The great travel writer Jan Morris was born James Morris. James Morris distinguished himself in the British military, became a successful and physically daring reporter, climbed mountains, crossed deserts, and established a reputation as a historian of the British empire. He was happily married, with several children. To all appearances, he was not only a man, but a man’s man.
Except that appearances, as James Morris had known from early childhood, can be deeply misleading. James Morris had known all his conscious life that at heart he was a woman.
Conundrum, one of the earliest books to discuss transsexuality with honesty and without prurience, tells the story of James Morris—s hidden life and how he decided to bring it into the open, as he resolved first on a hormone treatment and, second, on risky experimental surgery that would turn him into the woman that he truly was.
Not as informative as I thought it would be
I know it is an autobiography, but the writer seems very self absorbed, almost to the point of elitism.
I wanted to read the book because I knew she was one of the first authors to write about transgenderism from a personal perspective. I had also recently read “Into Thin Air” and wondered how someone who climbed Everest as a male later transitioned to female.
I know of a few transgender individuals and wanted to learn more about the how they came to the conclusion that they were the wrong gender. I know that the person has a lifelong feeling of being in the wrong body, but this book was not as informative as I expected it to be.
Jan Morris has lived a very privileged life and that came through in the writing, which, perhaps, made it more difficult for me to relate. Most transgender people do not have the means to travel and pay for the surgery, so she did not illuminate what it would be like for a person of ordinary means.
The book was interesting in some parts, but, overall, I found it kind of dull.