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As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised As A Girl (P.S.) Paperback – August 8, 2006
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"A riveting account of medical arrogance and misguided science." (Playboy)
"Colapinto's account . . . raises fascinating scientific, philosophical, and ethical questions—and also packs an irresistible narrative force from start to finish. (Providence Phoenix)
"Colapinto's book is a stinging and overdue indictment of the 'sexual reassignment' of infants like baby Bruce and those born with both male and female sex organs....The book also serves as an intimate, heartbreaking diary of Bruce Brenda Reimer, the casualty of a ghoulish science project gone terribly wrong." (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
"Colapinto, a writer of striking lucidity and compassion, inspired the very private man who now proudly calls himself David to reveal the entire story of his horrendous ordeal in hopes of preventing others from suffering his fate. The result is an arresting and invaluable narrative of personal tragedy, scientific arrogance, and societal confusion over the source and significance of gender differences." (Booklist)
"Colapinto, the reporter who won a National Magazine Award for a piece on David's story, engrossingly recounts this tale of grotesque medical hubris and a life dragged slowly from the ashes....Colapinto's storytelling, taut and emotive, never plays the grim tale for its sideshow qualities, nor claims the last word on nature versus nurture." (Kirkus, starred review)
"For the most part, As Nature Made Him is a story of innocence stolen, and of ill fate bravely born....But the book is also a testament to the immutability of self. Because David in the end is a triumph." (Dallas Morning News)
"In the end, what makes As Nature Made Him impossible to put down is not the machinations of a misguided scientist but the suffering, courage and ultimate triumph of a truly unfortunate child." (Psychology Today)
"John Colapinto debunks Money's version of Brenda's childhood in his fascinating, exhaustively researched As Nature Made Him. The result is a detailed and riveting account." (Seattle Post Intelligencer)
"Raises fascinating scientific, philosophical questions--and also packs an irresistible narrative force from start to finish" (Boston Phoenix)
From the Back Cover
In 1967, after a twin baby boy suffered a botched circumcision, his family agreed to a radical treatment that would alter his gender. The case would become one of the most famous in modern medicine—and a total failure. As Nature Made Him tells the extraordinary story of David Reimer, who, when finally informed of his medical history, made the decision to live as a male. A macabre tale of medical arrogance, it is first and foremost a human drama of one man's—and one family's—amazing survival in the face of terrible odds.
- Item Weight : 8.8 ounces
- Paperback : 328 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0061120561
- ISBN-13 : 978-0061120565
- Dimensions : 5.31 x 0.76 x 8 inches
- Publisher : Harper Perennial; 2nd edition (August 8, 2006)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #272,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The so-called doctor who created this foundation was later stripped of his accolades once it became public that he used his child patients as living human experiments for his unnatural and easily discredited theories about human sex, gender, and sexuality. The trauma he left behind, however, suffered far more brutal ends - both Brian and David ended up committing suicide in their late 30s after struggling for decades with the aftermath of the degenerate sexual abuse enforced on them by their "doctor".
If you want to understand where the new pop culture on gender obtained its harebrained dogma, this book is the starting point of it all. It's a terrible, traumatic story. Be warned - the details may be difficult to confront at times.
It's a story that MUST be told, if we have any hope of saving our civilization from the psychoanalytical neurotic mess that has been made of our children today.
After finishing this book, I looked up David Reimer and was very saddened to find out that he had committed suicide awhile after this book was published. Also, his twin brother Brian had killed himself 2 years prior to his death. I think John Colapinto wrote a very honest account of what the Reimer twins endured throughout their lives. David's story will hopefully provide genuine incite to many people discovering their own gender identity or who have had similar experiences.
But, I will go on to say that the author’s habit of providing long backstories is really the only negative I can see in this book. This book provides exactly what I was hoping to get out of this book: (1) A peek into the life of a boy who was raised as a girl, not just in the clinical notes sense, but in the psychological sense. In other words, how did he live his life, and how did he feel as he was doing it? (2) A more expansive overview of the nature versus nurture gender debate, including both the scientific and social advancements that have been made.
This is the kind of book that is hard to put down. As soon as David starts living as a girl, we as the reader can instantly tell that the experiment isn’t working, that he keeps acting like a boy even as he dresses like a girl. So we, or at least I, keep reading almost feverishly, desperate to come to the point in the story where David is told of his true past, and allowed to once again live as a boy. But it takes so long for that to come, and in the meantime, we see his life get even worse and worse. Some of the stuff John Money makes David do in his therapy sessions are absolutely horrifying, and when he begins to pressure David into having a vaginoplasty so he can become completely female, my heart was absolutely aching for the poor boy.
Once David is finally allowed to live as a boy, we are able to see yet another point of view: what it’s like to live as a young man without a functioning penis. It was interesting to see what ways in which he felt held back by his mutilated genitals, and in what ways he didn’t. There was one insightful quote from him, in which he said something to the effect of: the medical community seemed to place my entire identity in my genitals. It was rather eye-opening to put it that way.
The author does go on to explore the plight of intersex people in America, because even though David was not intersex, the experiment done on him was often referenced as a reason to perform sex reassignment surgery on intersex infants. The book explored how intersex conditions are typically seen as this shameful, dark secret, and yet the person did nothing wrong, and there’s no reason that intersex people should feel the kind of shame they do. It also explored (and seemed to support) the argument for not performing any sex reassignment surgery until children are old enough to give informed consent.
If this topic interests you, then I can assure you that the book will not disappoint.
I love when accepted theories are proved fallible, especially when smug, highly biased scientists and scholars are behind the tenets.
This is fantastic journalistic prose, unwavering in its ethical approach to such a controversial matter. I am forever changed by this book.