web site hit counter The Listener - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

The Listener

Availability: Ready to download

Malcolm Dowd is almost positive he recognizes the freshman who shows up for a session at his office in Baxter College’s Center for Behavioral Health—he just can’t place her. When suddenly she stands, takes off her wig, and reveals herself as Noah, the young man Malcolm had been treating months earlier, it marks the start of a relationship that will change them both. After l Malcolm Dowd is almost positive he recognizes the freshman who shows up for a session at his office in Baxter College’s Center for Behavioral Health—he just can’t place her. When suddenly she stands, takes off her wig, and reveals herself as Noah, the young man Malcolm had been treating months earlier, it marks the start of a relationship that will change them both. After losing his wife at a young age, Malcolm dedicated himself to giving his two daughters the stable, predictable childhood he never had. But now nothing is predictable—not his young adult daughters, not himself, and certainly not Noah. Whether he’s attending class or rehearsing for the campus musical, Noah finds he’s often challenging everyone’s definition of gender. During the course of one semester, Noah’s and Malcolm’s lives become entwined in ways neither could ever have imagined. Told alternately from Malcolm’s and Noah’s perspectives The Listener explores the ways in which we conceal and reveal our identities. As truth after truth is exposed, characters are forced to reconsider themselves and reorder their lives, with few easy answers to be found for anyone. The Listener is, ultimately, about the power of human connection and the many shapes that love can take.


Compare

Malcolm Dowd is almost positive he recognizes the freshman who shows up for a session at his office in Baxter College’s Center for Behavioral Health—he just can’t place her. When suddenly she stands, takes off her wig, and reveals herself as Noah, the young man Malcolm had been treating months earlier, it marks the start of a relationship that will change them both. After l Malcolm Dowd is almost positive he recognizes the freshman who shows up for a session at his office in Baxter College’s Center for Behavioral Health—he just can’t place her. When suddenly she stands, takes off her wig, and reveals herself as Noah, the young man Malcolm had been treating months earlier, it marks the start of a relationship that will change them both. After losing his wife at a young age, Malcolm dedicated himself to giving his two daughters the stable, predictable childhood he never had. But now nothing is predictable—not his young adult daughters, not himself, and certainly not Noah. Whether he’s attending class or rehearsing for the campus musical, Noah finds he’s often challenging everyone’s definition of gender. During the course of one semester, Noah’s and Malcolm’s lives become entwined in ways neither could ever have imagined. Told alternately from Malcolm’s and Noah’s perspectives The Listener explores the ways in which we conceal and reveal our identities. As truth after truth is exposed, characters are forced to reconsider themselves and reorder their lives, with few easy answers to be found for anyone. The Listener is, ultimately, about the power of human connection and the many shapes that love can take.

