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The Testosterone Files: My Hormonal and Social Transformation from Female to Male Paperback – May 4, 2006
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More About the Author
I am a registered treaty Indian in Canada: Blackfoot Confederacy and Kainai (Blood) band - Treaty 7. My mother is from the Blood or Kainai reserve, and my father is from Taos in northern New Mexico. I have been involved in tracking down my father's lineage, my Sephardic ancestors who were chased up north to New Mexico in 1598 and 1694, principally by the Spanish Inquisition, after sojourns in Italy from Spain after the expulsion.
I identify as many things. I am also a transsexual man, having gone through medical transition from female to male beginning in 1989. Primarily, I identify as just a man, but I certainly take on trans as a qualifier and an accurate description of who I am and where I have been.
I have a wonderful loving girlfriend, and a rich and sweet life in San Francisco. I'm a punk at heart, having been involved in the early punk scene, and I will always enjoy anarchy and a kind of visceral rebellion. However, I also have iconoclastic perspectives on many issues, and although I lean far to the left on most issues, whenever I sense that a utopian agenda is circumventing liberty or good, common sense, I have been known to lean to a place that I have not yet defined. That is, I am, in some respects, a civil libertarian, or at least, someone who dislikes being told what to do, say or think. I also dislike identity politics. It is the seventh ring of hell, and I would prefer to not think about it, but I guess, I am a man condemned in some sense. Possibly, we can move beyond those layers, to a fresh and energizing perspective.
I love visionary art and poetry. I am in love with transformation and intensely lived experience. I have been a part of many religious and spiritual paths including Tibetan Buddhism and Afro-Caribbean traditions, American Indian traditions, and an exploration of Judaism.
Top Customer Reviews
While by no means have I exhausted the entire genre, I'd have to say that in my readings thus far, I've been hard-pressed to find a FTM text that leaves me feeling satisfied with its treatment of race. So, admittedly, The Testosterone Files had a lot to live up to...perhaps too much.
Frankly, I'm torn...I'm definitely glad to have read the book, as well as to own it. I will proudly display it on my bookshelf (where self space is at a high premium). As a trans text, I think that its focus on testosterone (as opposed to surgery) helps to stretch the boundaries of the genre, and of how we think about trans itself. Like other FTM texts, there is much focus on the body and its physical transformations, but because the emphasis isn't on surgery it offers something to those readers who either want to transition without surgery, or simply have to transition and live without surgery due to other constraints (e.g., affordability, or lack thereof).
Even though Valerio makes clear in the text that he experienced discomfort with his breasts, and that it was because of the lack of being able to afford top surgery that he hadn't had surgery (well, until he wrote this book!Read more ›
What I found most interesting about this book was its portrayal of the profound differences between the way men and women think, act, and feel. Max is an intelligent, sensitive, and self-aware person who has had the opportunity to experience life as both a woman and as a man. As far as I know, there are no other memoirs out there that describe this experience and it's eye-opening to read Max's firsthand account of how his sex drive, feelings, and even sense of smell are affected by testosterone. For every woman who has ever suspected that men and women are REALLY different, this memoir is a compelling account of what those differences feel like.
Firstly, I want to echo all of what Pen Name said about it. Yes, that review was all true and right on.
Secondly, I want to add that as a transman, it was very validating and perhaps normalizing to have so much of what I've experienced in transition described with a depth and accuracy that's been missing when I talk with other transmen about it.
When i asked my partner to read the book and give me her take on it, she complained that she'd already watched me go through transition and there was nothing new to be gleaned. Nevertheless, she started paging through it, wound up reading the whole thng and concluded by saying it helped her understand me better and also, better understand the essentail differences between men and women.
Nevertheless, this book is a fascinating read, and well worth pursuing to the end. Valerio throws amazing revelation after amazing revelation (ok, a little surplusage of my own) at you. I was surprised, for instance, that there are so many things about the effects of testosterone on men that I never knew or suspected.
Valerio does an excellent job sharing his experience, providing insight into the (to me) mysterious feeling that one has been born into a body that does not fit his sexual identity.
Our society would benefit from a greater understanding of LGBT issues, and this book is well-suited to that purpose. Read it and pass it on.
I got a sense of this guy's personality through reading this. He likes to provoke people who may not be so comforted by his transformation.
It is probably lesbians who would be most disquieted by his experience going from butch to straight man. He knows that, and he is torturing them a little bit (just like he wanted to torture his friend's barbie?) through a few unnecessary jabs (their porn is boring, they are sequestered as a group, etc.)
Also, I was put off by the broad, or nonexistent understanding that Max has about how hormones work in the brain and the body. If my body were undergoing such a change, I would want to read at least a couple of books on biology and neuroscience.
He talks about testosterone like it is a pill given to him by his doctor. (well, a shot) Just pop it and see what happens....keep a diary. Record all your poetic observations, and then apply it to the experience of MEN..... Your perceptions are yours, but you do not have the scientific authority to make statement's like:
"The male eye is excited by red." -uh, says who?
"Women do tend to enjoy reading about sex more than looking at images." here we go again....says who? which women?
"The bright light bulb" of testosterone compared to the "deep, dark well" of estrogen. oh the polarities...the frolicking unicorn of hyperbole is back!
And the greatest:
"My god, if this is how men feel, how come they don't rape more often?"
I get what he's saying. Sort of.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A must read for any FTM thinking about starting testosterone. Really informative, detailed, and well written.Published 7 days ago by J
Very interesting book! The author is a good writer and has an important story to tell about his life. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Jonathan
This is one of the better ftm memoirs I've read. Intelligent, engaging, and honest. Valerio doesn't shy away from the more complex or controversial aspects of transition.Published 3 months ago by MercorMaulkin
haven't read it yet but i am looking forward to it. will read over summer when i am out of schoolPublished 22 months ago by SRob
I bought this book as a feminist seeking to better understand and be able to support my transgendered brothers and sisters and their issues. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Rachel G
This is one of the most formidable works on gender studies I've read. The author takes you on a rather wild ride, through his childhood (as a female), adolescence and adulthood,... Read morePublished on July 17, 2013 by G. Vanwagenen
This book reads like a personal diary was the basis for a book (which it most likely was). I found "Becoming a Visible Man" by Jamison Green a bit more informative on the... Read morePublished on June 26, 2013 by MMaricle
This book is an absolute requirement for FTMs. While there are other books out there, I think that The Testosterone Files really sums up the FTM experience from beginning to end. Read morePublished on October 5, 2009 by Chris