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Trans-Sister Radio

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  10,039 ratings  ·  931 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 May 3rd 2000)
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  10,039 ratings  ·  931 reviews

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Sep 09, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
Elyse  Walters
Sep 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, lgbt-themes
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
Sep 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Anne Marie
Oct 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: mine-hardcopy
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 "transg
Jul 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book, fiction
4 Stars for Trans-Sister Radio (ebook) by Chris Bohjalian. I didn’t realize that this book was 18 years old till I was about done with it. It must have been ground breaking back in 2002. I think it was an interesting approach to tell the story from so many perspectives. That really highlighted how everyone was affected.
Aug 15, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
Barbara H
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
Faith Baker
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 08, 2009 rated it did not like it
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
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kate by: Carol
Shelves: 2017-books, 2017-tbr
Chris Bohjalian is one of my favorite authors. His books are smart and interesting and I have attended several author events with him. He is generous with his readers and has called into my book club twice to discuss his work. This book was on my TBR pile for a long while and I picked it up for Banned Books week. This is such an interesting story of Dana Stevens who believes he was born in the wrong body and is well on the way to transitioning to a woman. He becomes involved with Allison Banks a ...more
Jul 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Feb 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 future. You're
Stacey D.
Nov 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ...
May 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 21, 2011 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
Dec 15, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Sep 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 29, 2008 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Jun 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
loved this book. could not put it down. I am quickly becoming a big fan of his works!
Feb 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing

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
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, lgbtqia
This book started out so beautifully, I thought I would love it. Unfortunately, that's not the case, but I think those not in the LGBQT community will like it more. It is probably a great introduction to trans-gender people for those who might not know anyone who is. I like that it is non-judgmental and strives to explain what it's like for people who are (which is why I gave it 2 stars instead of 1). The book is written from the point of view of 4 characters, one of whom is Dana, a trans-gender ...more
Jul 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Ally Perrin
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Trans-Sister Radio was my favorite book I've read in a long time. It's beautifully written and the story is eye-opening, emotional, upsetting, and happy all at once. I really loved the plot, even though I called the ending about 100 pages before it occurred. Trans-Sister Radio is written in two formats: some chapters are written as transcripts of a radio show and are used to introduce the prose chapters told by multiple characters. The general story is this: a 40-something schoolteacher divorcee ...more

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
Jun 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 19, 2009 rated it did not like it
Well, this is one of those terrible and yet for me compulsively readable novels. How do normal people see/deal with gender variance? And by normal people I mean to include aspiring normal people. I always want to know, so I read their (incredibly popular, published by mainstream presses, gigantic advance bearing, totally exploitative) books.

Obviously heavily researched, and written by an obviously gender-conforming, heterosexual, Extremely Liberal dude. Not quite as offensive to my sensibilities
May 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
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!
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Chris Bohjalian is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 21 books. His work has been translated into 35 languages and three times become movies.

His forthcoming novel, "Hour of the Witch," arrives on May 4, 2021. It's a novel of historical suspense set in 1662 Boston, a tale of the first divorce in North America for domestic violence -- and a subsequent witch trial.

His most recent novel, “The

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31 likes · 21 comments
“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.” 8 likes
“Nothing -- and I mean nothing, Carly Banks -- is crazy if you're in love.” 3 likes
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