuality on a bet that each other's genders are real. If only cis heterosexuals would realize that, like trans women, the activity in which they are indulging is a big self-pleasuring lie" ???
#QueerBooks #LGBTQBooks #TransBooks

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arlenefinnigan
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#ReadHarder challenge 3: any book from the Women‘s Prize shortlist/longlist/winner list

24 likes1 stack add
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CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian
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I love starting a new book that I'm really excited about
#QueerBooks #LGBTQBooks #TransBooks

42 likes2 stack adds
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KatieDid927
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kspenmoll Nice collection of books! 11mo
51 likes1 comment
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Djspens
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My girls know me so well, I‘m blessed with the best 🥰 #grammaslibrary #cozychristmas

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MicheleinPhilly
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Mehso-so

This is the epitome of a so-so read for me. There were times I loved it and times I hated it. It is messy and chaotic and sometimes confusing. I‘m glad that I read it and that it forced to me reckon with discomfort in a lot of ways but I‘m glad it is over.

TrishB That could exactly be my review. 12mo
MicheleinPhilly @TrishB She‘s a talented writer and it certainly gave me a lot to think about but reading it felt laboring - no pun intended. 12mo
BarbaraBB I know what you mean. She wanted too much in one book. 12mo
49 likes1 stack add3 comments
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Lindy
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Sometimes an online author conversation has an intimate magic that isn‘t conceivable as a live onstage event. That‘s what the Calgary Wordfest event with Torrey Peters and Casey Plett was like: two trans women talking about craft, nurturing trans creativity, and about why they write work intended primarily for trans readers.

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kera_11
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This book is a beautiful conversation on queerness, transsexuality, fluidity, womanhood and motherhood. While I didn‘t love all portrayals in this book, I think it was an important narrative that trans people don‘t owe the world anything, they can be flawed, they can make bad choices, and they can choose to live as their authentic selves or not like everyone else. Not a plot driven book but very much worth a read. Pls look up trigger warnings.

BkClubCare Great points. I am glad that I read this. I thought it a fun and educational read. 13mo
8 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Kazzie
Pickpick

Good! Was really interesting and a deep look into an area of fiction that hasn‘t gotten wide stream attention. I liked that the ending was open to interpretation. I also really appreciated the frank discussions on motherhood and pregnancy

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Suet624
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Just in case anyone wants to hop on the VSC zoom call. October 14.

40 likes1 stack add
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ClairesReads
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Pickpick

Detransition, Baby blew me away. It‘s an authentically, genuinely voice novel that explores notions of gender, our relationships with motherhood, and the way these intensely personal parts of identity are so enmeshed in our social interactions and relationships. I really appreciated how this novel helped me to better understand how identities different than my own battle with the experience of motherhood, without presenting this in a didactic way.

BarbaraBB The right review with the right book 😃 (edited) 1y
ClairesReads @BarbaraBB yes! I think my phone got confused because I posted 2 so quickly! 1y
36 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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Kiralyn
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“The past is past to everyone but ghosts”

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Kiralyn
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Lots of books here I‘ve been meaning to read for a while. I started with Detransition, Baby. Very excited to have this paired down list to choose from this fall. Although, I did just start the Broken Earth trilogy— oops 😅 #fallreading #readinglist

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SamAnne
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Bailedbailed

Just not my cuppa. Not enough plot and all over the place. I rarely DNF a book even when I should, but I have too many other great books I‘m reading right now to spend more time on this one.

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HeatherBookNerd
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Mehso-so

Mixed feelings... There are several facets of queer and trans identities that are explored in this book and it gave me PLENTY to chew on. The book is unapologetically queer in every way. But the writing, the structure, the lack of plot, the shifts in tone - it was just all over the place. It felt like the book was mostly an opportunity for Peters to espouse any ideas or opinions that interested her. Worth reading but didn‘t quite work for me.

