7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
What a surprising read. I remember hearing about this and being surprised, to say the least. Then I read more and thought "well, it's a woman living as man, kinda sorta, but it's a man... wow, that's confusing". I first will say that I think reproductive organs should, in fact, have some say in your gender, but at the end of the day, who really cares? If Thomas feels more like himself as a man, did it legally (pretty intense step for someone to take I would think), then more power to him. He isn't hurting anyone. His wife, Nancy, seems happy to be with him, his kids will only know that he loves them.
Do I agree with him? I dunno - but do I have to? Does it truly matter what you or I think? I have tremendous respect for he and his wife for talking about their unique circumstances. I would gladly shake his hand and consider him a good neighbor. He seems like a genuinely good guy who is trying to make his own way in the world, like the rest of us.
I was amazed at how well written this book was. I lived in Hawaii for several years in the mid-90s and he took me back there again, to the beaches, to the roads of Honolulu, to the outstanding beauty. But more than that, it felt honest. I never thought he was glossing over anything, not even about his own family. This was written from the heart with a lot of feeling.
My heart does go out to Thomas and Nancy, and I hope the hub bub of their recent announcement of another baby dies down quickly. I understand and respect their decision to go public, but I also worry about the crazy people in this world. Even people I consider friends have said things that made me do a double-take.
While I've always been ultra liberal, some of this story pushed even my own boundaries, but ya know... at the end of the day, it doesn't matter. He's happy, she's happy. What business is it of mine, really?
Give it a read, it did give me some unique insight into Thomas. An extraordinary story for sure.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2008
Two things stand out in this book: the normality of the Beatie family, and "the system's" astonishing resistance to their desire for children.
Normal? Sure. Thomas had a difficult childhood, but so do lots of people. Thomas became legally male by choice - slightly less common, but still a choice a lot of people make and succeed at. Thomas and Nancy love each other, built a marriage and a business together, and wanted children.
In the second half of the book, we learn what happens when this all-American couple tries to have a child. There's one minor issue... well, it should have been minor. Thomas has female reproductive organs, and Nancy doesn't. So, with typical American make-it-work-ism, they decide that Thomas will carry their baby.
This is the shocking part of the story: not the "pregnant man," but the reaction of institutions that should have supported this family, or at least remained neutral. Several doctors sabotaged their attempts to get donor sperm. Other health care professionals broke confidentiality, eventually forcing the Beaties to make their story public before people they cared about heard it from the rumor mill. Gay, lesbian, and transgender organizations withdrew support. Some Americans threatened them with death - though their neighbors were supportive.
The story of the Beaties is simply heartwarming: a couple triumphs over a tragic childhood and technical difficulties to have a loving family and a baby. But the story of the reaction to them is uncomfortable reading. This book will make you think. I highly recommend it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2009
I just finished this book and I loved it. It was very interesting from beginning to end. He writes about his childhood, his family and on up until he has the baby. I can't believe what a bad childhood he had, but at the end, it made him who he was and now he'll be one of the best fathers out there. This book made me cry at times, and I don't usually cry that much. But knowing this is a true story, you can't help but feel for him.
I saw Thomas and Nancy on Oprah and People magazine. I always supported them and couldn't understand why people had such a problem with them wanting a baby. I am very happy for them and am very proud that they didn't let society's negativity stop them from fulfilling their dream of starting a family.
I highly recommend this book if you like true stories that are different and are about people facing huge obstacles, but somehow finding a way to get through them. Nancy and Thomas are so brave and I wish them nothing but the best.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2013
I just finished reading this. This is, I think, the third transgender memoir/autobiography I've read, and they were all good, but I think this is my favorite. Only the last few chapters are really about his pregnancy, though of course that's the biggest thing that stands out about this book -- the other authors didn't get pregnant. That's the superficial draw, though. This book stands out because it's really a story about love, all kinds of love, but especially parental love. The title is appropriate. This book is the story of one man's search for love. But Thomas Beatie himself is filled with love, and you can sense it on every page.
For those trans folks looking for a book that won't depress them, I cannot guarantee that this is the book. The ending is both happy and sad. There's a thread through the entire book of the sadness of Thomas Beatie's relationship with his family and a cold, unaccepting world. He finds in the end that the family he grew up with is very antagonistic, but he ends by creating his own family, one where he can finally have the love he got so little of growing up.
(Spoiler alert.) Though I am not trans, I could really relate to Beatie's description of growing up. He doesn't say it exactly, but I see his father as a sociopath, while he depicts his mother as the polar opposite. She commits suicide, and it's obviously caused by his father who physically and emotionally abuses her as well as Thomas. Which is pretty crazy to think, in itself: your beloved mother kills herself to escape your evil father. Imagine that. And he figures his father hated him for not being a feminine girl, though with his abusiveness, it's hard to imagine his father loving him - or anyone, even the son he strongly favors. And his father commits both his mother and him to a mental hospital merely because they're depressed - which is essentially his fault in the first place. You'd think his father should be committed to an institution - maybe prison! While I didn't have anyone so deeply hateful or intentionally cruel in my family, I can relate to this experience of abuse and severe dysfunction in the family. I find the way Beatie describes it very relatable. Like Beatie, I spent my childhood and adolescent years dreaming of how much better of a parent I would one day be than my parents. When my dad spanked me, I had fantasies of growing up and beating him up. I remember very clearly the time my dad raised his fist to threaten me with a hideous scowl on his face - horrified at how clearly he hated me in that moment. Though not as extreme, my dad also favored my brother over me, and my brother would use this to his advantage and cry just to get my dad to punish me. Though my dad was far from being a sociopath, I had such a very similar experience in some ways, which made me feel for the author even more. It was kind of healing for me reading this. And while my own mother was far from being the mother figure that Thomas's was to him, I found mother figures elsewhere in the women I was attracted to. I thought of some of them as angels. I was looking for that love I never got growing up. Discovering that someone I loved also loved me was such a huge moment for me. I see Thomas Beatie on a similar journey - looking to become the father figure he never had; looking for love in all the boys who came to him, including the (ex)boyfriend who raped him; looking for the love he got from his mom and lost when she died.
