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Stuck in the Middle With You: A Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  512 ratings  ·  115 reviews
New York Times bestseller and acclaimed author Jennifer Finney Boylan returns with a remarkable memoir about gender and parenting, including incredible interviews discussing gender, how families are shaped, and the difficulties and wonders of being human.

A father for ten years, a mother for eight, and for a time in between, neither, or both ("the parental version of the sc
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 30th 2013 by Crown (first published January 1st 2013)
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Stuck in the Middle with You: A Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders is the memoir of Jennifer Finney Boylan that reflects upon her role as parent and how it did-or did not- change as the result of her transition from male to female. Boylan has written elsewhere of her transgender issues and her focus here is primarily on to what degree-if any-it has impacted upon her parenting. Boylan has remained married to her pre-transition spouse and the book touches lightly upon the experience this has bee ...more
I read Jennifer Finney Boylan's memoir She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders years ago and was quite moved by it. I was excited to receive an advance copy of her new memoir, Stuck in the Middle with You: A Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders, which releases later this month.

Boylan's voice is kind, open-hearted, and never judgmental. There is a touching example of this right away, in the memoir's first several pages. Boylan is not a radical, militant activist; she's not trying to win our approv
Aaminah Shakur
I received this memoir as a Goodreads First Read but was super interested in reading it as it is about a trans* woman's experience and parenting.

The book is a fairly quick read, very well written, and does a great job balancing humor and emotion. I also really enjoyed the unusual format in which the author breaks to share interviews with her friends, other writers, and even former students, in which they talk about their own challenges as parents or with their parents. Everything about the book
Jul 09, 2014 Kate rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: memoir
This book is like a quilt woven from many different pieces. I was surprised to find especially pleasurable the interludes of interviews with various literary figures, and other people in Jenny's life. It felt like I was sitting in the room with them as they talked about family, gender, literature, life...

And then there's the other (related) focus of the book, Jenny's relationship with her kids and spouse before and after her gender reassignment. These parts are written with such tenderness, vuln
In return for my honest review I received this book free from Librarything Early Reviewers. This did not effect my review.

So...this was disappointing. I loved Boylan's first memoir,She's Not There: A Life in Two Genders This book started out with promise, but I had a number of issues with it in the end. Boylan actually writes very little about parenting or family. Her kids are exquisitely well adjusted and high achieving. Neither she nor her wife are particularly troubled by the fact that they h
I won this book from a goodreads, first reads giveaway. It has in no way, influenced my opinion.
In college, I had a class where a transgendered (male to female) came in and told her story. I remember that my friend and I were quite fascinated. You hear about it but to see it right in front of your face, really opens your eyes. It was one of the experiences from college that really stayed with me. They are just regular people. So I was interested in what this book would be about. It fell really
Joanna Cabot
This was an overall rewarding and satisfying read. I have some personnel experience with the subject matter, so books of this nature always interest me; it's always nice to see a non-depressing one. I give Boylan a lot of credit for building a happy, satisfying life in spite of her challenges.

I do have a few quibbles, of course. Firstly, I think Boyaln's assertion that she is in many ways unusually lucky is true and does take away a little from the 'lessons' one can learn from her story. Even th
Bending The Bookshelf
Although already an accomplished novelist at the time, it was the publication of She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders in 2003 that first made Jennifer Finney Boylan a household name - and which firmly established gender issues as a topic of popular discussion in the process.

Says Jennifer of that seminal volume, “at first, I thought of She’s Not There as a kind of ‘once-off,’ after which I’d return to fiction. But, oddly, I hit some nerves with readers.” She found herself drawn to writing nonfi
Writer James Finney-Boylan had been a father for six years when he decided that he could no longer continue the charade of living as a man. She spent six years in the transition process, then underwent gender reassignment therapy and became a mother named Jennifer. She and her wife, Deirdre, remained married and raised their two sons as a couple. Jennifer has written her transition story elsewhere; this is the story of them as a family. Told in alternating sections by Jennifer and via interviews ...more
First, let me say that I enjoyed Boylan's writing style. The memoir chapters in this book left me hungry for more of her stories and experiences. I also enjoyed the interviews and was impressed by the caliber of featured interview subjects (also: wow, some people have horrendous parents).
I was disappointed, though, that this book seemed to only skim the surface of questions of gender and parenting roles. I wish Boylan had done more exploration of traditional gender roles. In trying to make the p
Jul 04, 2013 Gwen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Gwen by: Jules Vilmur
Shelves: gender-issues
This book was wonderful, but I also found parts of it unspeakably sad.

