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“A stunningly original memoir of a nice Jewish boy who joined the Church of Scientology and left twelve years later, ultimately transitioning to a woman. A few years later, she stopped calling herself a woman and became famous as a gender outlaw.

Kate Bornstein—gender theorist, performance artist, author—is set to change lives with her compelling memoir. Wickedly funny and disarmingly honest, this is Bornstein’s most intimate book yet, encompassing her early childhood and adolescence, college at Brown, a life in the theater, three marriages and fatherhood, the Scientology hierarchy, transsexual life, LGBTQ politics, and life on the road as a sought-after speaker”

This book gave a great deal more detail about Kate Bornstein’s life than some of her other work. It made me get to know her in a way that I never expected to want to know her, I am surprised to say that as I grow older I am growing more fond of Bornstein and her writing. She used to anger me and I even refused to go to an event because she was going to be the keynote speaker (which caused a great deal of drama due to a facebook post where I said I didn’t like her that had to be deleted so as to not cause a fuss).

This book starts out with an introduction that was probably the most triggering thing I have read in a long time. I was not expecting to be triggered in the first few pages of a book as they are usually used to get the reader acquainted with the author instead of jumping right into the hard to swallow details. Bornstein starts the book off talking about a time that she had cut herself after not being able to reach her daughter. The cutting scene was graphic enough and detailed enough that it stirred in me the longings to go back to cutting so I could feel that rush again. Nothing says great opening pages like a panic attack and a promise for more.

The book was very intense and very much what I have come to expect from Bornstein. I expect her to be honest and witty. There is nothing I value more from Bornstein than her unflinching honesty about herself and her situations. I have read a great deal of memoirs about self-harm, but Bornstein was the most unapologetic and least romanticizing of it. She also introduced a clearly troubling time in her life as something that she had done and was moving on from. She is able to talk about it in a way that isn’t bitter or angry. She has a great power from within.

The book took a great deal of care talking about Scientology as it originally was not as it is today. Scientology is presented as a way of thinking and acting instead of a religion. It is presented as something that helped Bornstein for a short time and she outgrew. Something that her daughter is possibly still a part of. This book was a wonderfully indepth exploration of what it means to find who you really are and finally get the ability to be yourself.

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4.5 out of five stars. I would recommend this book.

You can buy this book here.

~Isaiah

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