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Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock's Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  6,149 ratings  ·  628 reviews
"If I could have chosen, I would have been born a woman / My mother once told me she would have named me Laura / I would grow up to be strong and beautiful like her." --"The Ocean," lyrics by Thomas James Gabel

Grace's early years were spent in a disillusioned rage as she grappled with the fact she didn't identify with her body, further complicated by the strain of her pare
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Kindle Edition, 290 pages
Published November 15th 2016 by Hachette Books (first published January 13th 2015)
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Average rating 4.28  · 
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 ·  6,149 ratings  ·  628 reviews


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Joey
Nov 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtqia
Growing up a suburban punk rock teenager, I remember the horror and betrayal I felt the first time Against Me’s radio hit single “I Was a Teenage Anarchist” came through the speakers of my crappy Mercury Sable. I felt the knife twist in my heart with every chord, every word, as my one time hero Tom Gabel reminisced about a rebellious punk rock past. “Do you remember when you were young and you wanted to set the world on fire?” Gabel wailed in an overly catchy chorus, the nail in the coffin in my ...more
Brendan Egan
Nov 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Matt Skiba is an asshole.
John  Mihelic
Nov 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished this book this week. I enjoyed it. But I’m not entirely sure what to say about it.

From the start, I am a fan of her band, Against Me! I’m still a fan even if it becomes just another name for what she does. But I’m not a huge fan. I know bigger fans, who have seen her (in both fake Tom and real Laura phases) than I have. AM! Is like a top 20 band for me and I was trying to think if another similar artist in my own esteem wrote something would I have preordered it sight unseen six month
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Anthony Kozlowski
"I don't want to see the world that way anymore. I don't want to feel that weak and insecure."

"Tranny" isn't just the best book I read this year. It's a rock memoir for the ages.

Discounting my status as a fervent Against Me! fan--a passion that started long after their underground success or mainstream flash--it's still the type of book that invites all readers seeking a shockingly transparent and utterly human exposé. Even if I had never downloaded a copy of "I Was a Teenage Anarchist" in 2010
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Jamie Canaves
I inhaled this audiobook. It was like a great behind the music documentary with the band leader secretly struggles with gender dysphoria. I had never heard of the band or Laura Jane Grace until a Rolling Stone's article and it left me immediately wanting to read Grace's memoir. She does an excellent job narrating as she tells years of struggle through the punk scene, trying to make it with her band, and gender dysphoria. You don't need to have any knowledge or interest in the punk scene or the b ...more
MichelinaNeri
May 09, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was clunkily written and too long. I admit I'm not an Against Me fan, not that I don't like their music, but the band just passed me by. I was interested in learning about Laura's experience transitioning while the lead singer for a punk rock band. And it's not that I didn't get that from this book, it's that Laura comes across as a real jerk. Sure, she was going through some hard times and that can make even the best of us act like assholes, but the book is being written after the fac ...more
J.
Dec 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The inclusion of the journal entries is very interesting and revealing. I wish Laura had found people or sources to help her understand her transition sooner. I found myself yelling at the book from time to time because of the terminology that she was using to refer to herself, but I very much understand that this was the only rhetoric she knew to understand herself. This is why LGBTQ visibility is so important--if she had better, more loving and understanding terms with which to understand hers ...more
Abby
Nov 19, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I want to love this-I just wish she had spent less time talking shit about the rest of the band
Mary
Nov 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first heard selections of Laura's autobiography material when she read from her diaries on a solo tour a year or so ago. Her entries are remarkably honest and powerful and moved me to tears. The book weaves the journal entries with song lyrics that she was writing at the time and her play-by-play of her career and personal life.

