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7 Questions – The Writers: Jennifer Finney Boylan

The trans memoir practically constitutes its own genre, with varying degree of success. Like self-published poetry, you sometimes get the sense that the story is more important for the author to tell than it is for the audience to hear. For 10 years, She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders, by Jennifer Finney Boylan, has stood out. This is due in large part to the writing itself. Jenny was an established author before her transition. She knows how to craft a story, make you care about her characters, even if they’re real people, and she has an astonishing capacity for finding humor in unexpected moments.

Ultimately, She’s Not There achieves that quality peculiar to great art, universality through profound treatment of the particular. If her story has found such a wide audience because of its universality, it’s that much more meaningful for those of us who share her particularity. Jenny’s memoir had a profound impact on me, and on many of the other trans women I’ve known. It was the first time I saw myself in a story, the value of which simply can’t be overstated.

That’s why I’m delighted that Jenny is sharing a bit more of herself through answering our 7 Questions. Look for her startling confession at 3:40, wise advice from her own mother, and some playfully shifting light. There may even be singing.

Jenny’s new book, Stuck in the Middle with You: a memoir of Parenthood in Three Genders, comes out  in April 2013, which will also coincide with the 10th Anniversary Edition of She’s Not There. Order both, and keep up with all things Jennifer Finney Boylan, via her website.

Thank you Jenny! And I hope all those watching follow her lead and tell their own stories here.

 

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3 Comments

  1. Rye wrote:

    I first became aware of Jennifer because the foreword of She’s Not There was written by Richard Russo who is a favorite author of mine. But I was very in love with the book itself. To me it transcended other transition memoirs I had previously come across and really helped me come to understand my own trans journey through a different light, even though our paths went in such different directions. So cool to see that she is part of this site as well.

  2. Allie Stephens (?) wrote:

    I am so happy to see Jenny Boylan on the site! I first heard her speak at the Chicago Humanities Festival a couple of years ago. She was the first person who helped me see that there was the possibility of a life on anything but the margins for a transgendered person. A strong & articulate writer & speaker, she is an inspiration for me, and oddly enough, the first stranger I came out to.

    There is not enough talk about the effects of a transgendered parent on children, and I look forward to her new book. I will be getting it as soon as it is out!

    And . . . thank you, Jenny, for the awesome Celtic stylings!

  3. Shybiker wrote:

    I read “She’s Not There” a decade ago, after seeing Jenny’s name mentioned in The New York Times. As noted above, she’s an exceptional writer whose lucid and entertaining prose made the book a joy to read. I’m happy to hear about new work from her.

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