BarbaraBB I agree it was a bit of a mess. 1y
HeatherBookNerd @BarbaraBB it felt like it needed some wrangling 1y
BarbaraBB Yes or less plot. NF would have been fine too! 1y
Suet624 I‘m with you. And @BarbaraBB (of course). 😎 1y
BarbaraBB @Suet624 Haha 👯‍♀️ 1y
45 likes5 comments
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Libby22
Pickpick

So good!

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Karmapen
Pickpick

My favorite book of the year so far. What a gloriously queer and millennial piece of writing. I remember listening to an interview with comedian Cameron Esposito and she said that there are some things that can only be written by people of a certain experience because “they‘re specific”, and the SPECIFICITY of this book to me was breathtaking. Adored it.

Nutmegnc Great thoughts. Thanks for sharing. I just started this one! 1y
10 likes1 comment
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batsy
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Pickpick

This is a tough book to review & sum up, but I'm very glad I read it. From the initial pages I felt it reach into my mind & shake things up in there in terms of my perspectives on gender presentation, feminism, & sexuality. My main issue is that the writing was sometimes awkward & overdetermined, & in the second half Katrina & Ames seemed like vessels for Peters' ideas instead of fully-fleshed characters. But I understand why, on one level.

batsy I get why the novel has more "telling" than showing & I don't mind it because an author's style is one that best suits the book they're writing. Hard & fast fiction-writing rules are usually pretty restrictive. But here you could sense that underlying the novel, Peters has a bit of a polemic or a manifesto in her, one that could be pretty amazing in exploring trans perspectives on gender. If she ever writes something like it I'd love to read it. 1y
sarahbarnes Great review! I hope to read this one soon! 1y
See All 6 Comments
nathandrake1997 Brilliant review ❤️ This was the book I was the most interested in from the longlist and I was waiting for the paperback to release because the hardcover is quite expensive 😅 but after reading your review I want to read this right away ❤️ 1y
batsy @sarahbarnes Thank you! I look forward to your thoughts 🙂 1y
batsy @nathandrake1997 Thank you, friend! I would love ti know what you make of it. It's an intriguing and extremely necessary book, imo. 1y
111 likes6 stack adds6 comments
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AnneCecilie
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Pickpick

Reese wants to be a mother more than anything, but knows that as a trans woman she will never have her own children. One day her ex, Amy, calls. The ex is now calling himself Ames and he tells Reese that he and his girlfriend are expecting a child. Ames suggests that Reese raise the kid with them.

A book about motherhood and wanting your own kids. The book also tells about being trans and the trans community and gave me plenty to think about.

BarbaraBB Great review 1y
59 likes1 stack add1 comment
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BarbaraBB
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We‘ve said a lot about Detransition, Baby last week that goes for the book as a whole. If you have thoughts about the second half, please share them!

It‘s time to vote for our June winner in our own #CampToB. The official June winner will be announced next week. Please vote in the comments!

Next week we‘ll discuss the first half of Klara and the Sun, a book I‘ve personally been looking forward to!

