Entertainment :: Books

Stuck In The Middle With You

by Daniel Scheffler
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Tuesday Apr 30, 2013
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The memoir "Stuck In The Middle With You" by the New York Times bestseller Jennifer Finney Boylan deals with prejudice and that poisoned chalice of unfair judgment in such a way that will penetrate even the most cynical and critical reader. Written softly with a clement fondle or nuzzle the, now, mother of two is both funny and harrowing - a balance so difficult to perfect.

After being a father for six children and then undergoing a surgery as a transgender, Jennifer Finney Boylan uses this opportunity with her latest book to discuss parenting from a completely new angle; a perspective so absolutely necessary in this day and age of gender discussion that has infiltrated what we comfortably can call human equality or basic human rights. Not only has she kept her kids names in the book as they are (by their request), but also she has clawed deeply into the experiences of being a father figure (from the sports field) and a mother figure (making lunch bags) while dealing with all the emotional wrenching that comes with both.

she has clawed deep into the experiences of being a father figure (from the sports field) and a mother figure (making lunch bags) and all the emotional wrenching that comes with both.

The author also includes interviews with friends, and admired parents, as they discuss parenting and the relationships that transcend gender, age or land borders. Richard Russo (Pulitzer Prize winner and legal guardian of Jennifer’s children Zach and Sean) discusses his father post-war and his parents’ relationship and understanding; Trey Ellis (Winner of American Book Award) chats about his parents who never ever kissed and how he invented relationships as a hopeful/less romantic.

The author’s work feel undiluted and original. Although not a new case scenario, her voice propels so much truth and heartfelt reality that it incarcerates the audience from the first paragraph as she felt a lump in her breast while watching her son in a fencing match. But what is most remarkable about this book is the ability to question even itself: The constant deliberate call outs of judgment, the calculated self-assessment, the questioning of preconceived ideas and the ability to knit a new understanding of what humanity is all about - acceptance of the self. But even when her one son gets lice (big drama or not) and when she heads to Amsterdam (as a man) sans family with a suitcase full of ladies’ garb and ends up standing near Anne Frank’s house with a glass sliver stuck in her foot (feeling ridiculous and German), she is most hysterical but best of all, real.

"Stuck In The Middle With You: A Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders"
Jennifer Finney Boylan
Crown Publishers
$14,09

by Jennifer Finney Boylan

Daniel Scheffler is a writer who spends his time in New York, Cape Town and India. Follow him on Twitter @danielscheffler

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