Friday, February 22, 2013

Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite by Lianne Simon

Confessions of a Teenage Herma- phrodite by Lianne Simon

Book Name: Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite

Author Name: Lianne Simon

Genre/Tags: Contemporary, Intersex, Religion

Publisher: Faie Miss Press

My Rating: 4.75 stars

From the heart of an intersex teen, one who must ultimately choose male or female—family or true love—comes the story of a deeply emotional and perilous journey home. This is a young adult novel unlike any other—an authentic portrayal of the issues faced by a child growing up with a sexually ambiguous body.Jameson can be like other boys after minor surgery and a few years on testosterone Well, at least that’s what his parents always say. But Jamie sees an elfin princess in the mirror, and male hormones would only ruin her pretty face. For him to become the man his parents expect, Jameson must leave behind the hopes and dreams of a little girl. But what is so wrong with Jamie’s dreams that they can’t be her life?

                                                My Review                          

This book was gifted to me by the author Lianne Simon for an honest review.

I’ve never come across a case of gender disorders, either in books or in real life. So, this was an entirely new concept for me. At first, I was a little apprehensive about reading it but once I started reading, I realised that this is a poster book for “Don’t judge a book by its cover” or in my case, its title.  I loved the cover of this book.

In this novel, the author has told the life story of a hermaphrodite girl, Jamie. She was born with one testis and one ovary. Although the doctors designated her as a male in the birth certificate and her parents also expected her to be boy, Jamie had always been a girl at heart, an elfin princess. While she was growing up she loved to play with dolls, play dress up, and tea party. After her ninth birthday her parents banned her from dresses and tried to get her on testosterones. This story narrates the journey of Jamie as she struggles through her gender issues and tries to gain the acceptance of her parents. In Jamie’s own words, “I just wish me father will tell me that it is okay to be his daughter.”   Jamie's character is very realistic and immediately caught my interest from the synopsis. The book emphasizes a more emotional and mental turbulence of DSD (disorder of sex development) than confusion over the physical changes.

The supporting characters were also really great. I liked how Sharon & Lisa (Jamie’s friends) and Kaylah (her cousin) were supportive of her and encouraged her to be what her heart says( in this case, being a girl). The two love interests (Tyler & Sean) in this story are really sweet and totally swoon-worthy. They loved her and accepted her even after knowing her truth. Both are great guys for Jamie and I'm glad she finds her happiness in the end.

This book is set in 1970, with the backdrop of the Vietnam War. It also has a very strong Christian element in it. Jamie’s central dilemma is whether she should honour her earthly father by becoming the son he wants, or whether she should honour her heavenly father by becoming the person she was created to be. 

The story is written very well and accurately portrays the themes of love, sex, religion, friends, and family. Ms Simon has done excellent job writing about such a delicate topic beautifully. I definitely recommend this book to everyone.

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