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The Complicated Geography of Alice Paperback – December 1, 2014
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The Amazon Book Review
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From the Back Cover
Until the age of fifteen, Alice was a smart-mouthed, wannabe soldier boy named Jordan with a penchant for trouble, a weakness for pharmaceuticals and an enormous secret.
"I'm always angry because I'm always sad, and I'm always sad because I'm a girl."
These were the words that changed everything.
The Complicated Geography of Alice is an intimate portrayal of a family in crisis told with humor and love by a mother who believes that her daughter is going to blaze a brave new path if she can just keep her sober long enough to grow up.
"A lovingly told, harrowing story of a mother trying every tactic to save her transgender child. Jules Vilmur's book will haunt you and humanize people who struggle with complicated gender. I won't forget Alice's story. - Everett Maroon, author of Bumbling into Body Hair
"Jules Vilmur takes the wonder, joy, sadness, and terror of careening through a life that suddenly feels out of control and makes great art out of it. This book is a tremendous gift to Alice, and to us." - Brendan Halpin, author of Donorboy
About the Author
Jules Vilmur majored in Community Studies at UC Santa Cruz where she also studied Resistance Literature and Therapeutic Writing. She lives in California's Central Valley with her husband and too many greyhounds.
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Top customer reviews
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'That' being The Complicated Geography of Alice, and 'something' being this heartbreaking, beautifully-written story of a young woman in danger, and her family in crisis. 'Alice' should be required reading for any self-righteous prig (moral or medical) who feels free to abuse transpeople, based on some outdated and ill-informed (or malicious) beliefs about who transpeople are and what is 'right' for transpeople's lives. This IS recommended reading for anyone who might be caring for a teen in transition or, for that matter, any teen wrestling with issues of identity, self-worth, substance abuse and other self-destructive behaviors.
I bought this book believing it was a novel, and before I was halfway through I was desperately HOPING it was. Still, nothing could have prepared me for the sudden and tragic denouement when Jules is called to meet Alice's ambulance at the hospital. Here is this girl on the brink of becoming the woman she wants to be - this vivacious, intelligent, infuriating girl that Ms. Vilmur has made REAL even to those of us who never had the privilege of meeting her - suddenly snatched from her family and, ultimately, from all of us.
And for what? A mistake. A stupid, all-too-common mistake of the sort adolescents around the world make every single day - the Russian Roulette choice kids make in their worst and best moments to get high, to drive drunk, to have sex with the wrong partner... you know, THAT choice.
I certainly made that choice - hell, I probably made that choice several times a day every day of my teenage years - but for reasons I will never understand the hammer never fell on me no matter how many times I pulled the trigger.
Alice wasn't so lucky. Her family wasn't so lucky, and the community of friends and compatriots who filled the hall the day of her memorial service weren't so lucky. We weren't so lucky. The hammer fell, and Jules, Jay and Max, all their families and friends, are forced to walk through the wreckage it left behind. We will never know what kind of beautiful light Alice might have brought us in her later years.
And I don't know how I can grieve for someone I never knew existed two days ago, but here I am and yes, I'm crying. Alice is gone, and my heart goes out to all those who truly knew and loved her. I wish - I wish so fecking hard - that there had been a different ending to this story.
There are no 'silver linings' to the loss of a child. None. However, it IS possible that Alice - the girl and her story - might reach an otherwise untouched heart, allow a desperate family to realize they are not alone or maybe, just maybe, persuade a struggling teen that their life is worth saving, having, living.
After that, in Ms. Vilmur's own words: 'There is nothing left to say.'
This vivid, personal perspective of addiction and gender transition sends light into places many may have never known existed, even those all too familiar with the difficulties of both. If only every parent could respond to their child with, "I'm sorry for anything I ever did to make it worse or make you feel bad.”
Giving this to my middle school goddaughter
and hoping this book goes "viral".