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New York Times bestseller and acclaimed author Jennifer Finney Boylan returns with a remarkable memoir about gender and parenting, including incredible interviews discussing gender, how families are shaped, and the difficulties and wonders of being human. A father for ten years, a mother for eight, and for a time in between, neither, or both ("the parental version of the sc New York Times bestseller and acclaimed author Jennifer Finney Boylan returns with a remarkable memoir about gender and parenting, including incredible interviews discussing gender, how families are shaped, and the difficulties and wonders of being human. A father for ten years, a mother for eight, and for a time in between, neither, or both ("the parental version of the schnoodle, or the cockapoo"), Jennifer Finney Boylan has seen parenthood from both sides of the gender divide. When her two children were young, Boylan came out as transgender, and as Jenny transitioned from a man to a woman and from a father to a mother, her family faced unique challenges and questions. In this thoughtful, tear-jerking, hilarious memoir, Jenny asks what it means to be a father, or a mother, and to what extent gender shades our experiences as parents. "It is my hope," she writes, "that having a father who became a woman in turn helped my sons become better men." Through both her own story and incredibly insightful interviews with others, including Richard Russo, Edward Albee, Ann Beattie, Augusten Burroughs, Susan Minot, Trey Ellis, Timothy Kreider, and more, Jenny examines relationships with fathers and mothers, people's memories of the children they were and the parents they became, and the many different ways a family can be. Followed by an Afterword by Anna Quindlen that includes Jenny and her wife discussing the challenges they've faced and the love they share, Stuck in the Middle with You is a brilliant meditation on raising – and on being – a child.


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New York Times bestseller and acclaimed author Jennifer Finney Boylan returns with a remarkable memoir about gender and parenting, including incredible interviews discussing gender, how families are shaped, and the difficulties and wonders of being human. A father for ten years, a mother for eight, and for a time in between, neither, or both ("the parental version of the sc New York Times bestseller and acclaimed author Jennifer Finney Boylan returns with a remarkable memoir about gender and parenting, including incredible interviews discussing gender, how families are shaped, and the difficulties and wonders of being human. A father for ten years, a mother for eight, and for a time in between, neither, or both ("the parental version of the schnoodle, or the cockapoo"), Jennifer Finney Boylan has seen parenthood from both sides of the gender divide. When her two children were young, Boylan came out as transgender, and as Jenny transitioned from a man to a woman and from a father to a mother, her family faced unique challenges and questions. In this thoughtful, tear-jerking, hilarious memoir, Jenny asks what it means to be a father, or a mother, and to what extent gender shades our experiences as parents. "It is my hope," she writes, "that having a father who became a woman in turn helped my sons become better men." Through both her own story and incredibly insightful interviews with others, including Richard Russo, Edward Albee, Ann Beattie, Augusten Burroughs, Susan Minot, Trey Ellis, Timothy Kreider, and more, Jenny examines relationships with fathers and mothers, people's memories of the children they were and the parents they became, and the many different ways a family can be. Followed by an Afterword by Anna Quindlen that includes Jenny and her wife discussing the challenges they've faced and the love they share, Stuck in the Middle with You is a brilliant meditation on raising – and on being – a child.

30 review for Stuck in the Middle With You: A Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kaethe Douglas

    Finney Boylan is now my favorite memoir writer. Dogs and ghosts await me, and that is very happy -making news. Library copy

