Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sex Changes: A Memoir of Marriage, Gender, and Moving On by Christine Benvenuto (REVIEW)

Not since the response song, "I'll Save the Last Dance for You," or maybe it was "Dueling Banjos," have I experienced a feeling like the one I got while reading this memoir, the obvious answer to another recent memoir, penned by one particular transgender person who shall remain nameless.

However, if you've been reading memoirs of transgender people as I have, you can pretty easily guess who it is.

Sex Changes: A Memoir of Marriage, Gender, and Moving On is Christine Benvenuto's take, as an aggrieved spouse, on her husband's transition to a female gender role - and boy, did it ever eviscerate the ex-husband. I realize that there are three sides to every story, and I cannot blame the former wife for feeling hurt, angry, and deceived (as well as the myriad of other negative emotions she so deftly describes). But I CAN fault her for bringing out this book in the first place.

In my opinion, it was an unnecessary and hurtful thing to do. I found it to be an extremely skilled, yet underhanded and covert bit of retribution. Cleverly couched in some excellent writing, this literary diatribe also reminded me of the marital rancour of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf," only from just the wife's side.

Read this book if you enjoy being a "fly on the wall" to witness a few hundred pages of unabashed insults.

Sally's Note: In the interests of fairness, and in order to ensure readers get both sides of the story, I feel it necessary to point out that the companion memoir to which Samuel refers is Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey between Genders by Joy Ladin.

[Reviewed by Samuel]

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