Wednesday, February 15, 2017

#OwnVoices: If I Was Your Girl Resists the Single Story

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo is the story of Amanda, a trans high school student who moves to a small, rural Tennessee town in order to start her life over after her transition. She quickly falls in with a popular group of girls who are evangelical Christians--some of whom are from very strict, controlling families. She also befriends a young woman from her art class, Bee, who is a bisexual artist, and who keeps that part of her identity to herself. Finally, Amanda feels, she has something in common with a friend because even if their situations are different, they are beholden to their secrets. She also falls for Grant, a fairly geeky, endearing football player, and they begin dating.

Interspersed with Amanda's experiences in her new school and in getting reacquainted with her father, we learn about her background--how her parents coped (or didn't) with her wish to transition, some aspects of her medical experience, and how her friends and acquaintances treated her or, in some cases, were violent toward her.

I have to admit, I was scared out of my mind for Amanda coming of age in a small southern town. I kept waiting for something gawd awful to happen because that seems like it's usually the case in books that approach this subject matter, but Russo's handling of Amanda's story was much more balanced than that, though there were hard moments.

More than anything, I appreciated Russo's note at the end of the book with explanation about how she chose some of Amanda's characterization and how that allowed her to take specific paths within the story. She points out that there is no one experience--no single story--of being trans, and Amanda's experiences are relatable though also idealized in specific ways. I won't say much more than that, but I felt it was a really important disclaimer for the YA audience, and for anyone reading the book, in fact.






17 comments:

  1. I started this one, but have yet to go back to it. I think I just wasn't in the mood to read it. My reading has been all over the place lately. I'm hoping to pick it up again soon though. Glad you enjoyed it :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My reading moods are so fickle, I totally get it. I hope you enjoy it if you get back to it!

      Delete
  2. I just read a novel about a young child who is trans and would love to follow up with this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh! What book was that?

      Delete
  3. I keep meaning to read this one but never remember to look for it at the library.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do the thing! I don't think you'll be sorry.

      Delete
  4. It's so great to read #ownvoices trans lit. Avoids so many things you think will happen because cis authors have always used them as plot points. You're right - it resists the single story! #resistance :) Great review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I need more recs! This is, admittedly, my biggest blind spot so I'm totally excited to read more and go a'reasearching.

      Delete
    2. You must, must, must read NEVADA by Imogen Binnie. It's gritty and blunt and honest and punk and awesome (though I liked the first half best). I have a feeling you'd totally dig it!

      Delete
    3. Oh! And DREADNOUGHT by April Daniels because...trans lesbian SUPERHERO!!!

      Delete
  5. This is a great review Andi, and certainly sounds like a book I'd like to read. Thanks....I love finding new books....my book shelves hate me..ha ha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahah, mine do too. They groan under my new finds. I hope you enjoy this one if you get to it!

      Delete
  6. I loved this book. I appreciated Russo's honesty and love how she provided hope. It is a book I want my children to read but have not been able to convince them to do so.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YES! Definitely going on the docket for G when he gets older. We've recently discovered he likes audiobooks, so maybe that'll hold out.

      Delete
  7. I have heard a lot of good things about this book. I will definitely read it this year! I like your description of 'resisting the single story' - that's so important.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, yes. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did when you get 'round to it!

      Delete
  8. I loved this book too! I thought the disclaimer was also a nice touch and I was definitely waiting for something terrible to happen while reading as well.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to comment! Blogger has been a beast lately, so I hope you do not have any troubles leaving your thoughts.

 
Images by Freepik