The bestselling, seminal work of trans literature: a story of love, sex, selfhood, and understanding from Jennifer Finney Boylan
When she changed genders, she changed the world. It was the groundbreaking publication of She’s Not There in 2003 that jump-started the transgender revolution. By turns hilarious and deeply moving, Boylan – a cast member on I Am Cait; an advisor to the television series Transparent, and a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times -- explores the territory that lies between men and women, examines changing friendships, and rejoices in the redeeming power of love and family.
She’s Not There was one of the first works to present trans experience from the perspective of a literary novelist, opening a door to new understanding of love, sex, gender, and identity. Boylan inspired readers to ask the same questions she asked herself: What is it that makes us---ourselves? What does it mean to be a man, or a woman? How much could my husband, or wife, change—and still be recognizable as the one I love?
Boylan’s humorous, wise voice helped make She’s Not There the first bestselling work by a transgender American--and transformed Boylan into a national spokeswoman for LGBTQ people, their families, and the people that love them. This updated and revised edition also includes a new epilogue from Jenny’s wife Grace; it also contains the original afterward by her friend, novelist and Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Russo.
“Love will prevail,” said Boylan’s conservative mother, as she learned about her daughter’s identity. She’s Not There is the story that helped bring about a world in which that change seems almost possible.
Boylan is 45 years old, but for more than 40 of those years she was James Finney Boylan.A Colby College professor and author of four books of fiction, Boylan has a good comic ear, and that humor keeps the book, which tells the story of Boylan's passage from male to female, on track if somewhat trivialized: most scenes are breezy and played for laughs. When Jenny is attacked by a drunk outside a bar, it goes largely unremarked upon; how does the man who always wanted to be a woman feel when suddenly assaulted for being just that? And when the reader is given an insight into Boylan's feelings, the news is often delivered secondhand: during a conversation with a therapist, in a letter sent to colleagues or during frequent visits with her best friend, novelist Richard Russo (who also provides a touching but similarly lightweight, afterword). Boylan's friends and colleagues pat her on the back for her courage, and yet we get hints this is only half the story: Boylan's adoring mother is mentioned often, while a disgusted sister warrants only a short mention within a brief paragraph. Boylan may be choosing to accentuate the positive, but this leaves the story feeling incomplete, which is odd given the book's striving to feel whole. The book is frequently poignant ("As it turns out, we're all still learning to be men, or women, all still learning to be ourselves"), yet those moments don't cut to the quick of the story it has to tell. (On sale Aug. 26)
She is there
This book is beautifully written. I wish the author would write a novel as well. Words escape me. Thank you and your family for your brightness, honestly and bravery. I had no idea about this subject - so fascinating and...important. I wish I had been one of her students.
(From - To his Coy Mistress
by Andrew Marvell)
"Now let us sport us while we may;
And now, like am'rous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour,
Than languish in his slow-chapp'd power.
Let us roll all our strength, and all
Our sweetness, up into one ball;
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life.
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run."
P.S. I meant to say I wish she would write a novel now. I know she has written novels in the past.