  2. 5 out of 5

    Monika

    I read Jennifer Finney Boylan's memoir She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders years ago and was quite moved by it. I was excited to receive an advance copy of her new memoir, Stuck in the Middle with You: A Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders, which releases later this month. Boylan's voice is kind, open-hearted, and never judgmental. There is a touching example of this right away, in the memoir's first several pages. Boylan is not a radical, militant activist; she's not trying to win our approv I read Jennifer Finney Boylan's memoir She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders years ago and was quite moved by it. I was excited to receive an advance copy of her new memoir, Stuck in the Middle with You: A Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders, which releases later this month. Boylan's voice is kind, open-hearted, and never judgmental. There is a touching example of this right away, in the memoir's first several pages. Boylan is not a radical, militant activist; she's not trying to win our approval. She is simply herself. No matter how different the reader may feel he/she is from the author, it quickly becomes apparent that we and our families are all "nontraditional" in our own way; but we have so much more in common. Boylan has a way of pinpointing just how profound some moments in a parent's life are. She speaks of parenting in such an honest, open way. She is brave enough to say things I wish other parents would admit more often. I highlighted so many sentences that were an encouragement to me as a mom. This memoir is a thoughtful exploration of the way gender roles affect the way we view ourselves as parents, and the way we view our own parents. What qualities make a woman a mother? A man a father? What criteria should we use to define ourselves, and where should that come from? Although Boylan's transition from man to woman may have sparked these questions, I found it worthwhile to allow myself to challenge common attitudes and responses. Often the things people typically use to define "womanhood," for example, alienate large groups of women (myself included). Boylan has an incredibly balanced view, fair to all, and shows how gender is a much more complex topic than many have considered. I loved the layout of the book. Boylan breaks up her own narration with "time outs" (that made me chuckle) featuring interviews with others about their own families. She didn't need to do this. Her writing feels very fresh and would have been just as much a joy to read straight through. But it worked, and it was nice to have that change of pace periodically. The people she interviewed - Augusten Burroughs, Richard Russo, and Ann Beattie, to name only a few - are incredibly varied in their experiences, but these conversations also gradually and gently exposed common threads. I also enjoyed the afterword: Anna Quindlen's interview with Jenny and her wife, Deedie; it made me want to reread She's Not There. Boylan's reflections on parenting are frank and deeply perceptive. I laughed and I cried. Stuck in the Middle with You is a powerful book that encourages us to be true to ourselves, and connect with each other not through labels, but as fellow human beings. I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ellie

    Stuck in the Middle with You: A Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders is the memoir of Jennifer Finney Boylan that reflects upon her role as parent and how it did-or did not- change as the result of her transition from male to female. Boylan has written elsewhere of her transgender issues and her focus here is primarily on to what degree-if any-it has impacted upon her parenting. Boylan has remained married to her pre-transition spouse and the book touches lightly upon the experience this has bee Stuck in the Middle with You: A Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders is the memoir of Jennifer Finney Boylan that reflects upon her role as parent and how it did-or did not- change as the result of her transition from male to female. Boylan has written elsewhere of her transgender issues and her focus here is primarily on to what degree-if any-it has impacted upon her parenting. Boylan has remained married to her pre-transition spouse and the book touches lightly upon the experience this has been for the wife-Deedee-in this relationship. On the whole, Boylan concludes, her gender change does not seem to have had a negative impact on her sons. The narrative, an able accounting of the experience of parenting for anyone, is interspersed with interviews from friends of Boylan, writers such as Edward Albee, Richard Russo, and Ann Beattie, as well as the experience of a former nanny of Boylan's. The interviewees reflect on their experience of either being parented or being parents and on their decisions to have or not have children of their own. Stuck in the Middle with You: A Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders is an engaging if not compelling book that hangs somewhat loosely on the thread of Boylan's transgender experience and even more loosely on the general experience of family. I would have wished for a more coherent reflection on any one of these issues but as it is, I enjoyed the book and found myself feeling as though I knew Boylan and her family personally. What comes across clearly, to me, is that the experience of parenting has more to do with love and caring than it does with gender.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie G.

    In return for my honest review I received this book free from Librarything Early Reviewers. This did not affect my review. So...this was disappointing. I loved Boylan's first memoir,She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders This book started out with promise, but I had a number of issues with it in the end. Boylan actually writes very little about parenting or family. Her kids are exquisitely well adjusted and high achieving. Neither she nor her wife are particularly troubled by the fact that they h In return for my honest review I received this book free from Librarything Early Reviewers. This did not affect my review. So...this was disappointing. I loved Boylan's first memoir,She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders This book started out with promise, but I had a number of issues with it in the end. Boylan actually writes very little about parenting or family. Her kids are exquisitely well adjusted and high achieving. Neither she nor her wife are particularly troubled by the fact that they haven't had sex since the transition and will never have sex again because who needs sex when there is love? Yeah, right. Boylan tells a few VERY select stories, and augments this very skimpy memoir with interviews with well known literary folks. These interviews are ostensibly (sometimes actually) centered on parenting and on being parented. Other than learning that Edward Albee, a playwright whose work I have loved, was an asshat, these interviews taught me nothing. The interviews did not broaden or inform my view of parenting. They were, frankly, really bad. Boylan has done some reporting, so I would have expected her to be a better interviewer. I think when friends interview friends it doesn't work. Anyone who has read Interview Magazine knows this. Whatever the reason, these interviews are awful. Focusing on the fact the interviews were not done well raises the question of whether the interviews belong in this book. I say they do not. This book holds itself out as a memoir of parenting as a trans woman, and it is not. The only material which really covers this are a few stories about how Jenny is worried that her transition will create issues. Of course it is all in her head and her children are really truly 100% unaffected by her decision to transition. That may be how she chooses to see it, but kids are judged by their peers all the time. That judgment includes peers' views of parents. I am not saying in any way that her kids are going to be screwed up by her transition, I am not even saying they might not grow to be better men because of it, I am just saying she is claiming that the transition did not affect her sons in any way, and I am not buying what she is selling. A more honest discussion would have been both more interesting and more educational and empowering for parents raising their children in non-traditional environments. In the end this book came off as lazy and dishonest, and that is a shame. Boylan is a great writer and she has life experience which could have been turned into a really good book. Oh well, 2 kids in elite colleges costs. I wish the family well, they seem like nice people.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Asho

