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Trans-Sister Radio

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  7,017 ratings  ·  702 reviews
With Trans-Sister Radio, Chris Bohjalian, author of the bestseller Midwives, again confronts his very human characters with issues larger than themselves, here tackling the explosive issue of gender.

When Allison Banks develops a crush on Dana Stevens, she knows that he will give her what she needs most: attention, gentleness, kindness, passion. Her daughter, Carly, enthusi
Paperback, 342 pages
Published August 14th 2001 by Vintage (first published August 12th 1998)
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Middlesex by Jeffrey EugenidesThe Color Purple by Alice WalkerTipping the Velvet by Sarah WatersMaurice by E.M. ForsterFingersmith by Sarah Waters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sep 17, 2008 Ruby rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people with curiosity about mtf transition who can't handle non-fiction
If you're looking for an introduction to transgender issues, this may be a great book for you. I wasn't.

It seems apparent to me that the author thought the idea of a trans character was so intriguing that he would research the phenomenon and write a convincing book about the world of the transitioning MTF. I guess this is what authors do, and I can't fault his research -- as far as I know nothing he said in the book was inaccurate.

It was, however, bland, predictable, and ultimately implausible
This difficult, sensitive topic was handled skillfully by this author. The main character, Dana had always felt that his gender assignment was in error. At the age of 35, he has set out to have this corrected. During the process of attempting to treat this, but prior to genital transformation, he meets Allison and they fall in love. All of the dilemmas that they and family members encounter are the result of their relationship and decisions they have made. I will not introduce spoilers here, but ...more
Anne Marie
I think what a lot of people forget is that when this book came out only sleazy talk show hosts we're talking about transgender and even then, it was only for shock factor. I found it refreshing to hear about the process happens and I have met the author and spoke at length about this extensive research to prepare. If you are active in the GLBT community, you might feel like you have heard this before, but not back in 2001 when it was published you didn't--a lot of acceptance has been acheived i ...more
Jul 02, 2007 Milo rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fiction lovers
Shelves: queer
I loved this book. Not only did it handle transgender and transexual issues well, it was a captivating story filled with emotion and

Alison Banks, a grade-school teacher in a Vermont town, meets and falls in love with a charming and amazing man, Dana. A few months into their romance Dana confesses to Alison that she actually identifies as (gay) female, has begun hormones, will soon be dressing and living as a woman, and will be having sexual reassignment surgery several months later, that Januar
Faith Baker
This is our current selection for book club and I just finished it over the weekend. I very much enjoyed reading it as it was a quick and easy read about a subject that up until now, I had never thought of. I knew it existed and that eventually in my life I would run into someone who is a transsexual, but truthfully, I had never given their struggle or their relationships a thought. I found the characters interesting and I came to care for them. The explanation of the surgery and recovery was th ...more
I enjoyed that each character (Allison, Dana, Carly & Will) each had chapters to tell the story from their eyes & heart & soul!

This goes to show how some people can be so predjudce just becuase you are a Transexual, Gay or Bi-Sexual. Thinking that you can catch it or teach it. God Forbid they just accept it as normal, for that person and let it be each indiviuals personal choice!

Chris Bohjalian you touched my heart & soul when you wrote:

"Or walk with me a few generations into the
I like Bohjalian's writing. This one is set in Vermont, with a side trip to Trinidad, CO. The subject matter is a male to female gender change and a family that is affected by it. I learned more than I wanted to know about the operation but it is interesting and I have more empathy for people who make that decision. Chris came to our book group and talked about his research for the book, which added new insights.
Bohjalian tried, he really really did. Over all, this was a decent book. For anyone seeking a better, safe understanding of gender and concerns of transgender individuals with a fairly interesting story line and likeable characters, it is a good choice. However, for those with an understanding of what trans* individuals face, it has several points of annoyance and often reeks of textbook cloaked in fiction.