At one point, I was reading it on the plane on the flight home from my 25th high school reunion and I had tears streaming down my face. I think the worst part was when Jenny was describing a Fourth of July celebration and what she most wanted was for Deedie to kiss her, and Deedie wouldn't... but she said "Don't be sad; I still love you". It was just awful. (Of course, that's my own issue creeping in...)

And I don't know, I gu
i won this from FIRST READS- thank you! I had read the author's previous book about changing sexes and was curious to see how her life has progressed. She was born a man, married and fathered 2 sons- and then became a woman. This book talks about the experiences of the family and the true meaning of gender- what makes you a 'mother' or a 'father'. Especially interesting was to hear his wife's views on all of this. Totally interesting to read- very funny parts mixed with extremely touching, poign ...more
Priscilla Herrington
When I finished this, the third of Jennifer Finney Boylan's memoirs, I was said because there isn't another waiting for me. I will miss her. She tells her story well, including her family and friends as vital participants in her life journey. And she also includes the amusing moments.

Stuck in the Middle with You is a Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders, More than that, it is an exploration of what it means to be a parent, and in particular, in what ways is being a father different fro being a m
Stuck in the Middle With You is Jennifer Finney Boylan's memoir on what her experience was parenting her two boys as a male, while going through transition to a female and then as a female. She has a previous memoir, She's Not There, that is the detailed story of her life as a transgender person and her transition to female. Since she has that previous book, details on that are not discussed in this book.

Jenny really doesn't have all that much to say about her parenting experience because it app
Jaclyn Day
You may know Boylan from her memoir She’s Not There. In this book, Boylan talks about parenting roles and how her personal parenting experiences in different genders (pre- and post-transition, primarily) impacted her and her family. Boylan writes beautifully. She is funny, insightful and poignant—sometimes all in the same paragraph. Her memoir portions of the book are fantastic. Unfortunately, there are regular breaks for short Q&A interview sessions Boylan conducts with other writers, frien ...more
About halfway through Jennifer Finney Boylan’s memoir of parenting as a transgendered person, when I was aching for more detail instead of these sporadic vignettes, I realized that I already owned a book by her that was much thicker and contained the detail I was craving. I went down and pulled She’s Not There from my shelves, thinking I had already read it. As I flipped through, I realized that I had not. I quickly set it on the top of my tbr stack.
This work is probably more successful when on
It took me reading two or three really good essays by Jennifer Finney Boylan in the New York Times several months apart before I remembered, "oh, right, she's the transgender woman, who teaches in Maine," and to decide that it was time to read one of her books. To get a truly in-depth understanding of how James decided to become Jenny, I think I'll need to read her previous memoir, She's Not There, but Stuck in the Middle With You is pretty fascinating. Boylan intersperses her reflections on par ...more
Despite the subtitle, "A memoir of parenting in three genders", this book imparts much more than just a story about being transgender or of being a parent. From the unique perspective of having experienced parenthood while traversing the gender spectrum, Boylan provides a very human and relatable narrative about the many varied relationships that exist between people. Through personal anecdotes interspersed with insightful and relevant interviews, Boylan covers a wide swath of the infinite permu ...more
Tova Ross
A very thoughtful and well-written meditation on what being a parent means independent of traditional gender roles. I love Boylan's writing and alternated on liking her shtick for this book: interviewing other famous writers and personalities for their own views of parenting in "atypical" families. "She's Not There" is obviously a much better account of Boylan's journey of transitioning and what becoming a transgender person entails both physically and emotionally, but this one has a lot of inte ...more
Jonathan Horowitz
The main narrative is really interesting and JFB is always entertaining and laces her writing with humor, but the interview interludes didn't really do it for me. They felt kind of like they were working backwards from a predetermined thesis which was being confirmed by the questions and answers. Or maybe I just didn't like how they interrupted the flow.
I didn't love the verbatim interview transcriptions, although they often had flashes of exceptional insight. I felt they would've been better integrated into Boylan's narrative, which was powerful -- in the sense of a necessary narrative -- and entertaining.
Won it in a goodreads giveaway. Interesting read to see how gender change effects on a family. Touching moments peppered with some funny moments. The only major flaw would be that the interviews break the flow of the book.
Ellen Keim
A rather light memoir about a serious topic. It doesn't go into a lot of detail but covers the basics, about growing up transgender, being in denial, coming out, making the transition, etc. The interviews interspersed throughout the book are a nice touch. No one memoir can cover everything in a person's life and this is no exception. (It's also not her only memoir.)