Cinfhen Easily, my choice is 1y
Suet624 I really liked the discussion that Rosecrans Baldwin and Kwesi Junsan had on the TOB post. I think Kwesi really summed it all up for me. My choice is 1y
See All 25 Comments
KarenUK I liked both, both unlike anything I‘d read before (in different ways) but No one is talking about This, is my vote. 1y
vivastory I can't wait for Klara & the Sun! It's one of my most anticipated books of the yr. Unfortunately I haven't had a chance to finish Detransition, Baby. Based off of what I have read so far (I am enjoying it) I am leaning more towards No One Is Talking about This. 1y
squirrelbrain Sorry I missed most of the discussion last week on Detransition Baby. I agree with @KarenUK - both unlike anything I‘d read before. Really liked Detransition but No One is Talking About This is one of my favourites of the year so far so that gets my vote. 1y
Well-ReadNeck I read Detransition, Baby all at once. I absolutely loved this novel. So many issues about family and how family is made. I also enjoyed learning about Detransitioning, which I knew nothing about. It also leads onto much of the LGBTQ conversations on SM about Dad vs Mom and how those roles feel different regardless of the gender of the person doing the parenting. Another recalling interesting book re: LGBTQ parenting is Krys Malcolm Belc‘s 1y
Well-ReadNeck My vote enthusiastically goes to 1y
AceOnRoam I am going to vote for Detransition, Baby. I DNF No One is Talking About This - unfortunately, I just couldn't get into it. 1y
Chelsea.Poole Loved them both actually. Learned so much from Detransition but deeply moved by and voting for 1y
Chelsea.Poole @Well-ReadNeck I just borrowed and looking forward to starting 1y
batsy I gave this book 4 stars on GR because it's absolutely necessary in terms of themes, ideas, complex issues. But as I went into the second half of the book I grew more distant from it because Ames & Katrina appeared more as vessels of the arguments/ideas that Peters wanted to put across & less as fully-fleshed characters. The writing became clunkier. I agreed with a lot of points that Kwesi made, though we had opposing reactions to the two halves! 1y
batsy *vessels for 1y
batsy I vote for Detransition, Baby 1y
BarbaraBB @batsy I agree with you that the plot and the characters in the second half were mostly a tool to tell a story that needed to be told. Maybe I should have read it in one go, but I didn‘t because of #CampToB and felt a bit let down by the second half. I would have preferred a NF book. Therefore my vote goes to 1y
Simona Both books were so-so for me. No One is Talking About This because of the narrative technique, and Detransition, Baby because of the writing style …. but my votes go to … simply because I loved the story more 🤷🏻‍♀️ 1y
emilyhaldi I will vote for the only one I managed to read 🙃 1y
MicheleinPhilly I didn‘t read either one. Shocker. So sadly, I must bail on yet another activity. Stupid responsibilities. 😠 1y
BarbaraBB So far it is 9-6 in favourites of 1y
cariashley Finally finished this! I have to say @batsy your comment is spot on and I felt the same about the second half. That being said this book made me realize how uninformed and underread I am on trans issues, and overall had more of an impact on me than the Lockwood. So I vote for 1y
BarbaraBB @sarahbarnes @Cathythoughts @rsteve388 @Kalalalatja @Flaneurette If you read the books and want to vote, please let me know before Wednesday 🤍 1y
BarbaraBB @MicheleinPhilly I feel sorry for you ❤️. You want to be tagged in next month‘s read or is it just frustrating for you? 1y
57 likes25 comments
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AnneCecilie
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That sounds like some hug

Reggie Lolol 1y
56 likes1 comment
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BarbaraBB
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Pickpick

How little did I know about trans feminine culture? I learned so much reading this book about gender and the vulnerability of trans women. The eye opening makes this book a pick for me, but the plot didn‘t add much to be honest. #CampToB

alisiakae Have you seen the syllabus of reading Roxanne Gay has to go along with this book? It‘s a great list of resources for further learning! https://docs.google.com/document/d/1UidWXSDHI3KjTQlowb-_RY-v1JAzghKAMpCeCs9PBRY/... 1y
Jas16 That was exactly how I felt about this book. 1y
85 likes3 stack adds3 comments
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AlexGeorge
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Pickpick

So, I loved this book. It is funny, brave, acerbic in all the best ways, and made me (it felt, anyway) a smarter person by the end of it. For the assured voice and deft and insightful characterization it reminded me of THE MOST FUN WE EVER HAD by Claire Lombardo, and you won‘t get much higher praise for me. One of the best novels I‘ve read this year.

Alfoster Yes! I loved both these books too!❤️👏 1y
25 likes1 stack add1 comment
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ChaoticMissAdventures
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#curiouscovers #pink
One of my favorite books so far this year.

