From Publishers Weekly
The best thing about this aggressive, emotional memoir by a former lesbian, female-to-male transgender is that its author never elicits easy sentiment or empathy from the reader. This is, by intent and in delivery, a tough book. Born in 1957 in Germany, a part–Native American Army brat, Anita Valerio grew up to be a lesbian-feminist who, after seeing the boxing film Raging Bull
at age 23, began to understand that she was really a man. Eleven years later, Valerio is injecting testosterone and well on his journey to manhood. Valerio writes directly and forcefully about his "primal" new male sexual desires, which feel like "an outburst of instinct," as opposed to life on estrogen, which felt like being submerged "in a sweet, dense fog." Valerio's maleness is often expressed in blunt, even offensive language, as at the end of the book, when he realizes, with irony but not sadness, that he has made a further advance into maleness when it becomes more difficult to communicate with women. Valerio's broad, dichotomized stands on politics and gender often feel like just another tough pose. Worse, they flatten out the memoir's emotional landscape. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Determined to convey the experience of "one of the most extravagant experiments of the twentieth century," Native American Latino Sephardic poet and performer Valerio details the physiological, psychological, and social transformations of female-to-male sex change in three "files." The first describes Valerio at the start of the transition. "Before Testosterone" looks back at the internal--external factors leading to then leather-and-spikes lesbian Valerio's decision for the life-altering change. "After Testosterone" assays the "construction" of maleness. Valerio's on-target perceptions reveal such all-important details as increased hair growth on legs and feet, enlargement of the pores, and increased energy. Valerio started testosterone injections on March 20, 1989, and learned to give himself the shots of thick, oily liquid while watching his femaleness recede with attendant joy and nostalgia. Eventually, he built his masculinity physically--the clitoris, a "neocock," enlarged sufficiently to achieve penetration with female partners--and, most important, psychically. A signal addition to gender and sociology collections. Whitney ScottCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved