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She's Not There

Cover of She's Not There

She's Not There

A Life in Two Genders
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Narrated by the author with two afterwords: one written and read by Deirdre Finney Boylan, and one written and read by Richard Russo
The provocative bestseller She's Not There is the winning, utterly surprising story of a person changing genders. By turns hilarious and deeply moving, Jennifer Finney Boylan explores the territory that lies between men and women, examines changing friendships, and rejoices in the redeeming power of family. Told in Boylan's fresh voice, She's Not There is about a person bearing and finally revealing a complex secret. Through her clear eyes, She's Not There provides a new window on the confounding process of accepting our true selves.
"Probably no book I've read in recent years has made me so question my basic assumptions about both the centrality and the permeability of gender, and made me recognize myself in a situation I've never known and have never faced . . . The universality of the astonishingly uncommon: that's the trick of She's Not There. And with laughs, too. What a good book." —Anna Quindlen, from the Introduction to the Book-of-the-Month-Club edition.
Narrated by the author with two afterwords: one written and read by Deirdre Finney Boylan, and one written and read by Richard Russo
The provocative bestseller She's Not There is the winning, utterly surprising story of a person changing genders. By turns hilarious and deeply moving, Jennifer Finney Boylan explores the territory that lies between men and women, examines changing friendships, and rejoices in the redeeming power of family. Told in Boylan's fresh voice, She's Not There is about a person bearing and finally revealing a complex secret. Through her clear eyes, She's Not There provides a new window on the confounding process of accepting our true selves.
"Probably no book I've read in recent years has made me so question my basic assumptions about both the centrality and the permeability of gender, and made me recognize myself in a situation I've never known and have never faced . . . The universality of the astonishingly uncommon: that's the trick of She's Not There. And with laughs, too. What a good book." —Anna Quindlen, from the Introduction to the Book-of-the-Month-Club edition.
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  • From the cover Mr. Fun Hog

    (December 2001)

    There they were, two young women standing by the side of the road with their thumbs out. They weren't warmly dressed, considering that it was December, in Maine. One of them had green hair. They looked to me as if they were in trouble, or about to be. I pulled over, thinking, better me than someone else. The world was full of characters.

    "Can you take us to Augusta, ma'am? The Middle Road?" said the one whose hair was not green.

    "Yes, of course, I'm going right past there," I said. "Climb in."

    Soon they were in the car and we were driving west. The smell of pot wafted from the women, and I thought about the fact that my purse was on the floor in the back next to Green Hair.

    "Wow, lady," said the girl next to me, looking at all the equipment in the minivan. "You sure have a lot of stuff. What is that, a guitar?"

    "Synthesizer," I said. "I was playing at a Christmas party at the Samoset Resort last night. I was sitting in with the Roy Hudson Band."

    "Whoa, I know them," said Green Hair, suddenly impressed. "You play with them? They're great. The Roy Hudsons used to play at Colby when I went there."

    I glanced in the rearview mirror to get a better look at her. Something in her voice was familiar. "You used to go to Colby College?" I said. I was about to say, I'm chair of the English department there, but hesitated.

    "Yeah," she said. "A couple semesters, a long time ago. Couldn't hack it."

    It was possible, although not certain, that Green Hair was named Ashley LaPierre, who'd been a student of mine back when I was a man. Looking at her now, all I could think was, wow, she's really changed.

    The class Ashley had been in was Love, Literature, and Imagination, the introduction to fiction, poetry and drama for non-majors. I loved teaching that course, and sometimes did it as a great big lecture class where I stood at the front of the room and sang. We read a wide range of stuff, most of it having to do with people trying to find the courage to do something impossible. We talked a lot about the journey of the mythic hero, about the slaying of dragons and the attainment of illumination.

    I used to stand there at the lectern in my coat and tie, waving my glasses around, urging students to find the courage to become themselves. Then I'd go back to the office and lock the door and put my head down on the desk.

    Ashley LaPierre had dropped out of Colby in the middle of that semester, which broke my heart. I remembered she'd been a fine writer though, shining in both my class as well as in Richard Russo's fiction workshop.

    Now, six or seven years later, Ashley—assuming it was she— didn't seem to recognize me, which wasn't a surprise, seeing as how I didn't use to be female. I was wearing blue jeans and a coral knit sweater. My long blonde hair fell just above my breasts.

    "So what are you girls up to?" I asked.

    "We was walking into Augusta," said the one next to me. "Pickin up this pit bull."

    "I'm Jennifer, by the way," I said.

    "Stacey Brown." The other girl didn't introduce herself. Stacey punched in my lighter.

    I wanted to say something about how we didn't allow smoking in our family, but decided not to. The car was full of amplifiers and sound modules and monitors anyway, and I'd just spent a night playing songs like Hey Bartender and Mustang Sally for a bunch of tattooed millworkers. It didn't seem like the time to start lecturing these girls on the dangers of nicotine.

    "You live around here?" I said. Ashley was looking out the window.

    "We live on a farm," said Stacey. "We got five cats, three hens, one...
About the Author-
  • JENNIFER FINNEY BOYLAN is cochair of the English department at Colby College, where she was voted Professor of the Year in 2000. As James Finney Boylan, she wrote the critically praised novels The Constellations, The Planets, and Getting In, as well as a collection of short stories. She lives in Maine with her family.
Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine Boylan employs her unique literary voice to tell the story of her transition as an adult to become the female she always thought she should be. The audiobook provides insight into transexualism, and hearing it directly from Boylan will augment the experience. Her narration has an air of authenticity that compensates, at least in part, for its flaws. She has a dramatic flair that is, at times, entertaining but more often borders on condescension, irony, earnest sincerity, and pedantic lecturing. Accents and attempts to mimic particular voices, for example, those of her grandmother and aunt, fail to convince. The facetious tone of much of the narration transforms humor into smug self-satisfaction and defensiveness. J.E.M. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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She's Not There
She's Not There
A Life in Two Genders
Jennifer Finney Boylan
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