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Trans-Sister Radio

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3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  8,366 Ratings  ·  800 Reviews
In his bestselling novels "Midwives" and "The Law of Similars, " Bohjalian examined how lives can be changed through one seemingly random occurrence. In "Trans-Sister Radio, " he uses subtlety to explore the very nature of love and identity.
Hardcover, 344 pages
Published January 18th 2001 by Harmony (first published August 12th 1998)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Ruby
Sep 17, 2008 Ruby rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Elyse
Dec 06, 2015 Elyse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Correction...'Thanks, *Iris*.... lol, ...

The Guest Room", by Chris Bohjalian - will be released early Jan. 2016.
I've already heard wonderful early 'buzz-greatness' from other early readers.
I'm waiting for my pre-ordered copy to arrive early Jan.
In the meantime, I just finished "Trans-Sister Radio", which was first published in 2001
I 'love' the title and it's a gorgeous book cover. The story is intimate
realistic, and beautifully written.

The topic is 'transsexuality'. The novel shows how peopl
...more
Carol
Sep 10, 2015 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this long ago but saw it on Bookbub today so decided to add it. It is one of my all-time favs and definitely my favorite of Chris Bohjalian's books.
Mackenzie
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
...more
Barbara
Aug 28, 2013 Barbara rated it liked it
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
Oct 19, 2012 Anne Marie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Faith Baker
Jul 25, 2011 Faith Baker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club-books
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
Milo
Jul 02, 2007 Milo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Michael
Aug 17, 2008 Michael rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Vicky
Feb 25, 2009 Vicky rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
SteffieStar
Mar 07, 2009 SteffieStar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chris-bohjalian
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
...more
Kelly ...
May 09, 2016 Kelly ... rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I absolutely loved this book. It is authentic, deep and complicated. The latter is appropriate because the central character is male to female transsexual. Many are uncomfortable with the idea of transsexuals and see it as a choice made by the individual - a choice that is misguided and wrong; a choice that is even offensive. In this book Mr Bohjalian attacks the subject with no identifiable prejudice. He allows the character to stand for herself. He allows her to explain for herself. It is rich ...more
Tea Time with Marce
From my blog



If you want debate, choose this for your book club. I thought this was a fascinating, thought provoking but at times uncomfortable book to read. And to know this is reality for some makes it a wow moment, I feel a little shell shocked but I also feel more educated.


One of the debates is when should personal life be a factor for professional life. Allison has fell in love with a transsexual while she is a school teacher. Chris B was fantastic in the genuine characterization he used in
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Alena
Jul 02, 2013 Alena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book
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
...more
Maicie
Sep 20, 2010 Maicie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sandie
Apr 29, 2008 Sandie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uvm-group
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.
Stacey D.
Jul 12, 2015 Stacey D. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I get the feeling that Bohjalian had the title in mind before writing this book. It's so perfect! A smooth read and a really interesting take on the meaning of gender in our modern world. Another great book on transexuals is The Danish Girl by the great David Ebershoff, which was published the same year as Trans-Sister Radio and is being made into a movie.
TamElaine
Apr 07, 2013 TamElaine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
...more
Wendy Bousfield
Jun 15, 2013 Wendy Bousfield rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dana Stevens, a professor of film, becomes romantically involved with Allison, an elementary school teacher. After Dana and Allison have become lovers, Dana reveals that he will shortly go to Trinidad, Colorado, for “sexual reassignment surgery.” Though Dana, from early childhood, considered himself a woman trapped in a man’s body, he is attracted to women and passionately committed to Allison. Despite feelings of betrayal, Allison invites Dana to moves into Allison’s house after the surgery. Da ...more
Bridget
Jul 30, 2012 Bridget rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Charlene

This is the first book I've read by Chris Bohjalian, and for some reason I thought it was newly published, only to discover that it was published in 2000. The author treats the topic of MtF sexual reassignment with sensitivity and his writing flows. One character is a college professor, one is an elementary school teacher, and one is a local NPR executive, in small-town Vermont.

What probably lost an entire star from my rating was the absolute implausibility of the ending. I simply did not think
...more
Starlene
Jun 09, 2012 Starlene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Rina
Dec 21, 2015 Rina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd give this book a 3.75 because a bit of it was tedious. I love this author. When I started this novel and was about halfway through I thought it was the least favorite of Bohjalian's books that I read. Thinking about that, the first and last third of the novel was better than the middle. What I loved about it is that he took an unusual topic (like Jodi Picoult does but this is not a comparison) and really made it his own. Some people will not like the descriptive language though I believe it ...more
Cindy
Nov 01, 2010 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Brenda
loved this book. could not put it down. I am quickly becoming a big fan of his works!
Angie B
Nov 01, 2011 Angie B rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! Wow! Wow! What a thought-provoking book. Not only did it give me a glimpse of the very difficult life a transgender person endures before committing to the change but it also made me think about how difficult the closeted lives of my gay friends must have been. Life's too short not to be you!!
Jackie
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.
Margot Fallen
Nov 11, 2011 Margot Fallen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating read. I learned so much from this book. It is not an easy read. It deals with some heavy issues and is very emotional. I had to put it down a couple times. But when you get through the book you really feel like you've read something substantial and important.
Judy Blachek
Mar 09, 2016 Judy Blachek rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-in-2010
I've had some people I know go through this transition and I think this book helped me to understand them better. Again, Mr. Bohjalian really does a fantastic job making the characters come alive and then weaves the story into a great read.
Vicki
Feb 16, 2013 Vicki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed it for the most part, but I didn't really like the ending which I thought was both predictable and a bit of a cop out. Bohjalian is very readable though and keeps you turning pages long after it's time to turn the lights out at night!
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Chris is the author of 19 books, most of which were New York Times bestsellers. His work has been translated into over 30 languages and three times become movies.

His new novel, "The Sleepwalker," a story of a mother of two with a very rare form of parasomnia who disappear
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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.” 9 likes
“Nothing -- and I mean nothing, Carly Banks -- is crazy if you're in love.” 3 likes
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