Thursday, October 3, 2013

Something to Declare by S. A. A. Calvert

Something to Declare (part of the Sussex Border Stories series)  is a very moving and well-written memoir, which also turns out to be a sweet and unique love story. It's a story replete with the ups and downs inherent in all close relationships, but with the special flavor that only a burgeoning relationship between a straight man and a transsexual woman can bring.

S. A. A. Calvert is an individual who, in addition to her interesting life as an avid cyclist, rock climber, violinist, retired rugby player and, as she so vividly describes, an avid beer drinker, is also an extremely accomplished writer. In her story, she delves deeply into issues of mental health, describing her triumph over depression, gaining self-confidence, and finally embracing her “felt” gender. As she moves through her transition to a female gender role, and with her increasing femininity, we watch in awe as the flower unfolds, cheering it on with every turn of the page.

Unlike some other books of this genre, the author adopts a rather shy, demur, and candid manner when it comes to things of an intimate nature, firmly closing the door to her bedroom, but providing enough gentle innuendo to allow the reader to guess what takes place on the other side. The same is true about most of the details of her transformation journey.  However, what she doesn't omit, and actually portrays rather magnificently, are some rather graphic scenes related to criminal justice, the legal system, court hearings, and other events both important and of an everyday nature that are described quite eloquently.

The author also addresses the matters of PTSD and bigotry as they relate to her life, and the lives of her loved ones. With it all, as the author says, she writes about “love, friendship, family; all the things we need to keep the darkness away.” And she does a great job at doing that.

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