30 review for The Listener

  1. 4 out of 5

    Scott Rhee

    Rachel Basch's novel "The Listener" is a heartfelt, empathetic, intelligent novel that tackles many issues, mainly having to do with gender identity and sexuality. Her protagonist is a psychologist who provides talk therapy on a college campus---the "listener" of the title. It is a good novel but short, and it doesn't delve as deeply into its subject matter as much as it could, or possibly even should, especially given the clever and promising set-up in the beginning of the novel. In the very beg Rachel Basch's novel "The Listener" is a heartfelt, empathetic, intelligent novel that tackles many issues, mainly having to do with gender identity and sexuality. Her protagonist is a psychologist who provides talk therapy on a college campus---the "listener" of the title. It is a good novel but short, and it doesn't delve as deeply into its subject matter as much as it could, or possibly even should, especially given the clever and promising set-up in the beginning of the novel. In the very beginning, Malcolm Dowd, the afore-mentioned therapist, is in the middle of a session with a young, attractive college girl named Leah. He's not sure why she is there, as her responses are vague, and she doesn't want to open up immediately. Then, out of the blue, she stands up and begins to take her clothes off in front of Malcolm. I know what you're thinking, and, no, it's not that kind of book. When Leah removes her wig to reveal that she is actually a male named Noah, a student that Malcolm has been having sessions with off and on for months, Malcolm's case study of the young man suddenly gets more interesting, but his life and his relationship with the young man also suddenly becomes more complicated. The book alternates between Malcolm's and Noah's stories, and their lives quickly become intertwined in ways that neither could foresee. Noah is simply trying to figure out who---and what---he is. He enjoys being a girl, wearing girl's clothes, but he doesn't think that he's gay, and he's dealing with the loneliness of a campus of cruel people who don't understand and don't want to understand. Malcolm is dealing with two college-age daughters, alone, as his wife died many years before. Over the course of the novel, the girls persuade Malcolm to reveal a secret about their mother that has been nagging him for a long time. It is also something that he doesn't want to deal with, ironic considering his profession. While I liked the novel, especially the character of Malcolm, who is human and flawed and yet wisely professional and clinical in situations when being unprofessional and more emotional would probably be more effective, I felt that Basch doesn't push the story further. She plays it safe, especially with the story's central conflict, which happens midway through the book, and which, honestly, doesn't feel like much of a serious conflict anyway. It's something easily fixed. Noah's character is interesting, but he never quite leaves his limbo zone of identity confusion, and his story never truly gets any closure. I also would have liked to have seen more of Malcolm's daughters, whose roles play a bigger part in the end of the novel, but they themselves never quite seem to feel fully developed. I don't want to sound like I am trashing the book. I understand that life is messy and complicated, and things don't always get the closure or the solution that is expected or even necessary. Basch writes well, and she tells a compelling story with very compelling, believable characters. It is, unfortunately, a novel that is too short to tell the more fascinating and enlightening story that it promises within the first chapter. That book would have been great. As it is, "The Listener" is merely decent.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sarah-Hope

    Rachel Basch’s The Listener wasn’t the novel I’d expected it to be, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. What I’d picked up on while reading the promotional material was that it dealt with a college psychologist working with an intersexed student: Noah, biologically a young man, but who moves back and forth between male and female genders in daily life. Noah is there, but so are a lot of other characters: the therapist’s two adult daughters, his private-practice partner who’s having an affair, the partn Rachel Basch’s The Listener wasn’t the novel I’d expected it to be, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. What I’d picked up on while reading the promotional material was that it dealt with a college psychologist working with an intersexed student: Noah, biologically a young man, but who moves back and forth between male and female genders in daily life. Noah is there, but so are a lot of other characters: the therapist’s two adult daughters, his private-practice partner who’s having an affair, the partner’s wife, Noah’s mother, and Noah’s best friend Alex. The emotional center of the novel is the therapist, Malcolm Dowd, whose professional and private lives resonate with one another in uncomfortable ways. The novel is a bit of a soap opera, but a thoughtful soap opera, one that attempts to get inside the motivations of the different characters, rather just presenting them as easily recognizable types. No one in this book is all he or she might be. The flaws of the different characters peak at different moments, keeping their relationships with one another brittle—but still, oddly, hopeful. Though the characters vary in age, each is still a work in progress, which creates a sort of emotional equality at the heart of the book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dietra

