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At the Broken Places: A Mother and Trans Son Pick Up the Pieces
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At the Broken Places: A Mother and Trans Son Pick Up the Pieces

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  125 ratings  ·  29 reviews
In this collaborative memoir a mother and trans son reflect on the emotionally complex journey they shared as Donald transitioned from female to male.
In At the Broken Places, a parent and transgender son recount wrestling with their differences as Donald Collins undertook medical treatment options to better align his body with his gender identity. As a parent, Mary Collin
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Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 25th 2017 by Beacon Press
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Ai Miller
I need to establish some things off the bat in reviewing this book: 1) I received it through the Early Reviewers program at LibraryThing, and am grateful to Beacon Press for the free copy of the book; 2) I'm a cafab non-binary person who, like Donald, came out while at boarding school in 2011, which means I am going to go into this book with certain feelings.

All of this being said: this book was a difficult read for me, especially the essays written by Mary, and much of my difficulty is informe
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Caroline
May 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I received a copy of this book from a Goodreads Giveaway. I feel very conflicted about this book. I am a transgender ally and as such I am 100% in support of Donald and the choices he made to transition. So I was very frustrated that his mother, an educated and seemingly progressive woman, had such resistance to using correct pronouns, was so opposed to the physical aspects of his transition, and was so angry that medical professionals and counselors wouldn't take her opinions into consideration ...more
Meg
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
I really didn't care for this book and would not recommend it. Mainly it was the mother's chapters I didn't like - the narrative voice was so whiny and self-absorbed. Clearly she did not get the support that she needed during her son's gender transition, and clearly it was hard for her to watch her young adult son making choices she didn't agree with, and that's totally valid. But she goes into ridiculous territory with hyperbolic claims that her human rights were violated because she didn't get ...more
Emily
Apr 19, 2017 added it
I'm going to need time to process this book. I think it's a good resource for parents & guardians of trans kids struggling to understand gender identity, transition, etc. I'm not a parent, so I can't speak to the depths of grief Mary Collins felt, but there are some statements she made that I felt were hyperbolic and misinformed, that I definitely disagreed with. I'd even go as far to say that there were, for me, a non-binary adult, a few triggering moments, a word I don't use lightly. (Like ...more
Magdelanye
This is a curious book, attempting to bridge a gap that opened up between this mother and her daughter when he decided that actually, they were her son. Its getting that extra star for the courage this family has shown in publishing their side by side accounts, and their determination to salvage the love that wasnt always evident.

For all that its not a warm fuzzy book, it is a new kind of example of reconciliation.
Katie J Schwartz
At the Broken Places: A Mother and Trans Son Pick Up the Pieces is a back-and-forth essay project between a mother and her transgender son--an attempt at understanding each other's points of view. The book also includes some short interviews with other transgender people and parents of transgender children, in an effort to broaden the conversation past one relationship.

First, let me preface this review by saying that I am not transgender, nor am I a parent of a transgender person. So, take my op
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Odile Maite
Aug 27, 2018 rated it did not like it
As a fellow young trans person, I had quite a hard work time finishing this book. Which is why after a while trying, I didn’t.
Miron
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I will be honest and admit that I had very low expectations for this book. Yet I was pleasantly surprised and would have been no matter what I was possibly expecting.

I want to first and foremost praise this book for being modern and knowledgeable, acknowledging (whether or not directly) that intersex and nonbinary trans people have a very real existence. This acknowledgment is despite the fact that the transgender person in question here, Donald, is a 'perisex' binary transman.

But perhaps more
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Heidi Gardner
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
I was so disappointed by this book. The parts written by Donald were insightful and interesting, and I wanted more of that. The parts written by his Mother were self-indulgent, tedious and unnecessary. Even in the interviews at the end of the book, it felt like Mary Collins was working to find people that agreed with her rather than people that challenged her. I’m a straight white cis female and the way she dealt with her son’s transition was shocking to me - at no point did I understand where s ...more
Andrew
Aug 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbtq, nonfiction

My thoughts on this book are the same as many other reviewers, in that while it's 100% valid to struggle and mourn with a family member transitioning, the majority of Mary's essays are all very woe-is-me, I'm the only victim, I'm so disrespected, etc. to the point of it being borderline insufferable.


