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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well researched and powerful book !
I found this tragic and touching story of Brandon Teena very difficult to stop reading once I started. I found it equally difficult not to be distressed after reading it. Jones provides a wealth of information on the killings of Brandon, Philip Devine and Lisa Lambert and the individuals involved in their brutal murders. Although at times there seems to be almost too...
Published on August 18, 2000 by Tim Onyschuk

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50 of 59 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly written by someone with NO clue about gender issues
I have to echo previous complaints about the atrocious grammatical and spelling errors throughout this book as well as the overall poor and directionless writing. Most appalling, however, is the complete lack of understanding Jones shows when it comes to transgendered people and the queer community in general.
I was at a gathering of trans activists remembering...
Published on March 27, 2000 by Amazon.com Reviewer


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50 of 59 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly written by someone with NO clue about gender issues, March 27, 2000
This review is from: All She Wanted (Mass Market Paperback)
I have to echo previous complaints about the atrocious grammatical and spelling errors throughout this book as well as the overall poor and directionless writing. Most appalling, however, is the complete lack of understanding Jones shows when it comes to transgendered people and the queer community in general.
I was at a gathering of trans activists remembering Brandon a year after his murder at which Jones got up and spoke. Her entire speech was a self-promoting, buy-my-book ploy peppered with "she" and "Teena" references, with no acknowledgement whatsoever that Brandon was transgendered. One prominent trans activist, Leslie Feinberg, left the stage as Jones continued on, returning later to denounce Jones's lack of awareness.
After being present for this, I knew Jones's book was going to be very poorly done, but since it's the only book so far about Brandon, I decided to buy a used copy - so as to not give any of my money to Jones - to learn the facts of the case. To be honest, many of the details are still unclear to me because of the muddled way in which the book was written. If you really just want the details and don't mind wading through the terrible writing to get to it, I suggest you get this book at a used bookstore, through Amazon's auctions or Zshops, or at a library rather than to further line the pockets of someone who just doesn't get it.
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65 of 82 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars **Don't Judge A Book By its cover**, July 1, 2000
This review is from: All She Wanted (Mass Market Paperback)
I bought this book in a book store and it looked very interesting. The back of the book had a very tantalizing introduction. It gave me the impression that this was a book about someone who gave up their entire identity to become a man; of someone who went into complete seclusion never to look back on their past. The book itself wasn't nearly as interesting as the introduction on the back cover. For many reasons. The author devoted many chapters on people surrounding the crime (their upbringing and other details.) I wish the focus would have been solely on Brandon Tina. Also, in the end I was hoping to hear about what happened to the 2 killers. But it didn't discuss their sentencing. There was also a lot written about transgender activism and hate crimes. That is all well and good but it also took away from the story. I often found the book rather boring mainly because the author really didn't make me feel like she was "in the know." It read more like a newspaper article than a book. "'...everything was too good to be true.' Yes, it certainly was." Very ironic last 2 sentences given the fact that I only bought the book based on its sensational cover and introduction.
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32 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre and Unskilled Writing, March 21, 2000
This review is from: All She Wanted (Mass Market Paperback)
Aphrodite Jones relates Brandon's story in an extrordinarily trite and amateurish manner. This book sorely needs both copyediting and proofreading. Jones includes too many dull details of peripheral characters and events that do not propel the story forward. Also, there is an appalling number of spelling and grammatical errors. A reader should expect that the purchase price of a book includes the publisher having made the book readable and free of silly errors. The life and untimely death of Brandon Teena are fodder for a fascinating study of human nature. It's unfortunate that Jones did not exhibit any depth or insight whatsoever. This book is a huge disappointment on many levels.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Narrative Identity Crisis, September 22, 2004
This review is from: All She Wanted (Mass Market Paperback)
It is unfortunate that, upon reading this book, one will automatically-- perhaps even subconciously-- compare it to the movie that tells the same story. Though they both chronicle the life and death of the same person, comparing them is like comparing the Book of John to the Passion of the Christ.

This in mind, I did my very best to approach the book objectively. To both my surprise and dismay, it worked. The narrative style departed enough from the movie to develop the author's distinct voice. However, that voice seemed to have been going through puberty because the narrative is scattered and vacant.