@eggs @Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks

Eggs 🌸📚💗 1y
22 likes1 stack add1 comment
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BarbaraBB
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#CampToB

Detransition, Baby is the story of Reese, a trans woman who wants a child; Ames, Reese‘s former partner who detransitioned; and Katrina, a cis woman who knows nothing at first about Ames‘s history.

The book shares a lot of intimate details about what life is like for its trans community and we all probably can connect to one of them in one way or another. What did you think so far of the book (the first half)?

vivastory I'm going to be late weighing in on this one. I misplaced my copy & just received my library hold. 😬 1y
Cathythoughts I‘m hoping to start , but my reading is all over the place at the moment 🤦🏼‍♀️… not good …. Thanks for including me 🙏 1y
Ruthiella I think a lot of the first half for me was orientating myself... I had never read a book with such an intimate portrayal of trans-characters. I guess as with Katrina, there was a lot I had to take on board. 1y
See All 16 Comments
BarbaraBB @Ruthiella So did I, I hadn‘t realized much of the things Reece and Ames feel. I now am about to start the second half! 1y
Cinfhen I read this book about 2 weeks ago, so I don‘t remember part 1 vs part 2 but I will say, the book did not appeal to me. I thought the writing was very mediocre, the dialogue unpolished and the plot pretty implausible. Pet Peeve: disliked the celebrity name dropping and all the brand placement. I give credit to Torrey Peters for sharing her truths & inviting us into her life. She raises interesting questions about family units, motherhood etc (edited) 1y
Simona For me it was painful to read about vulnerability of this community, about all the difficulties they are exposed to in their everyday life ... and as @Ruthiella I had never read a fiction book with transgender characters, and I must say that this book feels to me more real and honest than NF book by Janet Mock ... 1y
emilyhaldi I haven‘t gotten this from the library yet so I‘ll probably skip it… especially after @Cinfhen ‘s review 🙃 1y
Cinfhen I think I‘m in the minority @emilyhaldi there are LOADS of Littens who loved DeTransition, Baby 🤷🏼‍♀️Hope you‘re feeling well xx 1y
Suet624 I‘m mostly with @Cinfhen. I gave the book an overall so-so. Now weeks later I‘m not sure I can even remember much of the plot. Even while I was reading it I had trouble remembering who she was talking about. (“Which character is this again? I‘m confused.” Sigh.) It was definitely eye opening though. I learned quite a bit. 1y
batsy This book is really stretching my mind in all kinds of directions. I had to highlight so many passages 1y
batsy Sorry, I hit send too soon 👆🏾 What's really thought-provoking for me is getting a deep dive into a trans woman's ruminations about gender & gender presentation, especially femininity. It makes me question every single thing that's taken for granted. I'm finding this a really thoughtful read. 1y
BarbaraBB I am only halfway and read the first half a few weeks ago. I mostly forgot about it but I do look forward to the second half. Like @batsy and @Simona this is a deep dive for me into gender and the vulnerability of transgender persons. That makes it a worthwhile read by itself. The name dropping @Cinfhen mentions doesn‘t bother me since I didn‘t even notice lol. I probably don‘t know these people - or maybe I‘m getting to it in the second half! 1y
Chelsea.Poole I‘m with @Ruthiella — so much was uncharted territory for me in this one. I love to be “put in the shoes” of someone else and this certainly did that for me with these characters who happen to be trans or detrans. I love it when a book can open my eyes to a whole new way of being/experiencing the world. Empathy-building! 1y
Chelsea.Poole I also love what @batsy said about taking things for granted. Trans people have to fight so hard for even the smallest of things. Eye-opening. 1y
BkClubCare I enjoyed this and learned a lot. A LOT. A yes, to that vulnerability, also the sad explanation of elephant behavior and the tragedy of suicide. At the same time, it was funny and sassy and a lot of fun to read. And I don‘t recall the name dropping! So that must have gone over my head? (edited) 1y
cariashley I‘m behind - just started it! But already feeling some of the same sentiments others are mentioning. It‘s a totally new and immersive perspective. 1y
56 likes1 stack add16 comments