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Becoming Drusilla: One Life, Two Friends, Three Genders
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Becoming Drusilla: One Life, Two Friends, Three Genders

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  57 ratings  ·  12 reviews

For years Richard Beard would take spontaneous holidays with his motor-cycling friend Drew. They would spend a few days walking, camping, cycling, canoeing - outdoor, manly fun - before returning to everyday life: wives, children, jobs. Richard was writing novels. Drew was working in the engine-room of cross-channel passenger ferries. Then one year Drew phoned to announce

Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published March 27th 2014 by Vintage Digital (first published May 1st 2008)
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Average rating 3.65  · 
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 ·  57 ratings  ·  12 reviews

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It's Richard, the author, who goes through the biggest transition in this book. Dru Marland develops into the woman she has always been. It's Richard who works through the larger changes in perception and understanding, including finally knowing that his friend Drew was always Dru, just not as visible. Dru Marland meets challenges of her own, including gender-confirmation surgery and a lawsuit against a former employer, with the uncomplicated naturalness of her own self. Told by Richard Beard in ...more
Oct 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book about two friends walking across Wales, as they have done for many years.

Interwoven into this is the author's (Richard’s) struggle with his own understanding of his friend’s gender change. Dru is fine with it – seeming to sail through the walk with the sense of freedom that someone who has at last found themselves has.

Richard’s problem is that on the surface gender is simple, but start trying to define it and it becomes indistinct – almost illusory, complex and contradictory. Dru
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some of the reviews of this book seem pretty harsh and politically correct (and yes, I know it's not politically correct to believe in political correctness).

It's been a while since I read this book; however, I recall and value the honesty and integrity which sustain the various journeys - both real and metaphorical - that are described in the narrative, as well as the journey of reading it, and which illuminate the friendship between Richard and Dru. I thoroughly recommend it.
Aug 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Author Richard Beard goes on a walking trip through Wales with his old friend Dru in an effort to come to terms with the fact that she is no longer the man he knew.

It's a sympathetic, down to earth look at not just what it means to be transsexual, but what it means to be the friend of someone who is transsexual.
May 31, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I had to stop reading this book: Richard's casual gender policing was getting right on my tits. I understand that that was presumably how he responded at the time, and I hope that his attitude towards Dru's transition became less problematic, but I struggled not to get really cross with him whilst reading it. I think this book might be really useful for people who are new to trans issues, or who know someone who has recently come out to them as transgender - I get that, when you might be ...more
Malcolm Logscribe
It may be helpful to see a well-intentioned but ignorant person work through his transphobia. If you have found yourself feeling less understanding and accepting of trans folk than you would prefer, and if you don't know how to change that and become a person you like more, this book is for you. It gets a star for serving that purpose. I can't give it any more, though, because if that isn't you, this book is pretty much worthless. Lots and lots of the author's bigotry, in excruciating detail. ...more
James Giddings
This is the story of a walking tour through Wales, a sort of pilgrimage to St. David's by two people, Richard and Dru, who have known and liked each other for a long time, who now have to come to terms with the fact that one of them has made the transition from living as a male to being a woman. Richard uses his considerable skill as a writer to understand who his old friend friend is and has been and to help her appear as she intends to appear (as herself) to him and to the other people they ...more
Jun 29, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Richard Beard's transition from embarrassed skeptic to accepting friend is dwarfed by Dru's life changes which include living as a woman among seamen and undergoing gender reassignment surgery in Thailand. I get a flavour of Drusilla's engineering skills her acceptance of male and female traits and the joy she feels when people acknowledge her as a woman. The writing is capable, mainly dialogue and narrative; most of the action happens elsewhere. The effect is second hand, clumsily intrusive at ...more
Mar 30, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really heartened by this book - its warmth, generosity and humour were touching.
Rob Davies
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Oct 18, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Unfortunately, I had to stop reading this, I found it rather boring
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Richard Beard’s six novels include Lazarus is Dead, Dry Bones and Damascus, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. In the UK he has been shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award and longlisted for the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award. His latest novel Acts of the Assassins was shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize in 2015. He is also the author of four books ...more