And by the way, he mentions that he's a descendent of a U.S. president, making this a very American story. Like me, he's half-white and half-Asian American. How's that for irony? Descendents of U.S. presidents... committing suicide, being physically abused and raped... actually, not surprising. That's the American legacy.
In addition to loving, Thomas comes across as very courageous. Not in the sense that privileged people like to tell the oppressed, "you must be so brave." But I see him as a really strong person - it really takes one to choose to get pregnant as a post-transition trans man with M on his legal documents. That never occurred to me until I read this book. I had heard of his famous story, and I don't remember much except hearing that it was a hoax. There was a sense that maybe this was someone who was just trying to get attention. I think I remember once reading a website claiming the pregnant man was an artist who had created this hoax just for art or something. But it's really not like that at all - this was a brave man standing up to a lot of scrutiny from the world, as well as his cold-hearted family members. It was really the attention that came to him, not the other way around. He had virtually one but his wife to trust through this pregnancy. Even the transgender community had no love for him - they were scared of what the world would think of a pregnant trans man, scared of the negative attention it would be given by the public. And more than standing up to the media storm, Thomas describes a powerful, genuine desire to protect others from the world's cruelty. That's one of the qualities that'll make him a great father. Don't you wish you had a father like that? Funnily enough, this whole story makes me feel a bit protective of the author, and I kind of want to punch his father and put handcuffs on him. Same with the violent boyfriend.
I'm currently dating a trans guy, and I've never had a lover who was so mature and intelligent and manly, who understands the cruelty of the world so well. Thomas Beatie reminds me of my boyfriend, too. I think I'm drawn to people like that - who love others so much more because of how harshly the world has treated them. They've sought for love so hard, they value it more than others do.
So if you want to read a sobering love story, read this book. If you want to read something powerfully, achingly honest, read this book. Better yet, BUY this book and support the author and his family.
Thank you, Thomas Beatie, for being a trailblazer.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2011
On one level, this is the story of a loving couple and their journey through pregnancy. On another level it broaches some really important legal and medical questions about how we see ourselves, our gender, and others who are different from us. Our cultural institutions enforce some fierce dichotomies when it comes to gender and sexuality: male/female, gay/straight, married/single--but what happens to people who don't fit neatly within the lines, either physiologically or psychologically? A strong community supports the pursuit of liberty and happiness in all of its members--not just the ones who can comfortably and honestly check the "correct" boxes. This book leads us to consider the most personal of personal identity questions in a frank and reasoned way--by a humble and gracious author whose strength of spirit is an inspiration.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2008
What a great book! I had previously seen the Oprah episodes featuring this extraordinary family and was attracted to reading this bio once it passed into my hands because of the medical anomally the pregnancy's circustances created. In that respect I got my money's worth, but I also discovered a more humanistic theme throughout the book. There is probably no other family in the world like this one, but Thomas Beatie creates a story that tells about universal struggles which all people face, whether they be straight, gay, transgender, young, old, male or female. To me, it is the story of a person's desire to have a family in their vision and to live their life boldly, no matter what opposition there may be and to inspire others to do the same. Labor of Love: The Story of One Man's Extraordinary Pregnancy
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2008
I have a different perspective on this amazing story because I knew Thomas years before he became his own man and met the love of his life. It's very easy for people who never met the Beaties to stumble over the 'fantastic' elements of their life, but what I witnessed first-hand was a sincere person humbly and fearlessly living out life as he found it. Thomas is an honest and kind person who only went public to help society to grow; But mostly I think he wrote this to help those struggling with painful identity issues to have some hope and dignity in their own lives. I salute his and Nancy's courage! If you have an open mind, a sincere heart, and are willing to outgrow your preconceptions, then this book will expand your life. We should ALL have love like this family has found. Aloha!ALOHA Where You Like Go?: From Survival to Satisfaction by Honolulu Taxi
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2008
This book will surprise you with its depth of humanity and inspiration. The story is captivating and well told- an excellent read. There's so many details in this book not previously known to the public. A lot of people will see themselves in Thomas. At the core of it, his story is universal in his fight for love and family.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2008
I really connected with this book. I'm what you would call a "typical person" with a "typical family". But the story really inspired me to be more and taught me to appreciate people who are more. His journey and his perspective are both full of virtue and love. I simply couldn't put it down.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2012
Thomas Beatie's story is by turns shocking, inspiring, infuriating and heart-warming. His experience growing up as a girl with an abusive father, a mother who committed suicide, and a lack of any strong supportive or mentoring relationships makes his journey all the more amazing. Thomas relates his past - the tale of his childhood as Tracy, Tracy's eventual realization that she was attracted to women, his decision to undergo gender reassignment surgery, and his eventual choice as a married man to bear and give birth to his own daughter - with a simple, straightforward voice and without indulging in (well-deserved) anger or bitterness at a world which could not accept him as he was. His family's saga can teach us a great deal about how to relate to transgendered individuals and exposes the societally-constructed nature of gender identity. Moreover, this book poignantly reminds us that no person - and no family - wants to be defined by others, but simply wants to be accepted for who they are.