My two cents: After the release of their (2nd?) album, (maybe sooner), Against Me! would get heckled by punks at their shows for selling out. These punks sound like pr
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CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian
Maybe like 3.5?
A fascinating window into being in a successful band that got its start in anti-establishment circles. It reminded me of Carrie Brownstein's memoir about Sleater Kinney. It's not your average transition memoir, since the bulk of the material has to do with Against Me before she came out. It's only really in the epilogue that she talks about being trans. She is brutally honest about all of her experiences and doesn't try to paint herself in a flattering light, trans stuff at the e
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Alex
Nov 17, 2016 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I'm not a super fan of Against Me!, the punk band whose singer is now publicly a woman. But I do think Transgender Dysphoria Blues is a fuckin' warhead of a song; it's been on my "favorites" Spotify list for, geez, a couple years now. She's got a kickass story and I would like to hear more of it.

ooh, I just found an acoustic version of that song. Not as good, I like this (and everything else) loud, but her voice sounds great on this version.
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Tyler
Jan 31, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Laura Jane Grace is an incredible storyteller but her's is a story that is clearly not yet finished, and it shows. Much of the book flies through as a chronological retelling, with journal entries often wedged in awkwardly. It gives an intriguing backstory to the early days of Against Me! but feels pressed for time in its final chapters. It's an enjoyable, if not entirely satisfying read. It feels like the start of something rather than a recounting of it.
Tasha
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this. I love the candor, the vulnerability and the strength of it. A wonderful, heart-wrenching story which touched me deeply. Having my own history with punk in the 80s, I was drawn to this book but little did I know how I would be affected. I read this in one day, I couldn't put it down. As soon as I closed the book I went on youtube and watched a couple of videos/interviews with Laura Jane Grace. I'm a new fan. 5 stars for hitting me on an emotional level. ...more
Mrs. Europaea
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been a huge fan of Against Me! since their Fat Wreck Chords label days. I loved the sounds as much as the styles and personalities of the band members. When I heard of Tom's transition to Laura Jane I wondered what would happen to the band. Transitioning is hard by itself but public transitioning adds an extra layer of difficulty.

In Tranny, Laura attempts to give a raw and uncensored account of what life was like before and after undergoing a public M2F transition. I found that the f
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Max
Sep 05, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Predictable yet still so yucky. In a book proudly describing countless interpersonal wrongs (everything from pissing on the wall in a hotel to mocking transwomen in public to sexually harassing women to beating up a stranger in a coffee shop for calling you a sellout to giving your recently abused mom a literal heart attack to cutting yourself to manipulate girls in high school to getting mad at your girlfriend for handling being impregnated and told you wanted her to terminate with midwife abor ...more
Matt
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won a copy of this from Goodreads, and here's my (somewhat late) review of it.

I was curious to check out Laura Jane Grace's memoir for two reasons: I'm interested in punk music and politics, and I also really want to read more non-fiction, particularly post-election, to get more perspectives from others, especially those in groups that the US tends to marginalize.

I got into punk via Plan-it-X Records around 2008 when I was 18 (a late bloomer to the scene, I know). Plan-it-X released one of Aga
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Connor Daley
Sep 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Whenever I came out to people, there was a feeling that I was asking for their permission, or their forgiveness.”

Johanna
Firstly I had never heard of the band (Against Me! - critics call them this generation's The Clash) or of the transgender band leader, Laura Jane Grace, until I'd seen her interviewed about her book on The Daily Show and I felt intrigued to find out her story.

And what a fantastic, heart felt and honest story it is. Following her struggles of growing up as a boy, delinquency, drug use while trying to become a successful punk band (against the back lash of militant punks that considered them sell
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Josh Seifert
Jul 18, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Laura has broken boundaries and proven that, regardless of one's gender identity, they can be a self-absorbed, raging narcissist.

