Category Archives: Intersex

5 Star Review for Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite by Lianne Simon #YA #Intersex @Liannesimon

CoverTitle: Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite
Author Name & Publisher: Lianne Simon (Faie Miss Press)
Publication Date & Length: September 18, 2012 – 234 pgs

Synopsis

From the heart of an intersex teen, one who must ultimately choose male or female—family or true love—comes the story of a deeply emotional and perilous journey home. This is a young adult novel unlike any other—an authentic portrayal of the issues faced by a child growing up with a sexually ambiguous body.

Jameson can be like other boys after minor surgery and a few years on testosterone Well, at least that’s what his parents always say. But Jamie sees an elfin princess in the mirror, and male hormones would only ruin her pretty face. For him to become the man his parents expect, Jameson must leave behind the hopes and dreams of a little girl. But what is so wrong with Jamie’s dreams that they can’t be her life?

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Review

FiveStars

I admit I was reluctant to read this. The title reads like Internet click-bait, and I was afraid it was going to try to be “edgy” (in a bad way) like so much of what’s out there with regards to gender-related literature. I ended up having to eat my words–I loved it, start to finish.

The first thing I noticed is that this book strikes that magical balance between being written for people with intersex conditions while also being educational for people who are not. The author is clearly very knowledgeable and spent considerable time and effort to create a sensitive and authentic emotional read.

The second thing is how much I adored Jamie. She starts off seeming immature, far younger than her sixteen years. As the story progresses, the reasons why become clear–from her homeschooling years to lack of puberty and a lengthy time spent living as a boy, her emotional reactions are understandable. She matures in leaps and bounds over the course of the novel, and she is someone I wish I knew in real life.

It’s probably a bit idealistic, being surrounded by such a large number of supportive people, but I loved the various people in and out of Jamie’s life. My own emotions ranged from cheering to tearing up at some of the things she goes through, all the way to the triumphant resolution.

I did struggle a bit with the very religious elements. I was worried about Jamie going from living her parents’ expectation to be a boy to simply being a submissive wife-mommy. But realistically, her personality is well-suited to a somewhat more “innocent” religious life, and I ended up feeling like she’ll be her own person regardless. It was a little tough to read, especially as an ex-evangelical, but that’s not really a flaw with the story; it’s more of a personal preference. I did appreciate the way faith was seamlessly woven into the story, even if it took a form I’m less keen on.

My own kids are a bit young yet, but this is a novel I hope to share with them as they mature. I think it will help them consider the complexities of humanity and learn more about intersex people. At the same time, I would not hesitate to recommend this one to young people who are themselves experiencing the things Jamie is in the story.

Beautifully written, absorbing, and sensitive; a win all the way around.

5 stars

~AmyM

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3 stars for A Proper Young Lady by Lianne Simon @liannesimon #intersex #MIF #Romance

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Title: A Proper Young Lady
Author Name & Publisher: Lianne Simon (Faie Miss Press)
Publication Date & Length: December 18, 2015 — 227 pages

Synopsis

An M/I/F Sweet Romance.

A woman with the complete form of Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome might never discover that she has testes in her abdomen rather than ovaries and uterus. Danièle knows, and she grieves that she can never have her own children. She has a partial form of AIS that left her with ambiguous genitals, a steady stream of doctors and psychologists, and parents determined to see her happy as a girl.

After Danièle’s best friend and childhood crush agrees to have a baby for her, Danièle learns that the clinic can extract sperm from her own gonadal biopsies, and she becomes the father of Melanie’s baby herself.

Ethan adores the graceful young woman named Danièle, while Melanie imagines a life with the father of her child. Danièle? She’s happy with her intersex body—somewhere between princess and little boy. But in a black and white world, she must choose—once and for all—who she will be. And whom she will love.

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Review

ThreeStar

There’s something ridiculously charming and fun about this book.
Danièle is the main star, an intersex person initially identifying as female, but not without internal conflict. Melanie is her childhood friend, who loves her but is ambivalent about gender and sexuality. In the 90s we would call this ‘romantic friendship,’ blurring the lines of both. It’s very sweet. And it has that youthful desperation everything is Important feel that comes along with New Adult Fiction.
It’s unrealistic, plot-wise. There’s drama and lies and things happening way too fast—a sense of urgency, and like I said, Importance. If you’re not open to flights of fancy and a bit of soap in your opera, this will be trying. For me, I couldn’t put it down.
The intersex elements are medically sound, and forgive me, interesting. The novel ably confronts questions without answers—what does it mean to be a girl with testes? What does it mean to have a clitoris but not a vagina? What does it mean to be intersex? What does it mean to be heterosexual and yet love what feels like the wrong gender? The characters have good hearts, which is nice to read about. Everyone’s doing the best they can.
Ultimately, I feel Lianne could strive for greater heights in her writing. She could go so much deeper into these conflicted feelings, reveal something rawer, and be  much bolder about her conclusions. What this novel lacks is relatable, human truth. She’s obviously a gifted author. I hope in future works she allows her characters to exist, without apology or justification, in the real world.
There’s something there. I want more.
~C. E. Case

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