A couple of examples that made me twitch any time I read their print:

1. the word "transge
From my "position paper" on the book for class:

Throughout Trans-sister Radio, representation is a key issue: community members refuse to let Dana represent herself and refuse to acknowledge her identity as a woman; Allison is denied the opportunity to represent herself to parents (instead, the principal does the work of representing Allison in rather negative ways); the radio becomes a way for Dana and Allison to represent themselves; the four major characters are able to represent themselves to
An account of a transsexual who has his/her gender reassigned, and the effect this has on her relationships and the community in which she lives. I suppose Bohjalian really believed he was doing a service to transsexuals by writing a sympathetic account of their experience, and maybe he would have been if it had been a better book. In fact, it's both plodding and prurient -- an amazing achievement! It's about genitals, not about the people who have, or change, those genitals. Bohjalian doesn't b ...more
3.5 stars, but I'm going to round up because Bohjalian really got me thinking with this book, which I listened to on audio.
The story centers around Dana, a transsexual trapped in a man's body before undergoing gender reassignment surgery. Dana falls in love with Allison before the surgery. Allison, a Vermont school teacher, stands by Dana despite the fallout. Told in radio-transcript format, we also hear from the perspective of Allison's daughter Carli and her ex-husband Will.
While it took me a
Nov 01, 2010 Cindy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
This is a very interesting and fascinating book about a transsexual and the lives that she affects. I found myself wanting to read this book then not wanting to read it because of the subject matter. Bohjalian really knows how to get your attention and then keep it. There are 4 main characters and each chapter tells their point of view. The description of the surgical procedure was amazing although it made me a little queasy!
This book had a profound effect on me, opening my eyes to so very much, and I passed that experience on the many other people who were just as captivated as I was. Bohjalian really researches his subjects and writes them with such intimacy that they stay with you for a good, long time.

I’ve found so much to discuss from this book and so let me start with a general review so that I can make the remainder a huge spoiler alert....

This is the third Chris Bohjalian Book I’ve read and while I’ve enjoyed the other two, this one is my favourite. He’s taken a subject that is sensitive and controversial and wrote with frankness, plenty of well thought out perspective from many angles, and brought it to life for a reader (most likely thousands of readers) that has not known a single tran
Chris Bohjalian never ceases to amaze me. As I think Book Club Heather pointed out at a meeting when we were discussing the (horribly dumb) The Night Strangers, his books are all so different. In a way, I want some consistency with my authors; I want to know that for the most part, I can expect what I am going to get. But in another way, I like that I am surprised each time I read one of his books.

This book had a fairly deep subject matter, but I appreciated that it was actually the lightest
Bekah Crozier
This was the first time I have read anything by this author - but I can assure you that it won't be the last. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would compare the style of this author to that of Jodi Picoult - another one of my favourite authors.
This particular story is about a modern family - told through the eyes of it's four members: the ex-husband, the ex-wife, the ex- wife's new transsexual partner, and the ex's daughter.
Allison, and elementary school teacher, meets a professor - Mr. Dana
Oct 01, 2007 Imwriter rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: adults and mature young adults
Extraordinary and sensitive narrative about the impact of gender on a fictional relationship.
Library Journal's review tells it better than I can: "A compelling and often disturbing novel, Trans-sister Radio challenges all of our assumptions about gender, relationships, and sexuality. A powerful secret literally transforms four lives: Allison Banks, a sixth grade teacher; Will, her ex-husband and president of a local Vermont Public Radio station; their teenage daughter Carly; and Dana Stevens, a
Does it All Come Down to Muscle Spasms?
This was the choice for our December book club and, as it turns out, the only reason I read it. Overall, it was a highly unpleasant reading experience because I had little interest in the subject matter. That’s not to say the writing wasn’t good and the characters weren’t well drawn . . . it is to say, that the core of the story was completely outside of my comfort zone.

This is the story of a male college professor, Dana, who falls in love with an adult fem
Feb 11, 2009 Slone added it
NOT what I was expecting. But I kept picking it up at the library, on several different visits ... and one time there was nothing else to listen to (yes, I am a big fan of audio books, but I also love traditional books - so don't go getting all Gutenberg on my butt), so it came home. Little did I know I was about the enter the world transgender ...

I don't remember liking it all that much, but I listened to the whole thing. I figured it was like broccoli: good for me. I really hate "good for me"
My book club chose this one, and because I am fascinated by the whole transgender issue, I found it a worthy read. When a divorced 40-something year old teacher, Allison, falls for her college professor,(Dana, and finds out after the fact he is transitioning to a she,there are a lot of questions raised. Will Allison still love Dana after he becomes a woman, if not, why? If so, does this make her a lesbian?
Along the way of discovering what she wants, the town, the principal of her school, her d
Michele White
a good read-- quick, engaging, and you get to learn more about transition from male to female, which is something i don't know much about. Bohjalian's writing, as usual, flows really well and keeps you engaged in the story, but this isn't his strongest piece of fiction--the plot tension pales in comparison to Midwives and The Double Bind.

