Robyn's Reviews > Misfortune

Misfortune by Wesley Stace
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's review
Aug 11, 2011

If you, like me, have studied anything to do with gender and sexuality, and the psychology behind these theories, then you will find this book fascinating. At its core, it tells the story of a boy who is raised to believe he is a girl by his strange adoptive father who had lost his beloved sister as a child, and wished to replace her. On top of this there are innumerable sub-plots, side-stories and extra information, which all tie together in the end, but are tiring to wade through before you get there.

On the downside, the plot line is long and convoluted, and at times it does require considerable efforts to follow it through. The characters are numerous and bear similar names, so that I found myself keeping a book mark in one page where the main character describes his (or her) relatives, so that I could remember which was which. I don't think that Stace is a particularly accomplished writer - that is, he has a lot to learn about fluidity, style and editing - but he does weave a good yarn and presents a well-balanced argument about gender, sexuality, identity, and the effects of nature versus nurture. I wonder if, had I not studied these very subjects mere months before I stumbled across this book, I would have found it as fascinating as I did; but either way, that was the mindset in which I read the book, and for me it paid off. Sensitively handled, and with a satisfying ending, I enjoyed it, although whether or not I would choose to read another book by the same author remains to be seen.

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