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Showing 1-10 of 52 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 74 reviews
on February 10, 2017
I felt vaguely voyeuristic reading this. As if I intercepted a brutally personal letter between two estranged, but still loving family members. Which, at its heart, I suppose is exactly what it is. Still, while the journey is uniquely the author's, the candor and insight shared with the reader - even if none of us is the one for whom this memoir is written - is so nakedly honest, it's captivating. A lot of the subject matter is stuff I never knew or ever wondered about. Still, this Kate's-eye-view of her life's journey and the insights she picked up along the way, has something to resonate with nearly everyone... even if it's just the love of a parent for their child. I found it a rugged read in some parts, but that's my baggage. I have to commend the author for her brutal honesty and magnanimous, loving spirit. Even her recollections of her life and estrangement from Scientology seem more sadness than bitterness. Life lived, lessons learned. Namaste Kate.
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on April 17, 2013
This book is many things. A funny, sad, and nostalgic memoir. Revealing accounts of the Queer, S&M, and Scientology subcultures from the inside. An exploration of the inherent ambiguities that exist in gender and sexuality (and an outsider's take on the Queer Theory in academic studies of such topics). A frank discussion of other taboo topics like suicide and cutting. And most importantly, a narrative which brings these topics to life for the reader in a profound and sometimes disturbing way (depending on your perspective). For the uninitiated, the most shocking parts can be skipped (and the reader is given ample warning in at least one case). But the story as a whole is something I think just about anyone can relate to given enough patience, since it is still a story of the experiences and emotions that made Bornstein who she is, and that is something anyone can relate to. This joins Stone Butch Blues and Zami: A New Spelling of My Name on my list of books that have made me identify more with my queer brethren.
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on December 5, 2012
Excellent.

But let me start out with what bothered me, which was the apparent levity in which she treats her eating disorders and the desire to cut. S&M - different issue - I'm not here to judge. Both anorexia and cutting are serious issues that should be treated (or at least acknowledged) as such.

That being said, the apparent honesty and freshness in the way that she writes is amazing. Mark Twain believed that no man could ever write a completely true biography in his lifetime -- or ever. Kate Bornstein has come as close as anyone ever will to doing that.

I already knew that there are jackasses everywhere, but the passages relating to her being discriminated against at lesbian or feminism functions and the community just sadden me.

Great for people with an interest in gender studies and LGBT rights/issues.
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on October 18, 2016
A fascinating read. Kate Bornstein has lead a twisty-turny life and weaves incredible humor and inspiration into harrowing ordeals. It is so interesting to get an insider view into the life of an influential thinker and social influencer such as Kate. An excellent selection for anyone going through difficult life circumstances especially around issues of identity, sexuality, spirituality, and career choices. Quite the coming of age tale.
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on March 23, 2013
I don't know how Kate did it but she took her life, filled with so many hardships, and turned it into the feel good hit of my bookshelf. If this was just a gender-bender bio it would still be great but it's also a terrific look of what it was like to serve under L. Ron Hubbard as he operated Scientology on the high seas to avoid being sent to any number of possible prisons in country after country where his UFO cult was seen as a scam. I was amazed at how many big sustained laughs she got out of me page after page.
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on February 10, 2013
Whether you are a trans* or otherwise queer person looking for an intriguing tale of one of our sister's incredible lives, or just curious about how the so-called "Church" of Scientology operates, Kate's articulated account of her life will not disappoint. I nodded along, shook my head, laughed out loud and cried.

Most compelling to me, is how mythology seems to guide Kate's conception of her own identity. To what extent do we all do this? Kate's story had certainly helped me understand my own identity a lot better, and for that I am very grateful.
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on January 3, 2013
This book covers a lot of ground. Everything from gender change to BDSM to anorexia to suicide to literally being in a cult. I've read numerous books about transitioning, and a few about BDSM, but I've never read anything at all about Scientology. To me L. Ron Hubbard was the guy who wrote Battlefield Earth, which was a hell of a read when I was 15, but not exactly life-changing. In AQaPD Kate breaks down the tenants of Scientology in a way that make her journey into it seem, if not logical, at least understandable. A truly fascinating read, I recommend it highly.
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on May 5, 2012
I read this book in just three days.

For many people who are familiar with Kate, this book is a fascinating journey from point A to point Z. In that sense, it demonstrates the vast magnitude of life. Her journey stretches from Jewish boy to fabulous gender outlaw, with a pit stop as a high ranking official in the Scientology universe.

The book overall, demonstrates a great sadness, as it opens and closes with an appeal to Kate's daughter, who remains in Scientology, and has not had contact with Kate since Kate was excommunicated by the church. Despite this sadness though, Kate's style of writing remains as playful as ever. She is a suberb storyteller, and she plays with the reader, sometimes poking fun of what is real and what is imagined, and leaving the reader to wonder if it even matters what is true or not. She at least confesses to the truth at some point after every lie (at least to my knowledge), which is another important statement:

Living a lie is okay if we can someday have the bravery to face the truth.

This book is unbelievably brave. The ramifications of writing about Scientology especially is expressed early in the book. Kate could easily find herself the brunt of a wave of Scientology harassment. The church may never admit to this policy, she states, but it exists.

For everyone who has gone through life pretending to be something they're not, this book is for you.

For everyone who has gone through life living life as they feel it must be lived, and been persecuted for it, this book is for you.

For everyone interested in transforming their suffering into a positive message for others, this book is for you.

For anyone who might just be a wee bit curious about the life and times of one of the most renowned gender outlaws in the world, this book is for you.
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on June 1, 2014
It must have taken a lot of guts to write this
memoir. I learned a lot, especially to listen to someone whom I would have thought really "queer" a month ago--what a strong person Kate Bornstein must be. Congratulations! Why not five stars? The book was literally too personal: I got a lot of information about people who I will never meet, probably never hear of again and in whom I am not interested. Otherwise, a mind and heart expanding must.
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on December 1, 2014
What a sensational book. Lots of sex, lies, and Scientology. I found myself both riveted and in disbelief over the events of Bornsteins life. I doubt her experience could be called typical in any sense of the word, yet the story of her eventual transition sheds much light on the plight of the transgendered individual. Once you start reading this, you won't want to put it down!
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