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

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3.76  ·  Rating details ·  872 ratings  ·  157 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
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Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 28th 2013 by Crown (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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Kaethe Douglas
Aug 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: requested
Finney Boylan is now my favorite memoir writer. Dogs and ghosts await me, and that is very happy -making news.

Library copy
Monika
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: not-cis-authors
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
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Ellie
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
Bonnie G.
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
In return for my honest review I received this book free from Librarything Early Reviewers. This did not affect 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
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Asho
Jun 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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Melissa T
This was an interesting look at gender identity, and how that changed for Jennifer Finney Boylan as she transitioned from male to female.

She looked at it from an interesting perspective. Am I still the same parent I was when I used to be their father?

Of course not everything was the same. Her wife had to adjust to losing a husband, her sons to losing a father. But, they gained, as they put it a"Maddy" (half mommy, half daddy) and I think that had a profoundly positive effect on them. Boylan's so
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Leslie
Apr 28, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads-wins
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
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Kate
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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Rebecca Treiman
Jun 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Mell
Jun 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio, non-fiction
Full of good insights and some laugh-out-loud moments. Boylan is never afraid of admitting and spotlighting her humanity and flaws. She's relatable.

I found the author interview chapters a bit disruptive, and some were real duds for me. I most enjoyed the author's family interactions and discussions about gender non-conformity, kindness, and embracing life.
Kathy
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a memoir about Boylan’s transition from a man to a woman, while married and raising a family. The author wrote a previous book which contains more details about the transition itself. This book is about the impact this decision has on her family. Her wife stays with her once her transition to a woman is complete. The children seem to be adversely affected, but adopt a more open-minded view on the world.

The book is well-written and very interesting. I found Boylan’s reflections on parent
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Sally
Sep 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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Laurie
Jan 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Joanna Cabot
Jan 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, 2014
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
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Gwen
Jul 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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Jonathan Horowitz
Apr 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Nat
Dec 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Matthew
Apr 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Janet
May 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir-bio
Love Jennifer Finney Boylan--her writing and her acceptance of life as it is.
Gwen
Aug 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Raising an energetic American pit bull terrier counts as parenting right? No? Gah! Why did I read this book then!?

Jokes aside I did enjoy the memoir parts of this book. Jennifer Finney Boylan has a way of writing memoirs about sorta boring life details and some how still making them interesting. One bit flows into the next, and everything ties together well. On top of that it is really nice to read a transwoman memoir that has next to nothing to do with the act of transition. As a transwoman mys
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Jennifer Pletcher
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a memoir about the author who went through a transition from male to female. She was married and had two sons when she finally realized that she could not hide herself any longer. She talked with her wife, and when through the transition from Jimmy to Jenny. Her wife stayed with her and is still with her today. She went from being Daddy to Maddy to her boys. During her transition, her family faced a lot of challenges and many questions, but in the end, they stayed together as a family. T ...more
Ann Woodbury Moore
Aug 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Jennifer Finney Boylan, born James, transitioned from male to female 20 years ago. Her first autobiography, "She's Not There" (2003), chronicled her life through that point. "Stuck in the Middle With You" (2013) is a sequel, of sorts. Boylan describes her concerns at parenting her two sons and the effect her transition may have had on them. But she also includes three "Time Out" conversations with authors, artists and friends about fathers and sons, "waifs and angels," mothers and daughters. Whi ...more
Melvin Marsh, M.S.
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbt, parenting
When I read the blurb from Librarything Early Reviewers, I expected a book on being a transgender parent like I am as we have our own unique challenges. I am a female to male transsexual who is a parent and it is very difficult to raise a child when one is transgender. The book has a mixture of Jenny's own stories as well as interviews from other parents, most of which are very out of place. Of the interviews, only one was from another transsexual! I am not sure what Jenny was thinking when she ...more
Claudia
This book kinda sucked. It had such an interesting premise and yet it barely touched on what it was like being a transgender parent. There was little insight on how their marriage changed or if being transgender impacted her sons the way she feared. The book was mostly random anecdotes that don’t really have much to do with being transgender. The writing was all over the place and jumped around too much. I kept reading in the hopes that it would eventually get interesting. It didn’t. 2.5, i don’ ...more
Theresa
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Boylan, a creative writing professor at Colby Cottage, shares sketches of her parenting life as both a father and a mother after transitioning from male to female. This is truly a literary memoir with lots of references from both literature and music. Her adventures with two sons cover the gamut from toddler temper tantrums to a Facebook threat (as a joke) when her older son was in high school. She also includes transcripts of conversations with authors, artists, and individuals who are raising ...more
Darlene Stericker
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent book which explores the nuances of changing physical gender during the time of parenthood. It is sensitively written and humorous throughout. I found the interviews in the book very interesting but puzzling. They were about various circumstances of parenting, but not necessarily about transgender parenting. I am probably missing the point. A super book which I highly recommend.
Karen
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed her first book. However I read it soon after my daughter came out to me as Trans and probably need to read it again . This book was much easier to read , more about parenting and gender and what makes a mom a mom and a dad a dad. I gained some interesting perspectives that I will be thinking about and contemplating for awhile! An excellent choice for parents to be as well as anyone who wants a better understanding of what being a transwoman is.
Kirsten
Sep 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
Good, but not nearly as good as She's Not There. I skimmed (or outright skipped) a lot of the interview chapters, because I just wasn't interested. Definitely some good writing and well-done moments, but the whole thing doesn't hang together that well, and would likely make no sense if you hadn't already read the other memoir.
Gail Kennon
serviceable prose in somewhat boring narrative with strange conversational interludes which seem to explore parenthood. i'm confused by the author's inclination to see herself as mother to the children she fathered.
boekverslaafde
Mar 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
When I first picked up "Stuck in the Middle With You" I was unaware that this was not Jennifer Finney Boylan's first book. I was expecting to read the story of how Jennifer transitioned from male to female. Expecting to be told the details of the process, how it affected her family life, and how the change, and process involved, affected her life in general. Unfortunately, I found, this was already explained in her books "She's Not There" and "I'm Looking Through You". This is not to say the boo ...more
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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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“Most of the time I just have to resign myself to the fact that this whole business is beyond comprehension for most straight people. If you’re not trans, you’re free from thinking about what gender you are in the same way that white people in America are generally free from having to think about what race they are.” 1 likes
“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
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