Tuesday, December 22, 2009

How Beautiful the Ordinary

A quick plug for the wonderful book I read over the past few days, How Beautiful the Ordinary: Twelve Stories of Identity, edited by Michael Cart. The contributors all tell stories of gay, lesbian, and transgender characters, all different ages and at different stages of life, using many different formats. Stand out stories for me include Jacqueline Woodson's "Trev," about a 6-year-old girl who understands from early on that she is really a boy. Trev's family cannot accept this truth, despite Trev's doctor saying, "Trev is Trev. Let him be so." His father leaves, his brother thinks Trev is a freak, and his mother sort of wearily accepts this new reality. Transgender characters also take center stage in Francesca Lia Block's "My Virtual World" (FTM) and "The Missing Person" by Jennifer Finney Boylan (MTF). The stories are often about older teens, or adults reflecting back on life or dealing with some element of their past. Other contributors include David Levithan, Gregory Maguire, Margo Lanagan, Emma Donoghue, William Sleator, Eric Shanower, Ron Koertge, Ariel Schrag, and Julie Anne Peters. I highly recommend picking this up, as most of the stories were really well done. Also, I was really surprised to see so many trans characters included in this collection. I can only think of a few YA books about transgender teens (Luna, Parrotfish.... um... yeah, really, only two? With transgender teens as main characters?). Michael Cart sure knows how to put a collection together.

What are you reading?


kristin said...

I'm reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Liking it so far, but I'm not sure how I feel about it as a feminist... we'll see where it goes.

This one sounds great, thanks for the rec :o)

kristin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rebecca said...

Is anyone bi, in the book?

Amanda said...

i already returned the book to my library, but i think in the wm. sleator story, one of the main characters had been with men and women before settling into a relationship with a man. the emma donoghue story has a mom who was in a relationship with a woman but now is with a man. the gregory maguire story is about two young men's relationship, one of whom was sort of dating a girl prior and one goes on to get married to a woman, despite still having feelings for this man. so. i guess i was so caught up in the surprise of so many trans characters that i didn't think too much about the bi voices. i'm glad you asked. it seems like most of them are characters who identified as one thing at one point in time, but now identity as something else. interesting.