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Holding Still for as Long as Possible (Lambda Literary Award: Transgender) Paperback – September 1, 2010

3.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This captivating glimpse into the lives of three twentysomethings showcases Whittall’s ability to create complex characters. Connected through social circles in their Toronto neighborhood, they struggle to accept the past while mapping out the future: Josh, a female-to-male transgender works strenuous shifts as a paramedic and tries to erase from his mind the atrocities he witnesses daily; Amy, his ex-girlfriend and an amateur filmmaker, lives off of her wealthy parents; and Billy, a former child pop star, now endures extreme anxiety attacks. As the three become wrapped up in each others’ lives, the emotional roller coaster dips and rises. Haunted by memories of the tragedy of 9/11 and of the rampant fear of a SARS epidemic, which served as the scenery of their youth, this new generation’s members proclaim their true feelings through text messages and drown their excess emotion in booze. A poignant climax seems almost like a dream as the characters drift toward the shattering conclusion. An unforgettable depiction of growing up in the new millennium. --Annie McCormick

About the Author

Zoe Whittall's first novel, Bottle Rocket Hearts, was a Top 100 book from The Globe and Mail. Whittall lives in Toronto.
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Product Details

  • Series: Lambda Literary Award: Transgender
  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: House of Anansi Press; Reprint edition (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0887849644
  • ISBN-13: 978-0887849640
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 6.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,941,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
When I was perusing the fiction section at my local Chapters, this title grabbed my eye as an entry in the list of contemporary novels I've been meaning to check out. I pulled it from the shelf, flipped it open, and scanned a couple paragraphs to see if I could justify spending a chunk of my meager pay-cheque on purchasing it.

The section I read in the store was Billy's description of her thoughts during a panic attack. I was hooked, and brought the book home that day.

Reading from start to finish, I feel drawn to a lot of the things that Zoe Whittall does in this book. The first, something I admire absolutely, is her ability to present characters which seem so utterly human. Being mostly a fan of fiction leaning hard on the adjective 'literary', I feel like it's rare for me to encounter a novel with such ripe, raw human drama bursting from the pages. From following Whittall on twitter, I know she's a writer for the teenage high school TV show Degrassi, and from what I read in this book, she's probably perfect for the job. If anything, she might be too perfect for it, and that bleeds into my primary complaint with this book, which I'll get to in a bit.

Beyond simply presenting entities in a narrative which feel almost tangible, Whittall is also expert at crafting the individual personalities and neuroses of each character. I had a soft spot for Billy's sections as I read along, appreciating the jittery, nervous flow of her inner monologue as a representation of her anxiety.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Zoe might try a little too hard to be deep here; the story's fine, but the constant first-person perspective changes make it difficult to connect with a character, and the "everyone is broken" theme gets a bit old. It's a good effort, but it doesn't offer much new and I think it would've been more engaging if the transgender issues were explored more deeply, rather than getting caught up in a fallen star's anxiety. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it, either; if you're into modern-day, slightly depressing reality with a cliche happy ending, this is for you.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book. Having grown up in Toronto, I really felt the atmosphere of the city through the pages while I'm living far away. Whittall's characters were deep and engaging - their flaws believable, and their anxieties real. The book left me wanting more, and that's not a bad thing.
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