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A Queer and Pleasant Danger: The True Story of a Nice Jewish Boy Who Joins the Church of Scientology and Leaves Twelve Years Later to Become the Lovely Lady She is Today
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A Queer and Pleasant Danger: The True Story of a Nice Jewish Boy Who Joins the Church of Scientology and Leaves Twelve Years Later to Become the Lovely Lady She is Today

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  1,456 ratings  ·  233 reviews
A stunningly original memoir of a nice Jewish boy who joined the Church of Scientology and left twelve years later, ultimately transitioning to a woman. A few years later, she stopped calling herself a woman and became famous as a gender outlaw.

Kate Bornstein—gender theorist, performance artist, author—is set to change lives with her compelling memoir. Wickedly funny and d
Hardcover, 258 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Beacon Press (first published January 1st 2012)
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Some biographies I read, and it’s like I’m best friends with the author and we’re hanging out getting coffee and catching up on our lives. “Mindy!” I might say, “That is so interesting! Tell me more about your plans for a girls-only reboot of Ghostbusters!” And then we’d hold hands and skip through a field of daisies, or something.

Some biographies, though, are more like… like you’re stuck in an incredibly long line with a stranger at the grocery store, or the two of you are getting your nails do
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

3.5 Stars

This wins the award for best title that I can ever remember seeing. I actually went to my library page requesting a different book, but when that wasn’t available it offered A Queer and Pleasant Danger as a possible substitute.

On paper I appear to be about the last person on the face of the Earth who should want to read this selection. I’m old not young, I met my husband when I was little more than a fetus and have been marrie
Bending The Bookshelf
I'm not really sure what can I say about Kate Bornstein's new memoir, A Queer and Pleasant Danger, other than WOW! This an amazing, intense, heartfelt read that's goes far beyond questions of gender and sexuality to examine, really, what it means to be human.

Written in a casual, conversational, sometimes rambling manner, this is a very easy book to enjoy. One of its many quirks that I found so delightful was the way in which Kate would tell a story, swear it was the honest-to-gosh truth, then tu
April (The Steadfast Reader)

But let me start out with what bothered me, which was the apparent levity in which she treats her eating disorders and the desire to cut. S&M - different issue - I'm not here to judge. Both anorexia and cutting are serious issues that should be treated (or at least acknowledged) as such.

That being said, the apparent honesty and freshness in the way that she writes is amazing. Mark Twain believed that no man could ever write a completely true biography in his lifetime -- or ever. Ka
Cheyenne Blue
I suspect that many of the people who read this book are hoping for the insider gossip on one of these topics: scientology, transmen, transwomen, lesbians, eating disorders, sadomasochism, cutting, and variations on gender queer including some you may not have thought of.

I was here primarily for the scientology which is head and shoulders the most bizarre thing in this book. To this little Australian, a belief in Scientology (along with a liking for grits) is the most incomprehensible part of A
I think Kate would agree with me when I say she is very feline--she's definitely lived at least six or seven of her nine lives so far; it makes me a little dizzy to think that, at my age, she was working her way up through the ranks of Scientology and her transition to a life as a famous gender activist was just a twinkle in her eye.

I love Kate; I think she is brilliant and honest and funny and strange. I think she speaks for a lot of people who feel like outsiders and I'm so glad she's here to
Alex Templeton
Transgender issues are big within the liberal and feminist communities now, as they should be. As this is a life experience I know very little about, I was excited to read Kate Bornstein’s memoir, of her journey from manhood to not-quite-womanhood (she doesn’t identify herself with either sex pronoun, but I will use the pronoun “she” here for ease). I ended up feeling about this book the way I felt about some people at my alma mater, Sarah Lawrence, and I feel about some members of the liberal c ...more
WOW. there is a lot going on with this book, a memoir of how kate bornstein went from being a high-ranking & male member of scientology's sea org in the 70s to being the wild & wacky 60-something trans lady she is today. she claims that she wrote this book specifically for her daughter, jessica, & jessica's two teenage children. kate hasn't been allowed to see or speak to jessica since jessica was a tiny child, due to being branded a "suppressive person" by the church of scientology. ...more
I picked this up to read on the recommendation of someone that's recently been in a similar place to where I'm at and I went into it not knowing anything more about it/her than I picked up from the blurb etc. From the way it starts I wasn't expecting to find too much that strongly resonated with me, Kate is one of those people that knew from a young age she wasn't meant to be a man which is not something I've experienced. Then about a quarter of the way into it I was floored by how strongly I r ...more
Ok, gotta be honest. I did not give this much of a try. I read 50-60 pages. I just could not relate to the story. The adult cutter is not something that I enjoy reading about. And these days, I am all about enjoyment. I thought that the Scientology stuff would be more of an enticement, but it seemed clouded with the possiblility of a lawsuit and still kinda weirdly vague. Although the author's story is intriguing and the book summary is just the best brief description EVER, it was just not for m ...more
Okay…when I read the synopsis of this book I was intrigued. A Jewish man who becomes a transgender woman who was a member of the church of scientology and enjoys sadomasochism. Sounds interesting … right? This book started out well enough. The first few chapters spoke about her and her upbringing, pretty typical stuff. Then she starts talking about her experience with the church of scientology. This went on for chapters and chapters. It is more than half the book. It was mostly interesting stuff ...more
Picture a cocktail reception hosted by the newly appointed executive's wife who just moved to the big city from Alamaba in the midst of a very important merger...
A gracious, nervous, slightly intimidated Jackie O imitation. Recounting various short stories, light on detail, jumping around from event to event, full of "industry lingo" to suggest expertise, and just enough self deprecation to offset egregious braggadocio presented in the form of other people's comments- Just so you know she doesn
Danni Green
This book is amazing. Kate Bornstein is amazing. She has been a personal hero/ine of mine since my early days of gender questioning. Everything she's written has been nothing short of life-changing for me, and this book was no exception. She speaks her truth, loudly and brazenly, offering an open invitation for others to do the same, and I have no doubt that she has saved the lives of many human beings of all sorts of genders by doing so. This book offered fascinating insight into the world of S ...more
WOW....what an amazing and refreshingly honest memoir. Yes, some parts might be a bit tough for some, such as the intimate description of of cutting. But for myself, it was a unique opportunity to understand another humans way of being....if that makes sense. I love HONEST memoirs!!
Kirsten *Dogs Welcome - People Tolerated"
I chose this book mainly because of the title -- it just called to me for some reason. I guess partly I like hearing about people "escaping" Scientology. Also, I was a little curious about being transgender as one of my siblings is. But, once I started reading it, I really wanted to know more and more about the author.

She gives you a great insight into the Church of Scientology and the life and transition of a transgender person. I guess I never realized some of the difficulties and that even l
This is the second autobiography I have read in the past few weeks. Unlike the previous one, this book was well written. The terminology got me turned around a couple times and the section discussing his/her time in Scientology dragged a bit, but overall it was a fascinating look inside the mind and life of someone who is outside what society considers "normal." (And the Scientology discussion was necessary as it continued to play a huge role in how the author viewed himself/herself. While Ms. B ...more
Fascinating. Uncomfortable in places, but totally worth it.

What a wild ride Kate Bornstein's life has been. Born and raised as a man, Bornstein's journey through scientology--including her marriage and fatherhood--seems stranger than fiction. As another reviewer wrote, "In the first six pages we learn that Kate is an anorexic Jewish sadomasochist lesbian transsexual woman with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and lots of tattoos and a bionic knee and borderline personality disorder, who writes porn and used to be in a
I've long been curious about what it's like to be a transgender person and have felt tremendous empathy for what seems like an intensely difficult and invalidating growing up / self actualization process. I can't imagine how challenging it is to have your body and all its hormonal processes be so at odds with how you genuinely feel, like you're trapped in a prison that's moving around with you wherever you go.

Kate Bornstein's life is so full of statistical improbabilities that a book about any p
Adam Dunn
Reading reviews of this book online, I find few reviews by men. I think it’s difficult for gay men to accept female sexuality, at least it is for me. I am not a woman, I am not attracted to women, and the idea of female sexuality is one I’d rather not explore. Not to say I’m against it, not in the least. I am a staunch feminist, through and through. It’s just difficult for me.
Some other things difficult for me include religion, S & M, and the concept of people not putting labels on themselve
Emilia P
A very loving 3. Kate, I love you. I am sure that's what you intended, and it works. I do love you. You're so unapologetically yourself, and so well-spoken without being self-important or angry or super-mopey, even though I know you can be super-mopey. The world is blessed to have people like you, who can assure transgender folks protesting your stuff with signs that say "Kate Bornstein doesn't speak for me" that you never have intended to and never will but are willing to share your own experie ...more
The book is what I would describe as a “Chatty Memoir,” the kind that is written as though she’s sitting across from you lounging in your living room telling you her life story. It’s so engaging. She often addresses the reader as a pal, telling us to go ahead and google things while she waits. I’ve read a lot of Kate’s theory and seen her perform and keynote events but never got the full scoop of what she’s gone through. I mean, the process of getting to be a charming babe like Kate Bornstein is ...more
This was definitely a very difficult book to put down. Not only is it well-written, it is the story of an incredible journey through worlds that are hard to believe parallel the every-day life of your average American. Kate is such a marvelous and extraordinary person to have lived the life she has, and is certainly more courageous than your average American. I highly recommend this book to everyone, but especially to trans-folk and family of trans-folk.
This book did one of those things that I hate. It filled me with longing and desire for exploration of other ways and worlds. Made me feel like I was living too comfortable. But also is comfort the thing to strive for? Includes an in depth Scientology 101 and hello BDSM! It's also a letter to Bornstein's daughter. I wonder about the reach of this letter.
One of the themes of the book is that Kate Bornstein does not speak for all transgendered people. Still, I love having a memoir that speaks so candidly about many fringe groups--Scientology, trans-community, S&M community--that are seen as taboo. You may not agree with her choices (it bothered me a little that she mentioned it's very important to discuss entering a BDSM relationship before doing it, only to follow that with, "but we didn't and it was totally awesome (until it wasn't)!") but ...more
Just A. Bean
I hesitated in labelling this non-fiction, as Bornstein cheerfully admits to making parts of it up, then doesn't say which parts. However, it's meant to feel true, and at least it's honest obfuscation. It certainly wasn't done in the spirit of making herself look good, as it's a pretty unflinching account. Actually, there's quite a bit of flinching, and a lot of humour as well, she admits to always going for the laugh lines.

I picked it up for the Scientology, which is very interesting (and horri
Shannon Cate
Kate Bornstein's work changed my life for the more fabulous many years ago when I read the first edition of "My Gender Workbook."

Personally, I find that someone on the margins of the margins like Kate, is most likely to be speaking the truest of truth. Kate gets gender as an infinitely multiple--not a binary--thing and revels in the beauty of that.

Learning about her personal story through the lens of this memoir-cum-letter-to-her-estranged daughter was humbling. If you thought you loved Auntie K
Rachel Burdin
Definitely an interesting read after Going Clear
Kate Bornestein's narrative voice is one that is comfortable, comforting and familiar to me and probably many other members of the queer/trans/sex worker/kinky community. It was intuitive and fun to learn from her about gender in the _workbook_ and _Gender Outlaw_ and _Hello,Cruel World_ was soothing if simplistic. This is just like a more intimate conversation with an old friend I've already got to know well, one where she confides about things it somehow feels like we already know about--but i ...more
Julia Guillory
In all the memoirs I've read, I've looked up to Kate Bornstein's the most. I was intrigued , enlightened, inspired; it was like we were friends who get together for coffee while she tells me incredible stories about her life. Her writing is personal and straight from the heart, and it just sounds natural. Kate Bornstein is a Jewish-American, former Scientologist, transgender-queer woman who documents her life from early childhood, to now. She delves into dealing with homosexuality as a child, li ...more
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Kate Bornstein is a Jewish-American author, playwright, performance artist, and gender theorist.
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“There's no such thing as hurting someone for their own good. There's only hurting someone for your own good.” 7 likes
“No matter how your world falls apart-and honey, that's what happens: we all build ourselves a world, and then it falls apart-but no matter how that happens, you still have the kind heart you've had since you were a child, and that's all that really counts.” 7 likes
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