I do like his exploration of people's feelings towards something like gay marriage or transsexuals, an almost NIMBY sensibility, that in general it's OK, but yo
Imagine a woman falling in love with a man; the woman is told a few months into the relationship that the man is a woman on the inside. This is the story of Allison and Dana.

When Dana tells Allison he is in love with her and then shares that he is a transsexual and is in the process of having a sex change Allison must deal with her own personal emotions and the uproar of her community. Allison’s ex husband, Will, secretly wishes the relationship between Allison and Dana will work and when it do
I won't tell you why I picked this up, but I'll tell you that I couldn't put it down once I started. How did I manage to miss this author?
Periodically I found myself stopping, flipping to the front of the book, looking for the paragraph I must have missed say it was based on the true story of... or the names and places have been changed to protect the identity of... The characters were just so real, so believable, and so exquisitely, lovingly written that I just couldn't imagine they had sprung
Dav'ne (Davney)
Last week at Seattle Women's Chorus rehearsal I learned that one of our SWC members was now a member of SMC...she is now "John" rather than "Joanna" (not her/his real name). While I wasn't shocked I was interested in the entire conversation, particularly since the women who were "discussing" this were delighted that Joanna was now acknowledging himself as John. As a straight woman this confused me a lot. While perusing books by author Chris Bohjalian, I came across this book and decided to read ...more
I really enjoyed this book. The twist at the end was unexpected at the beginning, though I started to see it coming about 50 pages before it was stated . . . I'd recommend it highly.
Great story! BAD book. Written in a competent but not inspiring sort of way, with one-dimensional characters who sort of spent the whole book in a mental state that can best be described as bemused, even when serious shit is going down.
A stupid ending.

BUT, it's a fantastically written and tender telling of story about an elitist New England family dealing with the introduction of a transexual to their lives; tenured college professor Dana Stevens. Who will be attracted to who next?

It's a good start to what I hope is a subject touched upon by more authors in the future-- the fluidity of gender. Perhaps, though, we're all ready for a realistic story of a transgendered person.

Although my feelings about the book are strictly ambiv
Wow, can this author pick a more controversial topic?
Laying out on the table all, if sometimes too much information on transexuality and gender reassignment.

Like most of Bohjalian's novels, this one makes you think and question many possibly preconceived notions concerning love, sexuality and gender.

He humanizes characters, who are usually demonized or sensationalized in our culture, without preaching to you what you should believe.

This is a very interesting and informative read, but not for e
Astonishingly beautiful.

In brief, Allison falls in love with Dana the man. Dana reveals what he has known since childhood - She is a woman in a man's body. And she will soon undergo surgery to correct nature's mistake.

This book could have been a hot mess. Instead, the author tells a compassionate and tender story that asks some important questions about identity. What defines us? Does the soul have gender? What is gender?

An honest book you will interact with on many levels.
Highly recommend.
This is the second book I've read by Bohjalian. Both this one and Midwives deal strongly with issues of justice and humanity and right and wrong in a way that is frustrating and engaging, much like the real world (though at least this one has a prettier ending than life often does). The story is told through four different characters -- all of whom find themselves struggling with the meaning of love and gender and sexuality.

I identified most strongly with Allison, a teacher who found herself fal
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Chris Bohjalian is the author of seventeen books, including Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands, arriving July 8, 2014 from Doubleday.

His other books include such New York Times bestsellers as The Light in the Ruins, The Sandcastle Girls, The Night Strangers, Secrets of Eden, Skeletons at the Feast, The Double Bind, Before Your Know Kindness, and Midwives.

Chris's awards include the ANCA Arts and Letters
More about Chris Bohjalian...
Midwives The Sandcastle Girls The Double Bind Skeletons at the Feast The Light in the Ruins

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“No surgery in the world was going to offer him the particular history that went along with growing up female. No procedure was going to give him the joys or the terrors that must accompany pregnancy- that must, for teen girls, make sex a walk over Niagara Falls on a tightrope.” 7 likes
“Nothing -- and I mean nothing, Carly Banks -- is crazy if you're in love.” 2 likes
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