I feel that Mary really needs to move on. It has been 6-7 years since her son, who cowrote the book, has transitioned. He did everything in a reasonable time frame and was very considerate of her fee

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Greg Chandler
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very worthwhile read for any parent of a trans kid or anyone who works with these youths.
For those of us who accept trans-people for who they are - who they know themselves to be, it may seem lack and white: what they say goes. Parents who do not respect the transitions these youths go through tend to be seen as unsupportive, maybe even homophobic (trans-phobic).

By sharing a dialogue between parent and child, the Coillinses have provided insight into both sides of the story, and there are two s
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McKenzie Richardson
 



I received a copy of this book through Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.Overall, I liked the book. It is composed of essays from Mary Collins and Donald Collins and interviews with other people who are trans and families of people who are trans.The book details what Mary and Donald both went through in various stages of Donald's transition (Donald coming out as trans, starting hormones, perusing various surgeries). They discuss how their relationship changed and places they did and d
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Anna
Jul 31, 2017 rated it liked it
At the Broken Places is a memoir of a trans son and his mother and their journey through his transition.
What I most appreciated about this book was the honesty in it. Mary (the mother) is incredibly honest about her struggles in accepting Donald's transition and how left out she felt as a struggling parent of a trans teen. Donald was very open about his struggles with having little parental support and his own complex feelings towards his mother. I feel like reading this book gave me a more nuan
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Stephanie Rosso
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It’s hard for me to express how excited I am that this book exists, and how much I enjoyed reading it. I’m grateful for the receipt of an Early Reviewer copy via LibraryThing. Not only is the premise unique in that it’s a joint memoir in essays, but it eloquently describes the two experiences as mother and trans son journey through their respective challenges with Donald’s decisions and transition. As with most things in life, the trans experience for both the trans individual and surrounding lo ...more
Jo Alkemade
Aug 25, 2017 rated it liked it
As the story of one mother and her one trans child - the book makes sense. Their experiences are their own, and there can be no argument - I wish they had left it at that and trusted readers to draw their own conclusions. As representational of a broader perspective (as insinuated by the interviews with other parents and trans individuals, basically confirming the experiences of the authors) - ultimately too narrow a perspective into this complicated matter - the book falls flat.
Shannon
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really applaud Mary and Donald's openness about such a difficult and complex topic. Even though Mary was not being supportive in most of Donald's transition, she can see that and is truthful about her struggles so that hopefully this book can help someone like her in the future, and I think that's something good.
Kathy
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am so touched. Donald and Mary have created a true act of love for humanity and each other with this publication. Please do not miss out on this gift they offer...read this book. It is the best present you can give yourself on this subject.
Tori-Lynn
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a must-read for anyone who has ever loved someone who is trans. The prose in this book is honest and heartbreaking, uplifting and eye-opening. I was drawn to the dialogue these essays create between mother and son.
Paula Whitacre
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Strong, heartfelt, informative book relevant to any parent and child.
Anne Schrock
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the most beautiful books I have read in a very long time. The balance of personal brokenness and deep passion for truth is such a gift.
Carrie
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I won this book from Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you. Heartfelt and enlightening.
Kassie King
May 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This memoir is split into two perspectives, a trans man reflecting on the early days of realizing his identity, and his mother who struggled with said identity. While I have found many trans memoirs that are written for young people to be overly juvenile, this memoir remained steadfast in its decision to never talk down to the reader, while still providing accessibility and definitions along the way; proof it was written by two academics. Originally I struggled with the inconclusiveness of the t ...more
Lou Hayward
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fascinating, challenging and incredibly honest - a book to make you think, question and empathise in equal measure.
Alison
rated it really liked it
Apr 30, 2017
Stacie
rated it it was amazing
May 18, 2017
Rachel
rated it it was ok
Jul 04, 2017
Kyamo
rated it liked it
Mar 05, 2018
Faith
rated it it was amazing
Jun 11, 2018
Kathy
Apr 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one phenomenal book! A memoir, written together by Mary Collins and her transgendered son, Donald, it gives a raw, honest look at the emotions each of them experienced at different stages in coming to terms with Donald's sexual identity. They tell their story in alternating voices, and it works perfectly, as the reader can sympathize/empathize with what each of them are going through at the time.

This book can help a lot of families dealing with gender issues. An important, interesting a
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Alex
rated it liked it
May 06, 2017
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