    This book has a great concept. However, I find it hard to believe it passed the editors' desk. There are several errors and the writing in general is very hard to follow at times. I found myself stopping and rereading because I was confused as to who the author was talking about and/or if it was past or present. Not to mention a lot of what the main character does is unethical. I'm so disappointed because this is a great story line and just needed to be executed better. This book has a great concept. However, I find it hard to believe it passed the editors' desk. There are several errors and the writing in general is very hard to follow at times. I found myself stopping and rereading because I was confused as to who the author was talking about and/or if it was past or present. Not to mention a lot of what the main character does is unethical. I'm so disappointed because this is a great story line and just needed to be executed better.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    Honestly, it was the cover art that initially attracted me to this novel, but then I read the first paragraph, and was immediately intrigued--- "She was a freshman, allergic to sulfa drugs and codeine. She didn't wear corrective lenses and she didn't smoke. She wasn't taking any medication. She's checked yes for vitamin supplements and no for birth control. At the bottom of the form on the line that read Other, she'd printed OTHER in big block letters". Malcolm Dowd is a "Listener", a psychologis Honestly, it was the cover art that initially attracted me to this novel, but then I read the first paragraph, and was immediately intrigued--- "She was a freshman, allergic to sulfa drugs and codeine. She didn't wear corrective lenses and she didn't smoke. She wasn't taking any medication. She's checked yes for vitamin supplements and no for birth control. At the bottom of the form on the line that read Other, she'd printed OTHER in big block letters". Malcolm Dowd is a "Listener", a psychologist with a private practice as well as a counselor at Baxter College in Maine. His wife died unexpectedly, 14 years earlier and his children are grown and on their own. Although he's seeing a woman named Cara who teaches at Baxter, his life is still in flux. Malcolm has a secret about his deceased wife that even his children aren't aware of. As the story opens, one of his Baxter students has arrived at the behavioral Health center for a counseling session. Leah, A.K.A. Noah, arrives and almost immediately sheds a blond wig and female attire to reveal freshman acting student Noah who is struggling with gender issues. Malcolm had spoken to Noah months earlier, and now this conflicted young patient of his will require even closer "listening" skills than ever. The funny thing is that patient, Noah, at times seems to be a much better "listener" than the man whose help he has sought. One thing is certain though, by the end of the semester both individuals will help one another more than they ever expected. This was an enjoyable novel. It's witty at times and the author know hows to get inside the heads of her characters to reveal their private pain. The characters are complex and dealing with difficult issues like gender issues, grief, parenting, loss and love. I think The Listener is a novel that will appeal to a variety of readers.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sonya Huber

    Rachel Basch's writing engages both my heart and my mind in equal measure. I loved The Passion of Reverend Nash not only for its plot but for its layered presentation of spiritual issues, and her new book did not disappoint. In fact, while the novel itself is quite compact, the story itself has sprawled outward in my mind, its telling and characters remaining with me long after I turned the last page. I loved the distinct voices of each of the characters she explores, both of whom seemed very be Rachel Basch's writing engages both my heart and my mind in equal measure. I loved The Passion of Reverend Nash not only for its plot but for its layered presentation of spiritual issues, and her new book did not disappoint. In fact, while the novel itself is quite compact, the story itself has sprawled outward in my mind, its telling and characters remaining with me long after I turned the last page. I loved the distinct voices of each of the characters she explores, both of whom seemed very believable to me, and she convincingly picks apart the wall that seems to exist between client and practitioner in the therapeutic relationship. Basch is a master of subtle detail, and her scenes never contain more than enough, yet each object, gesture, and line of dialogue is resonant and necessary. The Listener takes on the nature of longing and the ability of the human heart to heal--messily, haltingly, but heal nonetheless.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Although the way that therapy was presented was pretty well done, the rest of the narrative didn't fair well. The secondary characters are so underdeveloped and yet their presence continues, on and on, until they become a pain ... especially Dowd's daughters and Noah's friend. And although it is reasonable for a contemporary American writer to want to treat gender themes, it becomes burdensome when they are so overdone ... does everyone in the book have to confront gender identity issues? Although the way that therapy was presented was pretty well done, the rest of the narrative didn't fair well. The secondary characters are so underdeveloped and yet their presence continues, on and on, until they become a pain ... especially Dowd's daughters and Noah's friend. And although it is reasonable for a contemporary American writer to want to treat gender themes, it becomes burdensome when they are so overdone ... does everyone in the book have to confront gender identity issues?