    First, let me say that I enjoyed Boylan's writing style. The memoir chapters in this book left me hungry for more of her stories and experiences. I also enjoyed the interviews and was impressed by the caliber of featured interview subjects (also: wow, some people have horrendous parents). I was disappointed, though, that this book seemed to only skim the surface of questions of gender and parenting roles. I wish Boylan had done more exploration of traditional gender roles. In trying to make the p First, let me say that I enjoyed Boylan's writing style. The memoir chapters in this book left me hungry for more of her stories and experiences. I also enjoyed the interviews and was impressed by the caliber of featured interview subjects (also: wow, some people have horrendous parents). I was disappointed, though, that this book seemed to only skim the surface of questions of gender and parenting roles. I wish Boylan had done more exploration of traditional gender roles. In trying to make the point that there aren't big differences generally speaking, and certainly not harmful ones, in what mothers do and fathers do, she ended up not actually talking much about parenting. I am not sure I am making much sense here...I suppose I just wanted more of the nitty-gritty. This was more about the emotions of parenting than the practicalities of parenting, and I wish I had heard more about the whole picture. For instance, I have no idea from reading this if Boylan felt the pressure many female academics feel as they try to balance work and family, pressure that--in my experience, at least--seems largely absent for males. Not that men don't want to be with their families and raise their children, just that society still doesn't expect them to take on that role in as all-encompassing a way as we expect it of females. I would have loved to hear more about how transitioning affected the work/life balance and her perception of traditional male roles of family breadwinner, head of household, etc. Basically, where was the explanation of the traditional gender roles? I suppose Boylan's basic point was, "Those roles shouldn't matter because in the end parents are parents, no matter the sex/gender." And yet its idealistic to say that they don't matter. They do, because they still exist to some degree, and I wish she had grappled with them a bit more because she's in a unique position of having experienced parenthood and academia as both a father and a mother. Also, Boylan makes the point in the post-book interview that it is her story to tell, not her wife's. Fair enough. However, I think when talking about parenting, the best judge of how a parent has ultimately done at his/her task is the testimony of his/her children. It doesn't matter how I perceive my role as a mother, or how great a parent others think I am, if my own son disagrees. So in this case I think perhaps this memoir was a bit premature. I wish Boylan had waited to write it until her sons were older and more established in their own lives and careers (if I gather correctly, they are late high school age, maybe early college age at oldest). I'd love to know what they would say about their upbringing. I doubt it would contradict Boylan's story, but I'd still like the nuanced view I think her kids could bring to the table. Overall, this book didn't quite hit the spot 100%, but it did leave me wanting to explore more of Boylan's writing, particularly her earlier memoir.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Melissa T

