Friday, October 4, 2013

Review - Trans-sister Radio by Chris Bohjalian

Book Summary from Amazon

Published August 2002

When Allison Banks develops a crush on Dana Stevens, she knows that he will give her what she needs most: attention, gentleness, kindness, passion. Her daughter, Carly, enthusiastically witnesses the change in her mother. But then a few months into their relationship, Dana tells Allison his secret: he has always been certain that he is a woman born into the wrong skin, and soon he will have a sex-change operation. Allison, overwhelmed by the depth of her passion, and finds herself unable to leave Dana. By deciding to stay, she finds she must confront questions most people never even consider. Not only will her own life and Carly’ s be irrevocably changed, she will have to contend with the outrage of a small Vermont community and come to terms with her lover’s new body–hoping against hope that her love will transcend the physical.

My Review - 4

If you want debate, choose this for your book club.  I thought this was a fascinating, thought provoking but at times uncomfortable book to read.  And to know this is reality for some makes it a wow moment, I feel a little shell shocked but I also feel more educated.

One of the debates is when should personal life be a factor for professional life.  Allison has fell in love with a transsexual while she is a school teacher.  Chris B was fantastic in the genuine characterization he used in the book for all involved.  The ex husband Will, daughter Carly, principle, parents, students and of course the couple themselves Dana and Allison.  Some of the advocates at school were out of order and made me realize a great reputation will not always win over decisions that truly should only be yours.

I enjoyed the style of the book, they used the transcript of radio clips and then we heard from different characters in the book in relation to how they were affected or their role in the process.  We get some details about the surgery, it can be uncomfortable to read, squeamish at times.

I loved how they alternated between calling Dana he or she, this proves as great debate also.  An interesting thought was if Dana had got in an accident and was castrated by mistake, many would be supportive but to choose castration, how could he. Very complex thoughts.  Allison has always been straight, now that her partner is no longer a man, is she gay, hmmm.

Every thought that you have while reading this, the author will touch on, amazing really.  I live in a small community and if this happened, I can see many reacting the same, news and radio for sure.  Unfortunately some of the judgments too.

My only issue was the ending and I think it just made me uncomfortable in so many ways which also makes me feel guilty.  It ended a little to quickly and neatly but then I think do I really want to know.

I highly recommend this one just for the heart wrenching, emotional but thought provoking adventure it take you on.



  1. I read this book many years ago and really enjoyed. I knew very little about transgender issues so I appreciated how the author explained things and handled the issue. Bohjalian is one of my favorite authors. I'm almost always impressed by his books.

  2. This does sound outstanding! I love the title and the cover too.

  3. This sounds like a thought provoking read. I have never read a book that tackled transgender issues. Great post!

  4. I haven't read much about the transgendered. I think I may be a little uncomfortable with the details. Which means I should probably read this book to educate myself!

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