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Being Emily Paperback – June 26, 2012
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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"Being Emily is a wonderful, valuable and very contemporary book that I believe will change minds and save lives. I was very much affected by the story, which feels piercingly real in all its details." - Katherine V. Forrest, author, editor-at-large for Bella Books and supervising editor at Spinsters Ink.
"Powerful and empowering, with an optimistic message that we all need more of in our lives. I'm thrilled to see this book is out in the world." - Kate Bornstein, author of Gender Outlaw and A Queer and Pleasant Danger
"... it's a wonderful read for any teen (or anyone else) dealing with gender issues or the question of non-conformity ... [Gold] does a fabulous job of explaining what it means to know in your heart that something's not right, that the body you were born with doesn't match the true person inside." -- Ellen Krug, Lavender Magazine
"It's rare to read a novel that's involving, tender, thought-provoking and informative. Rachel Gold does all this in 'Being Emily.'" - Twin Cities Pioneer Press
Winner 2013 Golden Crown Literary Award in Dramatic / General Fiction.
Winner 2013 Moonbeam Children's Book Award in Young Adult Fiction - Mature Issues.
Finalist 2013 Lambda Literary Award
About the Author
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It is also a story of coming out. It pretty accurately shows the reader what these individuals face. I found myself nodding my head all the way through the book and mentally saying yup. I empathize with Emily and remembered my own struggles, sound of which I really tried to forget. This book is not just for those who are taking this same journey as Emily. But is more so for those who are family, friends and professionals, even for others within the LGBTQ community. I hope more people will read this book and gain a better understanding of what we are going through.
It's a story about a youth of 16 who has been keeping her female gender identity under wraps since at least the first grade. To this solitary end, over the years it has become increasingly more frustrating for "Chris," in his male persona, to conceal his true self. Finally, Chris can no longer bear keeping the secret. His relationships with his parents and girlfriend, Clare, have begun to suffer and crumble. When Chris finally opens up to Clare, it creates yet another set of problems, but fortunately, Clare has the unusual and glorious ability to be able to see and accept our protagonist for the person she really is and continue to love her, support her transition and, in a sense, eventually become the hero that saves Chris, now relating to the world as "Emily." Clare not only becomes Emily's salvation many times over, she assists her to move through the transition process. It's not a one-way street though and Clare also learns quite a bit about herself from Emily.
Of course, there are some major obstacles for the transitioning Emily to overcome and the story describes some harrowing experiences she faces as she clandestinely begins to feminize herself and emerge into the world. Fortunately for Emily, she hooks up, via the Internet, with another young person who has been there and has walked the walk. There are hormones and androgen blockers to obtain and without first coming out to parents, Emily initially goes the shadowy route that is certainly not the recommended path, but unfortunately the way of some because of the social stigma attached to "coming out" as transgender. Lots of valid social commentary abounds in Being Emily."
The author presents some great scenes involving two different psychotherapists, one of whom feels he can "cure" gender dysphoria by creating new neural pathways of experience and re-wiring the brain. Fortunately, through some serendipity, Emily randomly meets another therapist who really "gets" it and understands her problem. But when Emily eventually "comes out" to her parents, there is hell to pay, particularly because they cannot understand what she must be going through. Her mom soon becomes the major impediment to her transition, forcefully demanding, "You don't think like a woman, you don't look like a woman and you don't act like a woman. Why would you want to be a woman?" To this Emily replies quite simply and eloquently, "Because I am a woman."
Fortunately, near the end, another hero emerges to save the day, although this time a rather reluctant and unlikely one in the form of Emily's father, who finally paves the way for her to be the girl that she always was. I highly recommend this novel as a really great read for both teens and adults.