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My Life as a Boy: A Woman's Story [Hardcover]

Kim Chernin
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 5, 1997
By turns provocative and startlingly revealing, MY LIFE AS A BOY is the story of a woman trying to figure out what love is, trying to understand what happens between desire and the determination to possess the object of that desire, and discovering what it's like to go after what you want. "Chernin writes with the grace of a poet and the insight of a psychotherapist, bringing the shape-shifting nature of intimate relationship alive."--San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Although touted as a reflection on gender and sex roles, My Life As a Boy is a classic romance--a memoir of Kim Chernin's star-crossed love affair with the bewitching Hadamar, which began as a friendship in Berkeley in the late 1970s, when both women were on the verge of leaving their husbands and changing their lives. For Hadamar, who had "never made an unconventional decision in her whole life," the erotic subtext of their romantic dinners out and talks until dawn was satisfaction enough. But Chernin was developing a new boyish persona that needed to push forward, to pursue, to possess. Even her looks began to change, and she found a slender, assertive self emerging, ready to scale the garden wall and climb a ladder into her beloved's window. Hadamar's eventual betrayal of Chernin comes as no surprise to the reader, nor does Chernin's admission that Hadamar was not the love of her life. After her first despairing days alone, Chernin begins to sense "in the inexorable thrust" of her own development "the promise of power, liberation, license, opportunity"--the stirrings of her new response to women, and the potential it holds. A strange, dreamy memoir that reads like a novella of fated love. --Regina Marler

From Booklist

In this elliptical memoir, feminist author Chernin describes the breakup of her long-term marriage and her infatuation with another woman. In order to cast off her old life, she finds that she needs to call on parts of herself never before tested, such as "the capacity to act, the freedom to take, the license to choose desire," in short, "the life of a boy." Dubbing this process the "transformational imperative," she proceeds to remake herself by cutting off her hair, becoming lithe and muscular, and falling passionately in love with a cultured, sophisticated woman named Hadamar. In describing their rocky courtship, she also conveys the fact that she is well aware of what she is risking: "my home, security, a devoted man's passionate love," all for a woman "who might throw me over and break my heart." Possessed of a deep awareness of the mystery at the heart of all relationships, Chernin has written a delicate and thoughtful meditation on finding the courage to transform your life despite the risks such a process entails. Joanne Wilkinson

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on March 24, 2006
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on April 30, 2004
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on May 8, 1997
Format: Hardcover
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover
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on November 10, 2011
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on July 8, 1997
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0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse


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