  7. 4 out of 5

    Justin

    This novel is about our interpersonal relationships, how we love, how we lie, how we discover who we are in how we relate to others. The premise of two unlikely individuals connecting through a therapeutic relationship epitomizes how anyone can find and experience humanity in another person. Malcolm Dowd works as a psychologist at both a private practice and a college campus, and although he might seem a self-actualized figure to his clients, he harbors his own inner struggles. The inner turmoil This novel is about our interpersonal relationships, how we love, how we lie, how we discover who we are in how we relate to others. The premise of two unlikely individuals connecting through a therapeutic relationship epitomizes how anyone can find and experience humanity in another person. Malcolm Dowd works as a psychologist at both a private practice and a college campus, and although he might seem a self-actualized figure to his clients, he harbors his own inner struggles. The inner turmoil of Malcolm and Noah fuel the conflict they face with their relationships as well. Noah struggles with his gender, but more so his identity, the foundation of who he is, and how he can accept and love himself while he shows dissatisfaction towards his mother and his absence of a father. Malcolm regrets the loss of his wife, and the secret of her past he hides from his daughters. The parent-child relationship plays a main role and tests how unconditional love holds amongst life's challenges. Both Malcolm and Noah learn from one another and through their relationships, their lives become entwined. I'll excuse the believeability of the unethical conduct with how Malcolm interacted with Noah's mother and Noah outside of therapy, but I didn't let it detract from my enjoyment of the story. I found this a page turner in which I didn't want it to end. Given the therapeutic setting, and struggle holding onto secrets, and trying to be yourself regardless of what society thinks, I could empathize with both characters. And in the end, The Listener stirs one to reflect on love, our relationships, and how we can live and be our authentic selves.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mom2nine

    Malcolm is a family therapist who works a couple of days a week at the local college. As story unfolds, we learn that Malcolm is a widower who has 19 and 23yr. old daughters. Story is based on relationships, particularly between parents and children, who are no longer children. I have a few children this age, it is an interesting age with many huge decisions and changes. I think the author did a good job showing this. Much of the story is centered around sexuality and the defining of oneself. Th Malcolm is a family therapist who works a couple of days a week at the local college. As story unfolds, we learn that Malcolm is a widower who has 19 and 23yr. old daughters. Story is based on relationships, particularly between parents and children, who are no longer children. I have a few children this age, it is an interesting age with many huge decisions and changes. I think the author did a good job showing this. Much of the story is centered around sexuality and the defining of oneself. This is not graphic or gratuitous, so even if the subject is not of interest, I don't think it would be offensive. There is also a bigger picture of how a parent's childhood affects his parenting and how much of one's history should be told to children. I enjoyed this book, found it unusual and memorable. The way that the author peels off the layers of her characters kept me interested and was well done. Book received in goodreads contest, thank you.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jon Mertz

    The Listener is a well-written story of different individuals seeking acceptance. Acceptance is more than from others, although this is a part of the need; acceptance comes from within too. The Listener shows the power of empathy in other lives... judgment is harsh at times but empathy opens us to acceptance.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Suep

    I missed something.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Judy Mann

    This book irritated the crap out of me.First of all it was I suspect written for people exactly like the characters in the book.Navel gazing, too much time on their hands, a whole lot of big words and so much HEARTFELT crap.So deep, so analytical-so full of hogwash.And the Listener?I found this guy to be totally repulsive."I'll love you no matter who you are.."Oh Gimme a break.So much talk and rambling about LOVE Really I found him repulsive. The one exciting thing about this smug self contained This book irritated the crap out of me.First of all it was I suspect written for people exactly like the characters in the book.Navel gazing, too much time on their hands, a whole lot of big words and so much HEARTFELT crap.So deep, so analytical-so full of hogwash.And the Listener?I found this guy to be totally repulsive."I'll love you no matter who you are.."Oh Gimme a break.So much talk and rambling about LOVE Really I found him repulsive. The one exciting thing about this smug self contained piece of nothing is this: My onions are burning while I'm writing this review.You want life, you want real life- there it is. Don't read this book -it is truly a nauseating piece of work-about a very bored group of people. JM

