A feminist film critic’s thoughtful, outspoken memoir about transgender and family
On a visit to New York, the brother of well-known film critic Molly Haskell dropped a bombshell: Nearing age sixty, and married, he had decided to become a woman. In the vein of Jan Morris’s classic Conundrum and Jennifer Finney Boylan’s She’s Not There, a transgender memoir, Haskell’s My Brother My Sister gracefully explores a delicate subject, this time from the perspective of a family member.
Haskell chronicles her brother Chevey’s transformation through a series of psychological evaluations, grueling surgeries, drug regimens, and comportment and fashion lessons as he becomes Ellen. Despite Haskell’s liberal views on gender roles, she was dumbfounded by her brother’s decision. With candor and compassion, she charts not only her brother’s journey to becoming her sister, but also her own path from shock, confusion, embarrassment, and devastation to acceptance, empathy, and love.
Haskell widens the lens on her brother’s story to include scientific and psychoanalytic views. In an honest, informed voice, she has revealed the controversial world of gender reassignment and transsexuals from both a personal and a social perspective in this frank and moving memoir.
Having been a long time LBGTQ supporter, I have read a number of books on transgender and how the families deal with it. Not only that, but I had helped a friend while she was trying to come to terms on how to tell her father about being transgender.
To me, this book still seemed quite closed minded. She seemed to have forced her way into acceptance for her sister’s sake. This was a very short book and it was filled quite a bit with various studies. I thought that this was a way of being able to avoid writing about her true feelings.
Would I recommend this book? Probably not. The studies were decent enough though.
Disclaimer: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any form of compensation.