    This was an interesting look at gender identity, and how that changed for Jennifer Finney Boylan as she transitioned from male to female. She looked at it from an interesting perspective. Am I still the same parent I was when I used to be their father? Of course not everything was the same. Her wife had to adjust to losing a husband, her sons to losing a father. But, they gained, as they put it a"Maddy" (half mommy, half daddy) and I think that had a profoundly positive effect on them. Boylan's so This was an interesting look at gender identity, and how that changed for Jennifer Finney Boylan as she transitioned from male to female. She looked at it from an interesting perspective. Am I still the same parent I was when I used to be their father? Of course not everything was the same. Her wife had to adjust to losing a husband, her sons to losing a father. But, they gained, as they put it a"Maddy" (half mommy, half daddy) and I think that had a profoundly positive effect on them. Boylan's sons are sensitive, caring, well rounded individuals. And so wise. Some of the things they said as little boys just got me right in the heart! Boylan portrays both sides of the issue, even within her own life. She had family who was supportive, and family who was not. She had situations where she was comfortable inher womanhood, and situations where she wasn't. Overall I enjoyed looking at this, as well as the other perspectives she covered on parenthood, with the essays from others she included. Though if I'm honest, they were actually my least favorite part of the book. I felt that her story of her family was enough to hold up the book. The essays felt like a distraction to me.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    I won this book from a goodreads, first reads giveaway. It has in no way, influenced my opinion. In college, I had a class where a transgendered (male to female) came in and told her story. I remember that my friend and I were quite fascinated. You hear about it but to see it right in front of your face, really opens your eyes. It was one of the experiences from college that really stayed with me. They are just regular people. So I was interested in what this book would be about. It fell really I won this book from a goodreads, first reads giveaway. It has in no way, influenced my opinion. In college, I had a class where a transgendered (male to female) came in and told her story. I remember that my friend and I were quite fascinated. You hear about it but to see it right in front of your face, really opens your eyes. It was one of the experiences from college that really stayed with me. They are just regular people. So I was interested in what this book would be about. It fell really flat for me. One of my "pet peeves" about reading, is when I'm being told a story but in the middle of that story, another story starts. Before that second story finishes, I have completely forgotten what the initial story is. I then have to try hard to remember what the beginning was when we get back into the original story. Sound confusing? It is. It's annoying! I don't like when authors do this over and over. This happens a lot in this book. It was just really dry and it honestly took me a long time to get through this book. The most interesting part of this book is really all the interviews with all of her friends. Their life story about their parents and some of the things they have gone through to be parents themselves. To me that was the core of this book. The rest of the stories about Jenny felt more like just fluff to fill pages. It was also a bit annoying to have the interview at the end with Deedie and Jenny and just focus on the first book. I didn't read the first book, so I had no idea what they were talking about. That interview should have been at the back of the first book, not this one. Overall, this book was just okay.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    This book is like a quilt woven from many different pieces. I was surprised to find especially pleasurable the interludes of interviews with various literary figures, and other people in Jenny's life. It felt like I was sitting in the room with them as they talked about family, gender, literature, life... And then there's the other (related) focus of the book, Jenny's relationship with her kids and spouse before and after her gender reassignment. These parts are written with such tenderness, vuln This book is like a quilt woven from many different pieces. I was surprised to find especially pleasurable the interludes of interviews with various literary figures, and other people in Jenny's life. It felt like I was sitting in the room with them as they talked about family, gender, literature, life... And then there's the other (related) focus of the book, Jenny's relationship with her kids and spouse before and after her gender reassignment. These parts are written with such tenderness, vulnerability and humor--hallmarks of Jenny's other book I read, "She's Not There." Another pleasure of this book for me, as a writer, is the fun way she weaves literary references into the book--and how I got to "sit in" on conversations between her and other writers (such as Agustin Burroughs, Edward Albee, and Anne Beattie). There are a lot of moving parts to this book, and I enjoyed the way the various aspects themes emerged. It reminded me there are as many ways to write a book as there are writers--and as many ways to live as there are people.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Treiman

    a just ok memoir about a father who changed to a mother. Sounds like a topic that one would remember reading about, but I suspect that I'll forget this book very soon a just ok memoir about a father who changed to a mother. Sounds like a topic that one would remember reading about, but I suspect that I'll forget this book very soon

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mell

    Full of good insights and some laugh-out-loud moments. Boylan is never afraid of admitting and spotlighting her humanity and flaws. She's relatable. I found the author interview chapters a bit disruptive, and some were real duds for me. I most enjoyed the author's family interactions and discussions about gender non-conformity, kindness, and embracing life. Full of good insights and some laugh-out-loud moments. Boylan is never afraid of admitting and spotlighting her humanity and flaws. She's relatable. I found the author interview chapters a bit disruptive, and some were real duds for me. I most enjoyed the author's family interactions and discussions about gender non-conformity, kindness, and embracing life.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    This is a memoir about Boylan’s transition from a man to a woman, while married and raising a family. The author wrote a previous book which contains more details about the transition itself. This book is about the impact this decision has on her family. Her wife stays with her once her transition to a woman is complete. The children seem to be adversely affected, but adopt a more open-minded view on the world. The book is well-written and very interesting. I found Boylan’s reflections on parent This is a memoir about Boylan’s transition from a man to a woman, while married and raising a family. The author wrote a previous book which contains more details about the transition itself. This book is about the impact this decision has on her family. Her wife stays with her once her transition to a woman is complete. The children seem to be adversely affected, but adopt a more open-minded view on the world. The book is well-written and very interesting. I found Boylan’s reflections on parenthood and gender thought-provoking and very relevant. I loved her authentic communication style and would highly recommend this book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sally