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie Cywinski

    I felt the character development was very good and the gender issues were handled with compassion and authenticity. Although their stories were so different than any of my experiences, I could relate to the parental questions regarding our fallibility and acceptance when it comes to loving our children. The characters grew on me where I found myself liking them and routing for them. However I was let down by the ending. Hoping to have more resolution. I desired a happy ending but felt there real I felt the character development was very good and the gender issues were handled with compassion and authenticity. Although their stories were so different than any of my experiences, I could relate to the parental questions regarding our fallibility and acceptance when it comes to loving our children. The characters grew on me where I found myself liking them and routing for them. However I was let down by the ending. Hoping to have more resolution. I desired a happy ending but felt there really was not more of an ending than the understanding that we persevere.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Interesting concept. Poorly executed. Main character w gender issue see therapist whose wife left him for a woman and whose daughter reveals she is gay. Main character's mother winds up dating his therapist. Nothing happens. No plot at all. There are some good books that deal with gender issues, but this is not one. Interesting concept. Poorly executed. Main character w gender issue see therapist whose wife left him for a woman and whose daughter reveals she is gay. Main character's mother winds up dating his therapist. Nothing happens. No plot at all. There are some good books that deal with gender issues, but this is not one.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    It seems to me that an opening scene like the one in this novel should've packed more of a punch, if not for shock value, since in this day and age somebody revealing themselves as transgender is hardly shocking, but there could've been more emotional intensity but it was just so lackluster. It tried reading like two more chapters beyond that but just couldn't get into it. It seems to me that an opening scene like the one in this novel should've packed more of a punch, if not for shock value, since in this day and age somebody revealing themselves as transgender is hardly shocking, but there could've been more emotional intensity but it was just so lackluster. It tried reading like two more chapters beyond that but just couldn't get into it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    A little slow. A psychologist and seeing a man who also dresses as a woman and is confused about gender identity

  16. 4 out of 5

    April

    Journey of the relationship between young man uncertain of gender identity, his mother & therapist.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Steve Vaughn

    Very rich story of intertwined lives

  18. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

    Enjoyed her exploration of the characters’s relationships & their growth.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    The pangs in this story bite early and deep: suicide, marital troubles, and the heartbreaking dilemma of Noah/Leah. The various sorrows are revealed gradually, but the story doesn’t sink into despair because of the caring of Malcolm, who is a psychologist, a helper. His compassion seems genuine and convinces the reader that Malcolm will be able to surmount the difficulties that pile up, page after page, right from the beginning. Noah’s gender-identity issue extends beyond the issue in recent news The pangs in this story bite early and deep: suicide, marital troubles, and the heartbreaking dilemma of Noah/Leah. The various sorrows are revealed gradually, but the story doesn’t sink into despair because of the caring of Malcolm, who is a psychologist, a helper. His compassion seems genuine and convinces the reader that Malcolm will be able to surmount the difficulties that pile up, page after page, right from the beginning. Noah’s gender-identity issue extends beyond the issue in recent news to become a fitting metaphor for the alienation and loneliness and quest for authenticity we all feel —I cheered Noah on for standing up to bullies, protecting his friend Alex’s feelings, and wearing some of his “feminine” clothing around campus. The issue of secrets also appears in Malcolm’s relationship with his daughters — he disrupts the loving, trusting bond he’s carefully built with them by withholding information about their deceased mother because he finds the truth nearly unbearable to examine. The dialogue in this story sounds realistic, from the psychologists' patter to the college students' slang, but one of the most striking features of the novel is Basch’s use of physicality. The characters are fleshed out not only through dialogue, but also through an abundance of tiny yet meaningful gestures. The physical descriptions of the characters include references to their appearance to others. Alex, a girl Noah meets in a class, is “what his mother would call a ‘big girl.’ She had a plush face that reminded him of a Cabbage Patch doll — a little overstuffed in spots, but welcoming….[H]e had the impulse to touch her…” Their bodies seem to change with the characters' emotions: Noah seems to grow taller when he stands up to bullies at a bar; Alex’s large, strong presence seems to shrink into itself when her fears about walking into a party reveal her fragility. The clothing that Noah must hide is described in ways which convey their profound significance to him, and the danger in revealing them. He memorably buys a pair of “Dead to Rights black mules” which come in a “coffin-shaped box.” As he tries to hide his purchase from others, he feels “as if the contents of the box under his arm were alive. He could hear the shoes rubbing against each other. He was desperate to have a look at them…to see how his foot,…his whole self might be altered by them.” Also in service to the story is the setting. Maine has a harsh winter with mountains of plowed snow and layers of down coats, until its refreshing summer arrives— mirroring the characters’ struggle to survive a sometimes unwelcoming environment until the sunshine breaks through.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Emmy B

