Detransition, Baby|Review

Detransition, Baby Published 2021

“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?” – Goodreads

THOUGHTS

Wow. This book was hard to get through. Not because it wasn’t written well, because it absolutely was, but because it’s heavy and dark. It is very much character driven, focusing on these individual characters’ experiences, hardships and relationships.

This book follows two white trans women, so it should be noted that this isn’t an all-encompassing look at the life of all trans individuals. While this isn’t my first read with a trans character or author, it is my first with an adult trans character, something that I acknowledge and hope to rectify. I also acknowledge that I am reading this as a white, cis woman; this isn’t a book to check a diverse read on my TBR, but rather an acknowledgment of my place of privilege and areas to grow as a reader. As cis characters react, question and speak in this novel, it is easy to see that behavior in the world around us; I cringed and I googled to learn more mid chapters.

Something that I really appreciated about how this book was written, was that it’s told in alternating timelines, before and after conception. It’s more than the story of how a baby came to be, however; it’s about how the characters interact, come to know one another, their pre and post transitions, and their journeys to become parents, and more importantly – themselves.

This book will have you choosing sides and changing alliances as you become more familiar with the characters and their experiences. It is not what I would call a “happy” read, but it is beautifully written, and very powerful.

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