31 March, 2013

#BookReview :: Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite by Lianne Simon

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? 




‘Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite’ is the story of Jamie, a Hermaphrodite. Though Jamie feels like a girl and thinks of herself as an Elfin Princess, her parents raise her as Jameson – a boy. Not wanting to hurt their feelings, Jamie creates a set of rules that gives life to Jameson and locks away the princess. But, when a medical student tells her that she should have been raised as a girl, the Elfin Princess wants to break free…

This turned out to be a really difficult book to read and review. It has managed to touch all the right nerves and makes me want to rant a lot. First let us cover the topic – this book is aimed at spreading the awareness about everything that has to do with hermaphrodites or intersex persons. Not everybody is aware of the facts concerning intersex people, myself included. While I had some general ideas and knowledge, I had absolutely no idea about the medical aspects and the treatment procedures. After reading this book and doing some side research, I can say that I am bit more aware.

Coming to the plotline, it is pretty simple as it revolves around Jamie’s life. Jamie had pretty much come to accept that she would be living her life as Jameson and that the little princess would have to be gone for good forever. But a person’s identity is what it is and it doesn’t simply change because of what people around want. So, when Sharon wants to be friends with her, the Elfin Princess within her sees a chance to breathe and takes it. The story then progresses on to Jamie discovering her true self and making some tough choices for herself. It wasn’t easy but she had friendship, love and help from different expected and unexpected corners to see her through. It was an emotional journey to take with Jamie. Seeing the clash between her own needs and her need to make her parents happy was tough.

This book also has some great characters. Kaylah deserves the first mention because she has the most tender heart and was the first person in Jamie’s life to accept her unconditionally. I absolutely loved her. Then there were Tyler and Sean who loved her too. Sharon and Lisa’s support were invaluable. But I guess Jamie’s mother deserves a special mention too. I could feel for her too as like Jamie she was caught between two ends too. On one hand she loved Jamie and wanted what’s right for her. On the other hand was her husband’s wishes and her religion. Even though I kept wishing that she would take a proper stand, I think it was kind of brave of her to manage to do whatever she could.

Another matter that has been covered in this book is that of religion. Jamie’s faith played a big role in how things turned out in the end. I have always believed that religion is a deeply personal matter – and if a person’s belief drove her to the right path, then that belief can never be wrong irrespective of what the world says. Jamie’s faith, with the help of the Gillespie’s, helped her through.

Overall, this book was an eye opener and I have learnt a lot from it. The struggle that Jamie had to go through, for no fault of her own, was heart wrenching. I wish that parents, and society in general, was more open minded and understand that God’s creation can never be wrong or defective and learn to accept people just the way they are. I just wish that the story had a bit more about Jamie’s interaction with her parents and classmates at college.



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By the way, its Ms.Lianne's birthday today. Drop by at the above mentioned details or leave a comment here to wish her a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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