Overall this is a book about families, especially about how all kinds qualify. The author has an easy-to-read writing style and com
Rebecca Treiman
a just ok memoir about a father who changed to a mother. Sounds like a topic that one would remember reading about, but I suspect that I'll forget this book very soon
Robbins Library
Jennifer Finney Boylan was born James Boylan; her transition was covered more thoroughly in her previous memoir, SHE'S NOT THERE, though there is enough background in STUCK IN THE MIDDLE WITH YOU that new readers won't have any trouble following the story. STUCK IN THE MIDDLE WITH YOU is an examination of that it means to be a parent, and how (or if) motherhood and fatherhood are different. Memoir material is interspersed with interviews with people such as Rick Russo (author of EMPIRE FALLS) an ...more
Love Jennifer Finney Boylan--her writing and her acceptance of life as it is.
Tessa Rose
What a splendid book of questions. It dives headlong into topics like:
What does it mean to be a mother? A father? Does gender play a roll in parenthood? What is a parent? What does it mean to a husband? A wife? To love your children?
Boylan charmed me in her honesty, and her reflections on her life. For me, so much of the heart of this book comes from the interviews interspersed throughout. In those interviews, not only does Boylan lead with a voice of humor, compassion, concern, and love, but ma
Sharon Rosenberg-Scholl
"But then, this is one of the fundamental contradictions of parenthood- the unending necessity to teach your children lessons that you yourself still have not learned."

"I hoped my children would not be trans in the same way that my own parents had hoped I would not become a writer."

"There was a time once when motherhood and fatherhood were states as simple to define as woman and man. But as the meanings of male and female have shifted from something firm and unwavering into something more versat
Most people don't have occasion to think about all the parenting issues that Jenny and Deedie Boylan had to consider when Jim transitioned to Jenny, and still stayed married to Deedie. While Jenny was understandably very worried about the impact of her transition on the couple's sons, Zach and Sean, they seem like very cool, well-adjusted young men. I found the examination of gender roles and parenting very fascinating, and while I wasn't sure at first about the inclusion of all their author fri ...more
This was a book that didn't quite know what it wanted to be.

As a memoir it seemed to vault between meandering between anecdotes that didn't mean anything and a semi-linear plot that would then zoom off on a tangent. Boylan seems to be a fan of these hanging stories -- she will tell you about some small insignificant thing and what someone said then end it on a poignant note without ever integrating that moment into the whole. Then there were these stilted interviews with a random assortment of
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Jennifer Finney Boylan is a widely praised author and professor.

Edward Albee summed up her oeuvre in 1988: -- "Boylan observes carefully, and with love. [Her] levitating wit is wisely tethered to a humane concern…. I often broke into laughter, and was now and again, struck with wonder."

Jenny's memoir, She's Not There, published by Broadway Books in 2003, was one of the first bestselling works by a
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“The women I knew in those days liked the fact that I had a feminine streak, that I seemed to be sensitive and caring, that I didn’t know the names of any NFL teams, that I could make a nice risotto. A lot of straight women love a female sensibility in a man, an enthusiasm that goes right up to, but unfortunately does not quite include, his being an actual woman.” 0 likes
“I did love her, though, for a little while anyhow. That was the thing: I still believed, on some fundamental level, that love would cure me. That if only I were loved deeply enough by someone else, I would be content to stay a man. It wouldn’t be my authentic life, but it would be all right. It was better, in any case, than coming out as transsexual, taking hormones, and having some gruesome operation and walking around like Herman Munster. An authentic life wasn’t very appealing. And so I allowed myself to be lifted off the ground by the levitating properties of romantic love.” 0 likes
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