    “As a child he had sometimes wanted to die, which he thought was probably different from wanting to kill yourself. He remembered lying awake on Sunday nights when he was eight and nine and ten, hoping he might go to sleep and never wake up so that he wouldn’t have to go to school the next day, so that he wouldn’t have to do the hard work of staying in his body and getting along with everyone. He had thought then that dying was something like being invisible, and that if he were dead he’d still e “As a child he had sometimes wanted to die, which he thought was probably different from wanting to kill yourself. He remembered lying awake on Sunday nights when he was eight and nine and ten, hoping he might go to sleep and never wake up so that he wouldn’t have to go to school the next day, so that he wouldn’t have to do the hard work of staying in his body and getting along with everyone. He had thought then that dying was something like being invisible, and that if he were dead he’d still exist, only he’d get to exist in the preferable landscape of his imagination.” “This was one of the things he should try to explain to Dowd. Every action came fully loaded with a possible alternate action. And each of those resulted in a spectrum of divergent consequences. It was impossible to know what to do. Everything was wrong, every move, every choice.” “He was far from what most people would consider open; he only knew what it looked like well enough to fake it.” “Malcolm tried to remember who it was who said that your most honest assessment of someone was in the instant of the initial meeting, before you began the inevitable process of fashioning him into the person you needed him to be.” ““He was raising his voice, and it sounded threatening to me.” Noah could feel her body grow rigid at the other end of the sofa. “I don’t do well when people yell.”” “But sitting with Cara and Noah today was proof that what you thought and felt mattered not one whit compared to what you said and did. Or what you didn’t say and didn’t do.” Malcolm Dowd is a psychologist at the university centre for behaviour health. One day a freshman girl comes in, and she looks familiar to him, only he can’t quite place her. After some time, she stands up and undresses herself to show him that she is a he, Noah, Malcolm’s patient. The story progresses from there, we find out more about Malcolm and his tragic life, at the same time the story takes us into Noahs life and we learn more about his life and his relationship with his mother. I fell in love with this book right from the very beginning. Having been wanting it to read it for so long and after receiving a copy for my latest birthday I picked it up eagerly. It’s soothing and stressing at the same time, but the characters are complex and layered and intelligent, and they reveal their inner self which is very interesting to me. It’s about personal life, untold truths, discovering oneself and relationship with family. If you like books that are not action packed but are instead deep, emotional ones, please do pick this one up. I think it’s highly underrated and overlooked and I would love for that to change.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jenni V.