    Although already an accomplished novelist at the time, it was the publication of She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders in 2003 that first made Jennifer Finney Boylan a household name - and which firmly established gender issues as a topic of popular discussion in the process. Says Jennifer of that seminal volume, “at first, I thought of She’s Not There as a kind of ‘once-off,’ after which I’d return to fiction. But, oddly, I hit some nerves with readers.” She found herself drawn to writing nonfi Although already an accomplished novelist at the time, it was the publication of She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders in 2003 that first made Jennifer Finney Boylan a household name - and which firmly established gender issues as a topic of popular discussion in the process. Says Jennifer of that seminal volume, “at first, I thought of She’s Not There as a kind of ‘once-off,’ after which I’d return to fiction. But, oddly, I hit some nerves with readers.” She found herself drawn to writing nonfiction, and since gender issues were very much at the centre of her life, it was inevitable that gender would become a topic she returned to again and again. “You could make a lot,” she muses, “if you wanted, out of the fact that as a man I wrote about things I had to invent, and as a woman I’ve been able to write about things that are true.“ Anybody who has ever given it even a moment’s passing thought knows that it is not easy to step outside the so-called ‘norm’ and embrace a gender identity or expression that lies beyond the traditional gender binary. There’s a world full of fear and prejudice out there, and the sad truth is we all too often have to accept the loss of friends and family in order to find peace and happiness within ourselves. When there are children involved, however, the situation gets even more complex. Fortunately, Stuck in the Middle with You does a wonderful job of exploring the role that gender (and gender change) plays in parenting, and demonstrates that the health and happiness of one’s self and one’s children can coexist peacefully. That’s not to say it’s all fluff and laughter – there are some deep thoughts and some painful tears involved, but time, love, and caring heal most wounds. When asked if, in writing about the lives of her children in Stuck in the Middle With You, she found herself at all sensitive to potentially negative reactions, Jennifer scoffs. “I think the only people who will react negatively . . . are people who have issues with trans people existing in the first place.” As a second-time parent, going though the infant/toddler stage all over again, I was really struck by her doubts and fears regarding what secrets her boys might be hiding. I do wish we could have heard more from her children, and learned more about their rough edges, but it’s comforting to know that our children can take after us, and can learn from us, without actually becoming us. An interesting aspect of Stuck in the Middle with You is the ‘Time Out’ Conversations with other parents that fall between the chapters. “I wanted to make the story about more than just me for a change,” says Jennifer, so she “turned to the moms and dads and “former children” that I knew, most of whom are writers, and asked them to talk to me about their own experience as parents, or about their own parents.” At first I wasn’t sure what to think of those conversations, but I slowly began to see how their placement enhanced the story, adding a new perspective to things. The more we heard from other parents, the more it becomes clear that so many parenting experiences are universal, and not unique to any gender. Jennifer takes the bold step of concluding the book with an interview of her partner and herself, conducted by novelist Anna Quindlen. Jennifer and Deirdre talk about stereotypes and secrets, about Maddy versus Daddy, and even answer a few difficult questions. It is Boylan, of course, who gets in the last word, but not before her partner has a chance to pull all the threads together in a family portrait that’s not much different from any other. While not as ground-breaking as her first two novels, Stuck in the Middle with You is a welcome addition to the shelves upon shelves of parenting books out there, and one that offers a unique perspective for all genders. Originally reviewed for Frock Magazine

  13. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    Writer James Finney-Boylan had been a father for six years when he decided that he could no longer continue the charade of living as a man. She spent six years in the transition process, then underwent gender reassignment therapy and became a mother named Jennifer. She and her wife, Deirdre, remained married and raised their two sons as a couple. Jennifer has written her transition story elsewhere; this is the story of them as a family. Told in alternating sections by Jennifer and via interviews Writer James Finney-Boylan had been a father for six years when he decided that he could no longer continue the charade of living as a man. She spent six years in the transition process, then underwent gender reassignment therapy and became a mother named Jennifer. She and her wife, Deirdre, remained married and raised their two sons as a couple. Jennifer has written her transition story elsewhere; this is the story of them as a family. Told in alternating sections by Jennifer and via interviews with other writers about family and raising children, we discover that Jennifer’s worries that her transition would damage the boys were unfounded: they are happy, well adjusted young men who do not think that their family is even slightly unusual. Amazingly, given how cruel kids (and adults) can be to anyone even slightly ‘different’, the boys were not bullied or maltreated by their schoolmates. She admits that her transition was very lucky because most of the many, many things that could have gone bad did not. The book is an easy, interesting read. While I have read other transition stories, none have focused on the family like this one does. The interviews show that families and parenting styles come in all shapes and methods. This book adds a new facet to the huge array of parenting books. The only problem was a little bit of choppiness in the flow.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joanna Cabot

