Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"Wow. I never considered that girls could be transgendered."

Luna by Julie Anne Peters
Weight: 13 ounces
Method of Disposal: Donating—I just found a new place I can donate books. I like the variety. Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party in Atlanta sells all used books for 50 cents and then donates the money to Noah’s Ark. http://www.drbombays.com --tea shop http://www.noahs-ark.org --Animal Rehabilitation Center and Children’s Care Homes

Luna is a difficult one for me. On the one hand, I am thrilled that there is a book about being transgendered for teenagers and, on the other hand, I feel like it fell short. It could have been so much more! Or, am I putting too much pressure on it because it is such a rare thing? Probably. It should not have to be the authoritative book for teens on being transgendered. We should have a selection.

I respect the author. Julie Anne Peters also wrote DEFINE NORMAL and KEEPING YOU A SECRET. The first one is about getting past appearances and getting to know people who are not like you. The other is about two young women who fall in love in high school and all the shit they have to go through because of it. Thank you, Julie Anne Peters, for giving some variety to our young adult libraries. Some of the best books are made for teens and for kids. They are important, imaginative, and emotional. Children and adults can relate through them, and they hint at a common language/understanding. Adults usually write the books, but they connect to something in the child. This is the kind of book I was looking for in middle school. It came a little late, but not too late.

Luna is simplistic, but it is not such a bad introduction. The story is told from the point of view of the sister of Luna, a wonderful and caring girl who sometimes gets frustrated with how important she is to her sibling. I wish that the book did not have to reinforce such a clichĂ© of transgender experience, but I also know that sometimes that is how it is. It is not that there are not people out there who will be able to relate fully to Luna—there are plenty of people who will. It just seems like it is the only story we hear. A “boy” struggling with his actual identity as a “girl.” “He” has been feminine since “he” was pushed out of the womb, and that is how it is. Period. No blurry lines--just from one thing to another. Again, this is not the fault of the book or the author but the American society at large. Luna recognizes that strict gender roles can cause damage, that there is a difference between gender and sexuality, and that we are all human. We get frustrated.

Overall, I think this is a great addition to any young adult collection, and I will miss it when it is gone. I hope it reaches someone young who is looking for a book just like it. Luna will be a great start in an overall understanding of oneself and/or others, but there will be much more to learn and read when it is over.

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