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Stuck in the Middle with You: A Memoir of Parenting in Three Gendersby Jennifer Finney Boylan
Synopses & Reviews
New York Times bestseller and acclaimed author Jennifer Finney Boylan returns with a remarkable memoir about gender and parenting, including incredible interviews discussing gender, how families are shaped, and the difficulties and wonders of being human.
A father for ten years, a mother for eight, and for a time in between, neither, or both ("the parental version of the schnoodle, or the cockapoo"), Jennifer Finney Boylan has seen parenthood from both sides of the gender divide. When her two children were young, Boylan came out as transgender, and as Jenny transitioned from a man to a woman and from a father to a mother, her family faced unique challenges and questions. In this thoughtful, tear-jerking, hilarious memoir, Jenny asks what it means to be a father, or a mother, and to what extent gender shades our experiences as parents. "It is my hope," she writes, "that having a father who became a woman in turn helped my sons become better men."
Through both her own story and incredibly insightful interviews with others, including Richard Russo, Edward Albee, Ann Beattie, Augusten Burroughs, Susan Minot, Trey Ellis, Timothy Kreider, and more, Jenny examines relationships with fathers and mothers, people's memories of the children they were and the parents they became, and the many different ways a family can be. Followed by an Afterword by Anna Quindlen that includes Jenny and her wife discussing the challenges they've faced and the love they share, Stuck in the Middle with You is a brilliant meditation on raising — and on being — a child.
"In a mixed-bag follow-up memoir to her previous account of transitioning from male to female (She's Not There), Boylan, who teaches writing at Colby College, Maine, enlists different perspectives by writers and others to explore in depth how parenting involves much more than birthing. Married to Deirdre 'Deedee' Finney Boylan for 25 years, with two biological sons now college age, Boylan records in engaging short narratives her complicated process of evolving as a parent, from being a father ('Jim') for six years, a mother for 10, and throughout embracing a 'flexible' and 'openhearted' approach that has proven remarkably successful and long-lasting. Boylan writes honestly about the enormous toll her transitioning took on the family, the sense of 'loss' they all suffered when she became a woman in 2000, the anxieties she and Deedee felt over the children's reaction to public censure, dread that the kids harbored their own dark secrets, and annoyance at other's people's inability to use the right pronoun. Moreover, several notable writers contribute chapters about subjects such as fatherhood (Richard Russo), being a misfit (Edward Albee), and motherhood (Ann Beattie). The jumble of voices closes with a surprisingly hard-hitting interview of the author and partner by novelist Anna Quindlen, who asked Deedee: 'When you look at Jenny, do you ever see Jim?' Agent: Kris Dahl, ICM." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“No other memoirist I've read so perfectly blends intimacy and witty remove, soul-searching and slapstick, joy and pain. As a child — or as a reader — one could not ask for a wiser, warmer, more engaging companion than Jennifer Finny Boylan.” Mary Roach, author of Stiff and Packing for Mars
"[A] warm, engaging memoir....This informal investigation and her touchingly funny and always candid story work together to reveal the book's ultimate truth: that 'to accept the wondrous scope of gender is to affirm the vast potential of life in all its messy, unfathomable beauty.'...Genuinely insightful through and through.” Kirkus
Bestselling and acclaimed author Jennifer Finney Boylan returns with another remarkable memoir about gender and parenting.
Jenny Finney Boylan told her wife that she was transgender when their two children were young, and as Jenny transitioned from a man to a woman and from a father to a mother, their family faced unique challenges and questions. In this thoughtful, tear-jerking, hilarious memoir, Jenny asks what it means to be a father, or a mother.
From the friends who support their new configuration to the woman who says she's "too close-minded" to let their sons continue to play together to Jenny's wife, their family grows and changes together in ways both utterly exceptional and entirely commonplace, as their sons turn into teenagers and a relationship of many years weathers illness, loss of parents, and a husband turning into a wife.
Through incredibly insightful interviews, Jenny examines relationships with fathers and mothers, people's memories of the children they were and the parents they had, and the many different ways a family can be. Jenny includes conversations with Richard Russo, Edward Albee, Ann Beattie, Augusten Burroughs, Susan Minot, Trey Ellis, Timothy Kreider, Anna Quindlen, and other parents and children discussing gender, how families are shaped, and the difficulties and wonders of being human.
Followed by an Afterword by Anna Quindlen that includes Jenny and her wife discussing the challenges they've faced and the love they share, Stuck in the Middle with You will be another classic.
About the Author
Jennifer Finney Boylan is the New York Times bestselling author of twelve books, including She's Not There and I'm Looking Through You. She is also a regular contributor to Conde Nast Traveler and the op/ed page of the New York Times and a professor of English at Colby College in Maine. She has served on the judging committee of the Fulbright Scholars, administered by the US Department of State.
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