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I'm Looking through You: Growing Up Haunted: A Memoir

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I'm Looking through You: Growing Up Haunted: A Memoir Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From the bestselling author of She's Not There comes another buoyant, unforgettable memoir — I'm Looking Through You is about growing up in a haunted house...and making peace with the ghosts that dwell in our hearts.

For Jennifer Boylan, creaking stairs, fleeting images in the mirror, and the remote whisper of human voices were everyday events in the Pennsylvania house in which she grew up in the 1970s. But these weren't the only specters beneath the roof of the mansion known as the "Coffin House." Jenny herself — born James — lived in a haunted body, and both her mysterious, diffident father and her wild, unpredictable sister would soon become ghosts to Jenny as well.

I'm Looking Through You is an engagingly candid investigation of what it means to be "haunted." Looking back on the spirits who invaded her family home, Boylan launches a full investigation with the help of a group of earnest, if questionable, ghostbusters. Boylan also examines the ways we find connections between the people we once were and the people we become. With wit and eloquence, Boylan shows us how love, forgiveness, and humor help us find peace — with our ghosts, with our loved ones, and with the uncanny boundaries, real and imagined, between men and women.

Review:

"Boylan, an English professor, novelist and memoirist (She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders), tells of growing up in a haunted house in Pennsylvania, where phantom footfalls and spectral mists were practically commonplace. This was a fitting-enough setting for young Boylan, then a boy who longed to become a girl. 'Back then I knew very little for certain about whatever it was that afflicted me,' she writes. '[I]n order to survive, I'd have to become something like a ghost myself, and keep the nature of my true self hidden.' In 2006, years after her sex change, Boylan returned to her childhood home with a band of local ghostbusters as she struggled to reconcile with her past as James Boylan, as well as her memories of family members she'd loved and lost there. This memoir is better suited for those interested in broader human truths than in fact (a disclaimer in the author's note explains that she's taken liberties in service of the story); readers in the former category are in for a treat. Boylan writes with a measured comedic timing and a light touch, affecting a pitch-perfect balance between sorrow, skepticism and humor. In spite of the singularity of Boylan's circumstance, the coming-of-age story has far-reaching resonance: estrangement in one's own home, alienation in one's own skin and the curious ways that men and women come to know themselves and one another." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Jennifer Finney Boylan's 'I'm Looking Through You' might be classified as a whimsical, confessional, semi-fictional ghost story and sex-change memoir. It's a sequel to the author's best-selling 'She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders,' which described her transition from male to female at the age of 43. That book focused on Boylan's transformation and how it affected her family and friends. This new... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Jenny Boylan's I'm Looking Through You ranks right up there with Mary Karr's The Liar's Club and Tobias Wolff's This Boy's Life as one of the finest literary memoirs of the last several decades. Like these, it's a haunting revelation of the human heart, its terrible longings, its fears and joys, the secret recesses where we most truly dwell. How alike we all are, down this deep." Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Empire Falls

Review:

"This is one of those imperfect yet highly intriguing books where we find ourselves rooting for the author. The need to be understood and accepted by other human beings shines through oh-so-clearly." Oregonian

Review:

"Even more astonishing is the way the writer...hops between the past and the present, creating...a resonance that actually feels like haunting." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"As a woman who used to be a man, the author is the personal embodiment of an absence and a presence, and so she comes to this conceit with a rare understanding." Chicago Tribune

Review:

"[A]all the sadness woven through the book makes perfect, poignant sense." Seattle Times

Review:

"An adventure to read, this is highly recommended." Library Journal

About the Author

Jennifer Finney Boylanis Professor of English at Colby College and the author of the bestseller She's Not There, as well as the acclaimed novels The Planets and Getting In. A three-time guest of The Oprah Winfrey Show, she has also appeared on Larry King Live, Today, and 48 Hours, and has played herself on ABC's All My Children. She lives in Belgrade Lakes, Maine.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780767921749
Subtitle:
Growing Up Haunted: A Memoir
Author:
Boylan, Jennifer Finney
Publisher:
Broadway
Subject:
Novelists, American
Subject:
Ghosts
Subject:
General
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Supernatural
Subject:
Unexplained Phenomena
Subject:
Novelists, American -- 20th century.
Subject:
General Biography
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20080115
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9.30x6.42x1.01 in. 1.19 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Transgender
Metaphysics » General

I'm Looking through You: Growing Up Haunted: A Memoir Used Hardcover
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$13.95 In Stock
Product details 288 pages Broadway Books - English 9780767921749 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Boylan, an English professor, novelist and memoirist (She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders), tells of growing up in a haunted house in Pennsylvania, where phantom footfalls and spectral mists were practically commonplace. This was a fitting-enough setting for young Boylan, then a boy who longed to become a girl. 'Back then I knew very little for certain about whatever it was that afflicted me,' she writes. '[I]n order to survive, I'd have to become something like a ghost myself, and keep the nature of my true self hidden.' In 2006, years after her sex change, Boylan returned to her childhood home with a band of local ghostbusters as she struggled to reconcile with her past as James Boylan, as well as her memories of family members she'd loved and lost there. This memoir is better suited for those interested in broader human truths than in fact (a disclaimer in the author's note explains that she's taken liberties in service of the story); readers in the former category are in for a treat. Boylan writes with a measured comedic timing and a light touch, affecting a pitch-perfect balance between sorrow, skepticism and humor. In spite of the singularity of Boylan's circumstance, the coming-of-age story has far-reaching resonance: estrangement in one's own home, alienation in one's own skin and the curious ways that men and women come to know themselves and one another." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Jenny Boylan's I'm Looking Through You ranks right up there with Mary Karr's The Liar's Club and Tobias Wolff's This Boy's Life as one of the finest literary memoirs of the last several decades. Like these, it's a haunting revelation of the human heart, its terrible longings, its fears and joys, the secret recesses where we most truly dwell. How alike we all are, down this deep."
"Review" by , "This is one of those imperfect yet highly intriguing books where we find ourselves rooting for the author. The need to be understood and accepted by other human beings shines through oh-so-clearly."
"Review" by , "Even more astonishing is the way the writer...hops between the past and the present, creating...a resonance that actually feels like haunting."
"Review" by , "As a woman who used to be a man, the author is the personal embodiment of an absence and a presence, and so she comes to this conceit with a rare understanding."
"Review" by , "[A]all the sadness woven through the book makes perfect, poignant sense."
"Review" by , "An adventure to read, this is highly recommended."
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