    The book sucked me in right away and I was so uncomfortable reading it (in a good way) because I don't like secrets and was waiting for something to blow up. It was actually cruising along as a 5 star read until it derailed in the final third. There were added wrinkles that didn't seem necessary, like the author thought there wasn't enough conflict (there was!) and needed to add more. Malcolm's fight with his daughters felt out of place, Leah had another crisis, and all the stuff with Gordon? It The book sucked me in right away and I was so uncomfortable reading it (in a good way) because I don't like secrets and was waiting for something to blow up. It was actually cruising along as a 5 star read until it derailed in the final third. There were added wrinkles that didn't seem necessary, like the author thought there wasn't enough conflict (there was!) and needed to add more. Malcolm's fight with his daughters felt out of place, Leah had another crisis, and all the stuff with Gordon? It just fell apart for me. In the context it was given, the line "Just as people had different thresholds for pain, he suspected they had different thresholds for the truth" hit me hard. And when Noah tells Malcolm "You don't always get me...But you never make me pick and choose the parts to show you"...isn't that what we all want? A Few Quotes from the Book "[Noah] hated that he was so permeable, as if his psyche was a common room where strangers roamed, freely stubbing out cigarettes on the furniture. That's what was wrong with him. Not a gender confusion, but the fact that all of his borders were undefended." "No one wanted to know everything; they only thought they did, as if the whole truth were a select club from which they couldn't bear to be excluded. But once invited into certain clubs, people often made for the exits." "But sitting with Cara and Noah today was proof that what you thought and felt mattered not one whit compared to what you said and did. Or what you didn't say and didn't do." Find all my reviews at: http://readingatrandom.blogspot.com

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bev

    This story begins with Noah (aka Leah), a transgender youth, who struggles to discover his true self and to feel comfortable in a world that views him as a freak. He works with a psychologist (Malcolm) on his college campus who, as it turns out is struggling with some demons of his own. As the story continues a pattern emerges as each character reveals that they too are trying to find their way in life, dealing with their pasts, and worrying bout their self-images. Perhaps we all struggle with t This story begins with Noah (aka Leah), a transgender youth, who struggles to discover his true self and to feel comfortable in a world that views him as a freak. He works with a psychologist (Malcolm) on his college campus who, as it turns out is struggling with some demons of his own. As the story continues a pattern emerges as each character reveals that they too are trying to find their way in life, dealing with their pasts, and worrying bout their self-images. Perhaps we all struggle with these very issues in ways that we don't even realize. This book was well written and full of detail. The tempo was good. I liked the way the author moved around the characters and didn't stick with a straight story line from start to finish. Instead, it was told from many different perspectives not just through the eyes of the protagonist. The book was fairly short and time passed rapidly yet with ease within the story. The subject of transgender is somewhat foreign to me, so I was pleasantly enlightened in a short, cryptic sort of way. It didn't delve into the intricacies of the subject, but did provide a notion of the enormity of the emotional effects. The thing I liked the most about this novel was the way the author threw in a zinger now and then that could have easily been overlooked had the reader not paid attention. I occasionally had to go back and read a passage a second time to make sure what I read was what I thought I read the first time around.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    4 out of 5 This book discusses so many important things! Adultry, gender, sexuality, therapist-patient relationships, parent-child relationships, loss and grieving, and suicide. It was messy, gritty, and very real. It splayed everyone's emotions for the reader to see and get angry at the main characters' thought processes and reactions. It definitely made me think A LOT! Plot:This book dives into the minds of two people a therapist, Malcolm, and his patient, Noah. The story begins when Malcolm is 4 out of 5 This book discusses so many important things! Adultry, gender, sexuality, therapist-patient relationships, parent-child relationships, loss and grieving, and suicide. It was messy, gritty, and very real. It splayed everyone's emotions for the reader to see and get angry at the main characters' thought processes and reactions. It definitely made me think A LOT! Plot:This book dives into the minds of two people a therapist, Malcolm, and his patient, Noah. The story begins when Malcolm is in a session with a girl called Leah, Noah's other identity. Malcolm isn't aware until Leah reveals herself to actually being Noah, and they work together to help Noah come to terms with his gender identity. This book dives into so many amazing concepts, but I felt lost in some areas (particularly a party scene where many characters were introduced and I couldn't keep up). Other than that, I loved how this book challenged love and family dynamics, and what sexuality and gender means. I immediately fell in love with Noah, and Malcolm made me so angry at times. (I feel like he needs therapy also.) I also adored Jane and how much of a grandmother figure I thought her to be. After reading it, I felt that it was a 3.75 star book, but the more I think about it the more I enjoy it. This book deserves a lot of reflection and I'm sure it will stay with me for a very long time!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    4.5 stars. I loved this one. Being able to read about LGBTQIA+ in adult fiction is very interesting. I'm glad I was able to learn about a character who is transgender (dealing with trying to transition in a place where it is highly controversial in the sense that there is no one like him) and a character who is a lesbian (afraid to come out for fear of upsetting her father, who is very open to accepting anyone). I enjoyed learning about the relationship between therapist and patient looking from t 4.5 stars. I loved this one. Being able to read about LGBTQIA+ in adult fiction is very interesting. I'm glad I was able to learn about a character who is transgender (dealing with trying to transition in a place where it is highly controversial in the sense that there is no one like him) and a character who is a lesbian (afraid to come out for fear of upsetting her father, who is very open to accepting anyone). I enjoyed learning about the relationship between therapist and patient looking from the outside in, and it allowed me to learn why my own experiences with counselling happened the way they did. I feel that this story allowed me to learn, if only a little, about the issues that transgender people face when making attempts to come out to their family and to their friends, and how difficult it is for all of them. I would recommend this book for anyone. It is eye opening and incredibly interesting.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    While genderqueer would most likely be the big label for this book, I found it to be so much more. Full of human elements, the story told from two people's perspectives simply unfolded as life might, with unexpected or even painful events, but more importantly people's effort to try their best in the face of everything. Very intense book emotionally, lots of personal explorations, and, as life would have it, imperfect yet hopeful ending. While genderqueer would most likely be the big label for this book, I found it to be so much more. Full of human elements, the story told from two people's perspectives simply unfolded as life might, with unexpected or even painful events, but more importantly people's effort to try their best in the face of everything. Very intense book emotionally, lots of personal explorations, and, as life would have it, imperfect yet hopeful ending.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Very genuine story of the internal struggles humans face within relationships while being trying to be true to ourselves and others. I would've enjoyed a stronger ending, however after processing the ending of the book I believe the ending is fitting for this story about human interaction and relationships-it's an ending that depicts the continuation of life and it's struggles. Very genuine story of the internal struggles humans face within relationships while being trying to be true to ourselves and others. I would've enjoyed a stronger ending, however after processing the ending of the book I believe the ending is fitting for this story about human interaction and relationships-it's an ending that depicts the continuation of life and it's struggles.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gail M

