Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Trans-Sister Radio

by Chris Bohjalian

I’ve been wanting to read this novel for a while. The recent news of Bruce Jenner’s transition led me to finally read it.

In a nutshell, this is the story of what happens when a man in a small town has a sex change operation. The story is told by four different characters:

• Dana Stevens, the transgendered college professor who is finally taking the plunge,
• Allison Banks, the schoolteacher who falls for Dana as a man and continues to support Dana as a woman,
• Carly, the daughter of Allison and witness to the events of the story, and
• Will Banks, Allison’s ex, who works for Vermont Public Radio.

This is their story, and it is rather complicated, as one might guess. Rather than give away the plot, I will say this: this is a novel about acceptance. It is about Dana accepting her true self, Allison accepting that loves comes in many shapes and forms, Will accepting the reality of his relationships with women, and the small Vermont town that refuses to accept Dana and Allison’s relationship.

I liked how Bohjalian tackles a complex topic by employing different points of view. I also liked that he addresses all of the different players and their reactions to Dana’s operation. Although the premise of Dana and Allison staying together post-op seems farfetched, I appreciated the places to which the author takes his characters and their feelings.

As always, Bohjalian does not disappoint.


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