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Getting to Ellen: A Memoir about Love, Honesty and Gender Change Paperback – February 6, 2013

4.9 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ellen (Ellie) Krug's business card reads: "writer, lawyer, human." She is a graduate of Coe College and Boston College Law School. She is one of the few attorneys in the United States to try separate jury trials in separate genders. Ellen is a freelance writer for several publications and frequent lecturer on the life lessons learned during her gender journey. She presently serves as the executive director of a nonprofit organization. She is the parent of two adult children.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 326 pages
  • Publisher: Stepladder Press; 1 edition (February 6, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0988698900
  • ISBN-13: 978-0988698901
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,125,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Eric C. Thompson on February 7, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ellen Krug's book, "Getting To Ellen," is a heart-wrenching story of love and metamorphosis, love for herself and for those around her and in the end, the change both inside and outside, that had to be to get to Ellen.

Krug struggles for 50 years to be who she really is, always with the knowledge that to do what she must to be true to herself, she will hurt those she loves the most.

This book is an epic quest for Krug to what she must, while weighed down with the knowledge of what the terrible cost to herself will be to her and those around her.

Written with honesty and candor, Krug lays open a world conflict and ultimately resolution which will tear at the reader's heart. In the end she has "won" but paid a huge price, losing the family she worked so hard to create, nurture, and provide for.

This book is an insight into the soul of woman trapped in the form of a man compelled to follow conventions to live the American dream. It is both thoughtful and provoking, and may challenge the reader to examine their own ideas about gender and society.

The author is blunt and direct at times, with a straight forward style of prose that makes the pages fly by. Once you begin this book, as Ellen found out, there's no turning back. This book kept me captured from about page 5.

Highly, highly, recommend this book. The writing flows and the story is even more compelling when you realize it's true.
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Disclaimer, I graduated with Ellen in 1975 but we were not close in high school (HS) and have never communicated.

Yesterday afternoon I saw a post on the private Facebook group for the Gay Straight Alliance group at our HS that Ellen was going to be talking with the students via Skype about her experience and her book. Imagine my surprise to learn the classmate I knew as Ed was now Ellen. I immediately purchased the book and downloaded to my Kindle and didn't stop reading until finishing the book at 1am.

Part of what was so compelling was knowing the author, some of the people involved, the hometown aspect with places such as the Tic Toc (I used to hang out there in 1977-78), etc. But Ellen really drew me into her world immediately from page one and I didn't want to leave that world until I finished learning her story.

I titled this review discovery, because I discovered someone I wish I had known better in HS. Like Ellen, I too needed to discover myself as a gay man. Looking back it was something I knew as a very young child, but didn't have the tools to know what that was. Like Ellen I dated women but unlike her did not make the love connection. After leaving Cedar Rapids in the early 80's I finally came out to myself and lived a mostly open life as a gay man. Finally in 2009 I came out to my parents, my final and most difficult hurdle. I only share this because while the destination for Ellen was very different than mine, there were many parallels that really connected with me in her story.

I'm certain even without the HS connection and knowing people, places, times shared in this book that I would still love it. I highly recommend it.
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I felt that I must add something to the wonderful reviews already posted about the magnificent memoir, "Getting to Ellen," which clearly holds an honored place at or near the top of a handful of other fine autobiographical works by transgender individuals.

This book is so deeply touching in that it graphically describes the agonizing passage and transition of a deeply gender dysphoric, male-born person coming to grips with the true nature of her being. In so doing, the reader is provided with a vicarious and painful opportunity to face and grapple again with his or her own inner demons, be they in the form of gender variance or other pressing internal conflicts.

I liken this story of lost love and one person's struggle for gender congruence and sexual identity to a "Shakespearean Tragedy" in that it clearly fits the Wikipedia definition of that phrase. To paraphrase, "The protagonist must be an admirable but flawed character, with the audience able to understand and sympathize. Such tragic protagonists are capable of both good and evil and operate under the doctrine of free will where they are always able to back out, to redeem themselves, but must move unheedingly to their doom." Perhaps "doom" is a bit strong, but "Getting to Ellen" is such a compelling read because, like the ripples from a pebble dropped into a clear pond, we witness Ed moving inexorably toward a known conclusion in his emergence as Ellen, a change that we know will surely result in deep loss, pain and the need for a total attitude readjustment for so many. This is powerful stuff indeed.

Lastly, this book speaks clearly to the role of society, which in reality is a community composed of you and me, and the pressure we place on individuals to conform to a bi-gendered system.
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Disclosure; Ellen and I shared a class at the Loft Literary Center and are acquaintances. As a not-yet-published author, I've steered clear of writing a review about the writing of someone I know, because if their writing isn't up to par, I don't want to hurt their feelings with honesty. Putting my name on a recommendation has to do with my authenticity. I bought the book because I knew from the parts she shared in our class it was going to be an interesting story. I give the review because I think what I have to say might encourage someone to choose to read it and become more enlightened about Transgender people.

Before I read "Getting to Ellen," I really didn't understand all the issues transgender encompasses. As a heterosexual woman, I've known several Gay people, however Ellen is the first Transgender. This book gave me a glimpse of her arduous journey and the strength it took to get through it alive and sane. Besides being an educational read for me, I found it thoroughly engaging. There were a few spots having to do with the timeline that momentarily took me out of the story . This required a slight reorienting myself within the story. That said, I did not want to stop reading, and when I wasn't reading, my thoughts often drifted back into her story. I admire Ellen all the more for being brave enough to share what it took to "Get to Ellen." And I loved how it ended. Thank you Ellen for being a light for others.
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