    This was an overall rewarding and satisfying read. I have some personnel experience with the subject matter, so books of this nature always interest me; it's always nice to see a non-depressing one. I give Boylan a lot of credit for building a happy, satisfying life in spite of her challenges. I do have a few quibbles, of course. Firstly, I think Boyaln's assertion that she is in many ways unusually lucky is true and does take away a little from the 'lessons' one can learn from her story. Even th This was an overall rewarding and satisfying read. I have some personnel experience with the subject matter, so books of this nature always interest me; it's always nice to see a non-depressing one. I give Boylan a lot of credit for building a happy, satisfying life in spite of her challenges. I do have a few quibbles, of course. Firstly, I think Boyaln's assertion that she is in many ways unusually lucky is true and does take away a little from the 'lessons' one can learn from her story. Even the fact of her decades-long career at the same university---that is a financial stability few could boast of, and it no doubt provided an anchor in her life that many of her readers don't have. Also, she has a few pretensions as a writer that weren't my thing. For instance, she refers to her children sometimes as 'the boy' or the 'the child' in an attempt to be literary, and I felt that this sort of writing didn't really call for that. And I thought that the interviews sprinkled throughout at first seemed a little navel-gazing, but then she did tie them into the main narrative in the end. Overall, a good read. And a well-formatted, typo-free ebook too, which is always a pleasure :)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gwen

    This book was wonderful, but I also found parts of it unspeakably sad. At one point, I was reading it on the plane on the flight home from my 25th high school reunion and I had tears streaming down my face. I think the worst part was when Jenny was describing a Fourth of July celebration and what she most wanted was for Deedie to kiss her, and Deedie wouldn't... but she said "Don't be sad; I still love you". It was just awful. (Of course, that's my own issue creeping in...) And I don't know, I gu This book was wonderful, but I also found parts of it unspeakably sad. At one point, I was reading it on the plane on the flight home from my 25th high school reunion and I had tears streaming down my face. I think the worst part was when Jenny was describing a Fourth of July celebration and what she most wanted was for Deedie to kiss her, and Deedie wouldn't... but she said "Don't be sad; I still love you". It was just awful. (Of course, that's my own issue creeping in...) And I don't know, I guess it made me realize my failings as a parent. My inability to connect sometimes. My sadness, my depression, my dysphoria. It all gets in the way sometimes. But it is a wonderful book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Horowitz

    The main narrative is really interesting and JFB is always entertaining and laces her writing with humor, but the interview interludes didn't really do it for me. They felt kind of like they were working backwards from a predetermined thesis which was being confirmed by the questions and answers. Or maybe I just didn't like how they interrupted the flow. The main narrative is really interesting and JFB is always entertaining and laces her writing with humor, but the interview interludes didn't really do it for me. They felt kind of like they were working backwards from a predetermined thesis which was being confirmed by the questions and answers. Or maybe I just didn't like how they interrupted the flow.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Nat

    Won it in a goodreads giveaway. Interesting read to see how gender change effects on a family. Touching moments peppered with some funny moments. The only major flaw would be that the interviews break the flow of the book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    I didn't love the verbatim interview transcriptions, although they often had flashes of exceptional insight. I felt they would've been better integrated into Boylan's narrative, which was powerful -- in the sense of a necessary narrative -- and entertaining. I didn't love the verbatim interview transcriptions, although they often had flashes of exceptional insight. I felt they would've been better integrated into Boylan's narrative, which was powerful -- in the sense of a necessary narrative -- and entertaining.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    Love Jennifer Finney Boylan--her writing and her acceptance of life as it is.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Gwen