In her introduction, Jones tells us that her narrative has been pieced together from police reports and interviews with those involved. As I read this book, it became apparent that Jones took much of the exposition nearly verbatim from these reports and interviews. The narrative voice runs the gambit from colloquial to formal. What's worse, the author seems to have put some effort into a paragraph or two every few chapters which shows us she has the ability to write well, she just isn't using it. I read this whole book hoping that Brandon Teena would find peace and the narrative would find its voice. Unfortunately, neither did.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well researched and powerful book !, August 18, 2000
By 
Tim Onyschuk (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: All She Wanted (Mass Market Paperback)
I found this tragic and touching story of Brandon Teena very difficult to stop reading once I started. I found it equally difficult not to be distressed after reading it. Jones provides a wealth of information on the killings of Brandon, Philip Devine and Lisa Lambert and the individuals involved in their brutal murders. Although at times there seems to be almost too much information to process, Jones does a good job in tying all of the characters together and the events that lead to the murders.
Jones presents the material in a fairly objective manner by including the childhood troubles of both Brandon Teena and her attackers Nissen and Lotter. Brandon's conflict's evolved around her sexual identity crisis and her struggle to live her life as a male. Nissen came from an extremely dysfunctional family and Lotter suffered from neurological defects. Rather than just present the victim's side she challenges the reader to think about how society helps to produce vicious and cowardly killers like Lotter and Nissen and how we fail to protect defenseless people like Brandon. Much of the information includes subtle evidence on the lack of family support and understanding for both Brandon and her killers. As a parent I couldn't help but think that this tragedy could have been avoided . For example, when Brandon telephoned home after being abducted, brutalized and raped why in God's name didn't someone go and get her out of that environment! Lisa Lambert, basically a stranger, was the only person who tried to help her but paid the ultimate price for her kindness. In addition, Charles Laux, the sheriff at the time, had more than reasonable grounds to arrest the suspects after the rape and before they murdered Brandon a few days later. Unfortunately he chose to disregard Brandon's safety and failed to act. Part of his unprofessional and brutal interview/interrogation of Brandon is included in the book and demonstrates the sheer inhumanity of his response to Brandon's plight.
After reading this book, some will see it as a commentary on the hatred shown toward groups such as transgenders, of which Brandon Teena was a member. I chose to see it as a story of how we failed Brandon, a vulnerable soul, by not helping her along the way to wherever she was headed - as a male or a female. This story of Brandon's life and death can teach us much about how we live our lives, not as single individuals but as families and communities.
To help fill in the gaps you can obtain the 1998 documentary-Brandon Teena . It was worth the few extra dollars and shows that at least one of the police officers of Falls City was prepared to help Brandon but was prevented from doing so under the authority of Laux. The video, Boys Don't Cry, also provides insight into the loving, if not confused, person of Brandon Teena.
Find out about Brandon and help give her life the dignity it deserved but didn't get in her 21 short years.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice complement to Boys Don't Cry, March 30, 2001
By 
Desiree Koh (Chicago, Illinois, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: All She Wanted (Mass Market Paperback)
All She Wanted is one step above the usual check-out counter mass-market true crime novels, yet as with this genre, it left me unsatisfied because it couldn't answer the multitude of questions the life of Brandon Teena left me with.
I decided to read this book because I was fascinated by the film, Boys Don't Cry. It was disturbing, but I also felt that there must be a bigger story to Brandon than just what the movie portrayed. Within that context, the book did its job well. However, here's the problem: perhaps the book did its job so well that I found myself gravitating towards renting the movie again as I got to the end -- I missed the romanticism of it. The movie tried to make you feel for Brandon, and the book tried to make you understand the reality of his situation -- and the two just don't come together well at all.
But overall, I am all the more informed for having been exposed to both sides of the story. Jones's writing is nothing spectacular, but then again, it wasn't like I expected it of her.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I've read better articles in Parade magazine, March 30, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: All She Wanted (Mass Market Paperback)
The book is terrible. Terribly written and terribly edited, not to mention horribly researched. The book's subject is a fascinating and compelling one, but Aphrodite Jones can't make it worth my time to finish more than a few pages without wanting to scream in frustration.
I must admit that as an editor, I find countless typographical and grammatical errors in most of today's published works. But this book doesn't even seem to make an effort at being correct...one minute Teena's grandmother is called Francis, the next she's called Frances, the next she's called Francis again. Minor point, maybe, but still frustrating.
The movie, while it takes some liberties with the story, is still way better than this piece of garbage. Spend the money renting the movie instead!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Researched... but lacking info on Brandon, March 12, 2002
This review is from: All She Wanted (Mass Market Paperback)
I have been fascinated with the Teena Brandon story ever since I saw the movie Boys Don't Cry. This books totally gives a different tale then the motion picture. Aphrodite Jones is a very respected investigator and author and I feel she put a lot of effort in researching for this documented story. She goes into depth about each individual involved in Teena's life, especially around her late teens/gender bending stages, as well as the rape and murder it self. Yet the book doesn't give to much depth into Teena Brandon herself. I didn't get much out of the book as to whom Brandon really was. I understood her/his actions and some of her life's history, but I finished the book with a sense of not knowing the victim herself which is what I was seeking. Also the author makes a notation in the beginning that majority, NOT ALL, of the story in the book is true which didn't help much with seeking to find out the truth of Brandon. If you are interested in the hard core evidence of the crime behind her death and the people involved then this is a great documentary for you. The book also includes some great pictures never seen about people that weren't even mentioned in the movie.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story, serviceable rendering, April 2, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: All She Wanted (Mass Market Paperback)
I thought this was an interesting story, since the subject is defenitely different from your average true crime offering. I'd say the book is one of those mass market sensationialistic types, adequately written insofar as it's easy to read, keeps your interest, and moves along quickly. But, in keeping with this genre, it unfortunately lacks depth. It pretty much reports the facts, without delving significantly into the characters' psyches or motivations. In fact, by the end of the book I had very little sense of who Teena Brandon was; the apparent contradictions in her character of being sensitive and caring to lovers vs. being self-serving, irresponsible, and unethical to everyone else (including society) went unexplained and unilluminated. I would have liked to understand her more, since the real point of this book is not so much the crime of her death (which is not very complicated and is swiftly accounted for) but rather the strangeness of her life.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars strikingly real, enthralling, November 17, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: All She Wanted (Mass Market Paperback)
I read this book after seeing the movie "Boy's Don't Cry" 3 weeks ago. I fell in love with Brandon the moment I picked up the book. Aphrodite Jones did a wonderful job on this book, and the movie made it all the more real. I highly recomend the book and movie.
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All She Wanted
All She Wanted by Aphrodite Jones (Mass Market Paperback - October 1, 2002)
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