    This book felt very precisely "plotted." The issues of gender are raised but there's a lack of clarity, some unusual speculations about behavior (dressing as a woman because you are afraid to approach a woman??) The main character is sympathetic and makes one sympathetic to the onerous side of being a therapist and the expectation of impeccable behavior. This book felt very precisely "plotted." The issues of gender are raised but there's a lack of clarity, some unusual speculations about behavior (dressing as a woman because you are afraid to approach a woman??) The main character is sympathetic and makes one sympathetic to the onerous side of being a therapist and the expectation of impeccable behavior.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Annette

    The LISTENER was an interesting read. The story revolves around a widower psychologist on a college campus, his client, his children, and himself. I love this quote from the book: " There's a tendency to look at what happens in our lives as a deviation from what was 'supposed' to happen, as if life is scripted and unwanted events are an aberration. What befalls us IS our life." The LISTENER was an interesting read. The story revolves around a widower psychologist on a college campus, his client, his children, and himself. I love this quote from the book: " There's a tendency to look at what happens in our lives as a deviation from what was 'supposed' to happen, as if life is scripted and unwanted events are an aberration. What befalls us IS our life."

  29. 4 out of 5

    Arlene

    Definitely not my cup of tea. The characters all seem to be having rather the same issues-which is not credible. The psychologist was unethical to me and the entire book seemed to be just trying to push the envelope.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ben Payne

    I enjoyed this book. It's a very understated character study, with some nice dialogue and frustrating distance between people. I thought maybe it didn't quite come together as strongly as I would have liked, but nevertheless I enjoyed it I enjoyed this book. It's a very understated character study, with some nice dialogue and frustrating distance between people. I thought maybe it didn't quite come together as strongly as I would have liked, but nevertheless I enjoyed it

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.