    Raising an energetic American pit bull terrier counts as parenting right? No? Gah! Why did I read this book then!? Jokes aside I did enjoy the memoir parts of this book. Jennifer Finney Boylan has a way of writing memoirs about sorta boring life details and some how still making them interesting. One bit flows into the next, and everything ties together well. On top of that it is really nice to read a transwoman memoir that has next to nothing to do with the act of transition. As a transwoman mys Raising an energetic American pit bull terrier counts as parenting right? No? Gah! Why did I read this book then!? Jokes aside I did enjoy the memoir parts of this book. Jennifer Finney Boylan has a way of writing memoirs about sorta boring life details and some how still making them interesting. One bit flows into the next, and everything ties together well. On top of that it is really nice to read a transwoman memoir that has next to nothing to do with the act of transition. As a transwoman myself I'm more interested in reading about other transpeople's lives than I am about their medical transition. This is all about being a parent and understanding what parenting is from different points in her life. She gets to compare what it was like being a father to being a mother. How it is different from her wife being a mother, and even compare it to her own parents. I really appreciated all of that even though I myself am not a parent. There are also these interview parts that read like recorded dialogue. I am not a fan of those parts. They don't flow as well and they just feel tacked on. There's some good stories in those dialogues, but I would have rather read them as stories written by Boylan rather than as the literal conversation between Boylan and the interviewee (or in the last one Boylan, her wife Deedie Finney Boylan, and the interviewer). Honestly it read a bit like a way to pad out the book. Sort of like the reading guides at the end. I'm glad I read this. Parenting might as well be another planet as far as I'm concerned, but I like the stories told in this.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Pletcher

    This is a memoir about the author who went through a transition from male to female. She was married and had two sons when she finally realized that she could not hide herself any longer. She talked with her wife, and when through the transition from Jimmy to Jenny. Her wife stayed with her and is still with her today. She went from being Daddy to Maddy to her boys. During her transition, her family faced a lot of challenges and many questions, but in the end, they stayed together as a family. T This is a memoir about the author who went through a transition from male to female. She was married and had two sons when she finally realized that she could not hide herself any longer. She talked with her wife, and when through the transition from Jimmy to Jenny. Her wife stayed with her and is still with her today. She went from being Daddy to Maddy to her boys. During her transition, her family faced a lot of challenges and many questions, but in the end, they stayed together as a family. This book tells her story, but also has interviews others in her life and examines their relationships with mothers, fathers, and children whether their own or as their roles of. I thought this was a pretty good book. I would be lying if I was surprised that Jenny's wife stayed with her after her transition. Her wife does not identify as a lesbian, but she loves Jenny and loved their life, so she stuck with her. They seem like a well balanced, loving family. Their boys are grown now, and striving, and show no ill effects of Jenny's transition. I did enjoy the other interviews intermixed in this book - how people viewed their own relationships with their fathers, mothers and children. And how those relationships formed the person they are today. I suggest reading it. There isn't a lot known or understood about people who are transgender, and I think this book gives a good insight on the struggles a person - and their family - can go through

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ann Woodbury Moore

    Jennifer Finney Boylan, born James, transitioned from male to female 20 years ago. Her first autobiography, "She's Not There" (2003), chronicled her life through that point. "Stuck in the Middle With You" (2013) is a sequel, of sorts. Boylan describes her concerns at parenting her two sons and the effect her transition may have had on them. But she also includes three "Time Out" conversations with authors, artists and friends about fathers and sons, "waifs and angels," mothers and daughters. Whi Jennifer Finney Boylan, born James, transitioned from male to female 20 years ago. Her first autobiography, "She's Not There" (2003), chronicled her life through that point. "Stuck in the Middle With You" (2013) is a sequel, of sorts. Boylan describes her concerns at parenting her two sons and the effect her transition may have had on them. But she also includes three "Time Out" conversations with authors, artists and friends about fathers and sons, "waifs and angels," mothers and daughters. While interesting, I didn't find this book as gripping as "She's Not There." In addition--SPOILER ALERT--I learned that Boylan's older son recently transitioned from male to female. I would love to hear Boylan's honest reaction to this clearly unexpected event. She does at one point state that she would not want her sons to go through her experiences, because it's so difficult (in many ways--physically, emotionally, socially). Although of course in 2013 Boylan couldn't have anticipated the future, I feel that knowing what would happen could have dramatically changed her presentation.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Melvin Marsh, M.S.

