Will's Reviews > Dress Codes: Of Three Girlhoods--My Mother's, My Father's, and Mine

Dress Codes by Noelle Howey
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's review
Nov 16, 13

An interesting story by an interesting woman, despite the fact that so much of the story is about her reaction to her parents and her grandparents. Noelle's father is the strong silent type of man, whose only passion is acting. Noelle's mother is a no-nonsense, practical woman who doesn't think she's interesting. Noelle's father is strong and silent because his big fear is that people will know he likes dressing up in women's clothing. Then he decides to come out. You'd figure that would make enough of a story, but really the book is about people's idea of themselves, and the grandmother is a perfect example of this. Noelle, Granny and Mom end up playing roles of their own, and find out that they're just as restrictive and self-defeating as the strong man Dad tries to be. Especially interesting is how Noelle's own sexuality and personality is shaped by her father, even without him knowing it, as she reflects on her own sexual needs and beliefs while talking to some seriously disturbed pre-op transexuals just after her father's operation.

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