This book is terrible. I don't read memoirs of rock musicians expecting an extraordinary degree of nuance, but Tranny is a repetitive, amateurish slog. Laura recounts Against Me's rise to prominence in the punk rock world, how she hates every band member she's ever had, every record label she's ever had, and how she does a whole lot of drugs. She frequently discusses
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Emily Young
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No book has ever left me feeling so raw and so completely emotionally shattered- and that's a good thing. Laura Jane Grace manages to be other worldly while somehow also being so down to earth she's buried herself alive. Against Me! has played a huge part in my life (to the extent of tattooing an album cover on my arm) and this book just took a chainsaw to what I thought I knew about them. The struggles, disappointment, fights, depression, pain, regrets, and misfortune talked about in Tranny are ...more
Jennifer
I liked this book and enjoyed Grace's story, but it was not what I was expecting. This memoir is 90% about being a punk rock musician, and 10% about being transgender. I understand that Grace's childhood and teen experiences factor into her experience as a transgender woman. But I got to read about every tiny moment and detail about touring with a punk rock band, and when she comes out to her mother as transgender, she just writes that they had a long phone conversation and she came out to her m ...more
Cynthia
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Looking back at the books I’ve read this year, I’ve definitely been on a memoir kick, most of them punk rock memoirs, and this is among the best I read. One thing I love about Laura Jane Grace is her intelligent, compelling lyrics, but making a good song is very different from making a good book. I have had to abandon some of my favorite musicians’ autobiographies for being boring, or had to struggle through them because they were so disorganized. I knew from the first page, though, even the fir ...more
Shelli
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: punks & other humans
This book is everything the band Against Me! and its frontwoman Laura Jane Grace also are: powerful, original, dedicated, full of painful snarls as well as beautiful harmonies, honest to a fault, brave as hell, and can't-turn-away compelling, with fear and anger blossoming into determination and (pun unintended, I think?) grace. Plus, it has a great beat and you can dance to it!

You don't have to be concerned with the plight of transgender people or even a fan of Laura and Against Me! to enjoy th
...more
Skye The Unknowable
Don't read a trans woman's biography hoping to find out that there's happy endings for #girlslikeus. This is a pretty rough read all the way through but it's a story I'm somewhat familiar about, a story about hating what you see in the mirror, about dealing with suicidal depression and dysphoria and what happens when those two mix together and how removing one doesn't get rid of the other but makes it not so bad.

It's a great read, truly interesting and somewhat reassuring as a fucked up punk tr
...more
Shea
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Laura, her transition and her music will always be huge for me, but I think she severely rushed this book. Unfortunately, she comes across as an asshole. That's just punk rock I guess? From the early days of Against Me! to coming out, considering the emotions of others is not her strong suit. The prose leaves a lot to be desired--What was Dan Ozzi doing? Her journals are the best part.
Jason Diamond
Nov 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Laura Jane Grace holds nothing back in this wonderful memoir. From her personal journey to the story of what it's like to be in a band just trying to make it, this is a very layered and emotional story that I absolutely loved reading.
emily [coffeeandwashitape]
I found Against Me! in 2006 as a little punk kid and then later found their cover of Wagon Wheel and knew this was a band I would listen to forever. I loved this book. This genre of music is not the friendliest and I ended up distancing myself from it later in life for some of the reasons Laura talks about in this book (lots of performative privileged white kids) and I felt far from a genre I had always loved so much. I stuck listening to Against Me and a few others. I still remember the day I s ...more
Bosco Farr
This book is like a novelization of Bob Seger's Turn The Page, which is in my top ten worst songs ever recorded. The song is whiney and self indulgent. This book feels exactly the same but with less depth and far less introspection. With one exception, Laura's struggles to come to terms with her gender identity are at times touching and compelling. That's about 10% of the equation. The other 90% is typical rock memoir by someone with zero appreciation for the good things in their life. The narci ...more
Kaylie
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A good read for Against Me! fans, music aficionados, and those curious about transitioning in adulthood and what a lived transgender dysphoric experience is like. It punched me in the gut over and over again. The chance to read her journals and watch her grapple with her relationship with herself was emotional, impactful, fascinating.
Dee Darby
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this insight into Laura’s life from childhood to transitioning. I can’t pretend to know what she went through (or still is going through) but I admire her honesty throughout the book. Tom Gabel really was a bit of an arsehole at times!
I also enjoyed reading about where she was and what made her write certain lyrics to songs I’ve listened to countless times.
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Laura Jane Grace is an American musician best known as the founder, lead singer, songwriter and guitarist of the punk rock band Against Me!.

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