    When I read the blurb from Librarything Early Reviewers, I expected a book on being a transgender parent like I am as we have our own unique challenges. I am a female to male transsexual who is a parent and it is very difficult to raise a child when one is transgender. The book has a mixture of Jenny's own stories as well as interviews from other parents, most of which are very out of place. Of the interviews, only one was from another transsexual! I am not sure what Jenny was thinking when she When I read the blurb from Librarything Early Reviewers, I expected a book on being a transgender parent like I am as we have our own unique challenges. I am a female to male transsexual who is a parent and it is very difficult to raise a child when one is transgender. The book has a mixture of Jenny's own stories as well as interviews from other parents, most of which are very out of place. Of the interviews, only one was from another transsexual! I am not sure what Jenny was thinking when she added the interviews, I think they would have been better if they were in a separate book or perhaps even, if they had to be published, published in a journal article as they really did not add to any part of the book as they feel like "fluff." Jenny's other book "She's not there" was a much better book not only about being transgender but also being a parent.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    This book kinda sucked. It had such an interesting premise and yet it barely touched on what it was like being a transgender parent. There was little insight on how their marriage changed or if being transgender impacted her sons the way she feared. The book was mostly random anecdotes that don’t really have much to do with being transgender. The writing was all over the place and jumped around too much. I kept reading in the hopes that it would eventually get interesting. It didn’t. 2.5, i don’ This book kinda sucked. It had such an interesting premise and yet it barely touched on what it was like being a transgender parent. There was little insight on how their marriage changed or if being transgender impacted her sons the way she feared. The book was mostly random anecdotes that don’t really have much to do with being transgender. The writing was all over the place and jumped around too much. I kept reading in the hopes that it would eventually get interesting. It didn’t. 2.5, i don’t recommend.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Jehlik

    Boylan, a creative writing professor at Colby Cottage, shares sketches of her parenting life as both a father and a mother after transitioning from male to female. This is truly a literary memoir with lots of references from both literature and music. Her adventures with two sons cover the gamut from toddler temper tantrums to a Facebook threat (as a joke) when her older son was in high school. She also includes transcripts of conversations with authors, artists, and individuals who are raising Boylan, a creative writing professor at Colby Cottage, shares sketches of her parenting life as both a father and a mother after transitioning from male to female. This is truly a literary memoir with lots of references from both literature and music. Her adventures with two sons cover the gamut from toddler temper tantrums to a Facebook threat (as a joke) when her older son was in high school. She also includes transcripts of conversations with authors, artists, and individuals who are raising children in non-nuclear families.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Malinda

    Jennifer Finney Boylan has the gift of asking difficult questions compassionately. What makes someone a mother vs. a father? How does the act of parent simultaneously change us and reveal our true selves? Boylan has had the unique experience of parenting as a father, through her gender transition, and as a mother. So, she is distinctly positioned to explore these difficult questions. By relating her own stories, and sharing interviews with others who have unusual parenting journeys, Boylan expan Jennifer Finney Boylan has the gift of asking difficult questions compassionately. What makes someone a mother vs. a father? How does the act of parent simultaneously change us and reveal our true selves? Boylan has had the unique experience of parenting as a father, through her gender transition, and as a mother. So, she is distinctly positioned to explore these difficult questions. By relating her own stories, and sharing interviews with others who have unusual parenting journeys, Boylan expands the notion of parenting for us all.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Darlene Stericker

    This is an excellent book which explores the nuances of changing physical gender during the time of parenthood. It is sensitively written and humorous throughout. I found the interviews in the book very interesting but puzzling. They were about various circumstances of parenting, but not necessarily about transgender parenting. I am probably missing the point. A super book which I highly recommend.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I enjoyed her first book. However I read it soon after my daughter came out to me as Trans and probably need to read it again . This book was much easier to read , more about parenting and gender and what makes a mom a mom and a dad a dad. I gained some interesting perspectives that I will be thinking about and contemplating for awhile! An excellent choice for parents to be as well as anyone who wants a better understanding of what being a transwoman is.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten

    Good, but not nearly as good as She's Not There. I skimmed (or outright skipped) a lot of the interview chapters, because I just wasn't interested. Definitely some good writing and well-done moments, but the whole thing doesn't hang together that well, and would likely make no sense if you hadn't already read the other memoir. Good, but not nearly as good as She's Not There. I skimmed (or outright skipped) a lot of the interview chapters, because I just wasn't interested. Definitely some good writing and well-done moments, but the whole thing doesn't hang together that well, and would likely make no sense if you hadn't already read the other memoir.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gail Kennon

    serviceable prose in somewhat boring narrative with strange conversational interludes which seem to explore parenthood. i'm confused by the author's inclination to see herself as mother to the children she fathered. serviceable prose in somewhat boring narrative with strange conversational interludes which seem to explore parenthood. i'm confused by the author's inclination to see herself as mother to the children she fathered.

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