12 February 2010

f2m: The Boy Within

by Hazel Edwards and Ryan Kennedy

Ford Street Publishing. Austalian, Young Adult. Paperback rrp $19.95

Guest Reviewer - Jo Burnell

Coming of age is about finding yourself. People of all ages face identity crises at some stage in their lives. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard the phrase; ‘they don’t know the real me’. We all shelter behind facades at times, but Skye’s dilemma goes much deeper. She believes she’s in the wrong body.

Hazel Edwards and Ryan Kennedy have pulled off a world-first with their funny fictional portrayal of a previously taboo subject. Gender Identity Disorder or people who are transgender are often misunderstood. It’s too easy to regard them as cross-dressers or homosexuals in denial. f2m opens doors to understanding while providing a fast-paced down-to earth read.

Skye plays guitar in an all-female punk rock band, even though she feels male on the inside. Her first person viewpoint lets me inside her head as she decides to change gender. I’m there as she faces unimagined conflicts, squirming with her as she tries to work out a way to break the news to family. How do you choose between everyone and everything you love and an unknown future with a changed identity? There’s no escaping that totally lost feeling when you are neither fully female nor male. The heart aches when friends don’t seem to understand.

Which box would you tick and which public toilet might you use if you were in transition: male or female? Although many transgender issues are contemplated, f2m is so much more than a book about changing sexes. It’s a story of self-discovery and courage.

f2m doesn’t skirt around the edges. Medications and their powerful, irreversible effects are described without censure. Details of body-changing operations are included.

Is it really worth it? f2m provides answers to questions people don’t dare ask. It also hints at the unanswerable. Anyone who faces identity crisis is on a voyage to discovery. When do you know you’ve finally arrived?

f2m gives entry into a previously inaccessible world. Skye is real. Her dilemmas are no less life altering than mine. Give it a try. f2m blew my mind.


Click here to read all about the Book Launch.

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