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Transsister Radio by Chris Bohjalian
Set in the village of Bartlett, Vermont, Trans-Sister Radio tells the story of four people who are drawn into a complicated tangle of relationships—relationships that will profoundly change each of them. When Allison, grade-school teacher and divorced mother of a teenage daughter, meets Dana, she feels she's at the beginning of an intense, ideal romance. But Dana reveals that he's always felt himself to be a woman and plans to have the surgery that will make that feeling a reality, and soon Allison's love for Dana and her perception of herself is severely tested. She grapples with the fact that she might not be able to love Dana in a woman's body. She worries whether her teaching career will survive the scandal that living with a transsexual in a small New England town is sure to cause. She wonders what effect the situation will have on her relationship with her daughter, Carly, and how her ex-husband, Will, is going to view the situation. Allison stands by Dana through the surgery and recovery period, enduring the opprobrium of the local community and a growing unease about her own sexual identity. Threatening notes left in her school mailbox, obscene graffiti scrawled on her front door, pressure from the school board to take a leave of absence, and a local petition about teacher morality all contribute to making Allison and Dana's relationship both a public issue and a private ordeal. Even Will and Carly become increasingly involved in Allison and Dana's predicament, and when they decide to air a program on transsexualism for Vermont Public Radio, they bring both clarity to the issue and a new set of changes for everyone involved.
Written with empathy and extraordinary insight, Trans-Sister Radio explores the uncertain terrain of gender identity, sexual preference, and the entire range of pleasures, confusions, and sacrifices that love demands.
Here's What I think: For me this book with a little to technical. Which I think is a direct result of the format - A National Public Radio Interview. Since my grandfather listened to these a lot when I was a child, it wasn't a totally new concept to me, but it still doesn't exactly fall into "novel" story. The character development is extensive, almost too much so. The concept of a woman who falls in love with a man who surgically becomes a woman was very interesting and well represented. I think the book was just too far outside my norm for me to really get absorbed.
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