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Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  705 ratings  ·  151 reviews
A heart-wrenching, eye-opening, and giggle-inducing memoir about what it's like to grow up not sure if you're (a) a boy, (b) a girl, (c) something in between, or (d) all of the above.

"When the political reality facing this country seems dark, we need shinier, sparklier thinkers in the public eye. With a signature style matched only by their wit, Jacob fits that bill perfe
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  705 ratings  ·  151 reviews

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Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don't know exactly how I stumbled upon Jacob Tobia's memoir, but the first time I saw this cover & read a short synopsis I was hooked. Immediatley. And to be honest I've never heard of them before, I've never seen any of their other works & I didn't even know who they were. But I am so glad that I do now. "Sissy" is such an amazing book, it's heart-warming, gut-wrenching, it will make you cry so hard on one page & laugh out loud just few sentences later bc above all, it's incredibl ...more
Maddy Gillette
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jacob Tobia's memoir focusing on their experience growing into their identity as a genderqueer person was possibly the perfect book for this present moment. Covering their life from early childhood to the end of college, this memoir dives deep into the kaleidoscope of queer identities and comes up with the refreshing reminder that you don't have to choose just one! In all, the memoir covers the little moments that take place with friends and family and strangers and ourselves as we learn about o ...more
Robin Bonne
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir-and-essay
3.5 Stars. The first half of this memoir is amazing. Tobia articulates the painful experiences they had while growing up and I was left with a greater understanding for a different kind of non-binary experience. Their memories surrounding their childhood had the strongest writing. It was easy to understand the confusion of how they felt with how the adults in their life tried to steer them towards traditional masculinity.

The second half of the book shows that, although the author is queer, ther
And so, here I am again plunging further out of my comfort zone with a memoir. Memoirs are not books that I've read often, mostly because I thought that they were inspired only by ego, but I admit, I was very wrong. A memoir, well written, opens up a door into a life that we quite possibly would never have understood or maybe, never noticed. Memoirs give us insight into a multitude of cultures and lifestyles and teach us just as much as they tell. Sometimes, they teach us more in their honesty.
Mar 15, 2019 rated it did not like it
Horribly written. Attempts at humor fail miserably and most of the book is spent patting themselves on the back for their very very dull college life/full transcriptions of emails they sent complaining about small instances of harassment/unwokeness at their Ivy League school (not to dismiss harassment but it's very white middle class college student etc). Want to read a book by a narcissist who thinks every dump they take is radical while wincing at the stilted writing style and jokes the entire ...more
Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.75 rounded up
It took me a minute to get my thoughts and feelings down about this book. Firstly, I will say this is an important book and one you should grab immediately to better understand yourself, gender, society and the world in general. Books like this one are pertinent in moving the narrative forward and I’m 100% in for all of them!

With that said, I have both things I loved about this book and didn’t so much love about the book. I’ll start with what I didn’t love so I can end on a high n
Drew Factor
Apr 08, 2019 rated it liked it
This book felt important because these sorts of stories should be told, but by the end, it did start to feel incredibly self-indulgent. It seems a bit problematic to frame any instance when they were not chosen for an award or were not given the kind of spotlight or attention they wanted as a grave societal injustice linked to a systematic problem with the treatment of trans/gender nonconforming people. To go with the flow of the book, one must assume that they are the smartest, most deserving p ...more
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.75* - I loved the first half of this book so much, and overall it's a really engaging, important, and courageous memoir. I did have some issues with how much race privilege and particularly class privilege seemed to be glossed over in the second half that centered mainly around Tobia's experiences at an elite private university.
Mar 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just not my cup of tea

I requested that my library purchase this memoir and I so hope that others find it helpful and enlightening. For me, I realized about 40% of the way into the book that I just don’t *like* Jacob: I found them unrelateable and overly self-centered. I had hoped to find some wisdom to move forward in better understanding my gender-fluid or gender-nonconforming friends and compatriots, but I just didn’t.

Here’s hoping you love it.
Elizabeth Jackson
Mar 08, 2019 rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this book and I’m sure it’s filled with lots of valuable information but it felt like a very padded editorial article, not a book, and it was padded with an absolutely astonishing amount of clunky and long winded metaphors that no editor should have given the ok too and after awhile I just couldn’t take “it’s like your great aunt’s cheesecake” anymore.
Spencer Whiteley
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely hilarious and heart-wrenching on every page. Jacob Tobia made me smile, cry, snap, laugh out loud, and even utter a few “yasss queen”s while reading. As a GNC human myself, this book was unapologetically honest and reminded me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Thank you, Jacob, for letting me read your story.
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbt, memoir
The kind of book you hug while reading.
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommend...They tell their story without hesitation. Jacob doesn’t pretend to sugarcoat their experience or who they are; they tell their story, share their experiences with frankness & honesty: the bad, the ugly, the better. They have a great voice, and the memoir flows like a conversation with a friend.
Judy G
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this book from my PUblic Library and am now looking to buy it for a friend. This is a very important book. It is a story by someone who realizes at a young age that he is not a typical boy that he crosses genders and is not gender specific. The word he uses is gender nonconforming. This is about Jacob's life up to current age of 27.
His home is in North Carolina with a mother father and older brother. He is intelligent and diligent and very well liked. also he is bullied and shamed through
Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)
I won this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, G.P. Putnam’s Sons and Jacob Tobia for an ARC copy. As always, an honest review from me.

- fun upbeat read - the book put m in such a good mood despite the struggles that they went through
- their experiences navigating college life versus the “real world” as a person who is gender non binary

- The cover: the colors are beautiful and eye catching - makes me smile every time I look at it
- Jacob is telling their
Parker Jensen
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I ADORED THIS!!!! I cannot wait for this to be released so I can thrust it into the hands of everyone I know
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
First off: If you know of any other autobiographies or biographies of gender-nonconforming trans folks, send them my way.

I'm a fan of autobiographies, and it was so nice to see one from a trans person who doesn't adhere to the gender binary.* I'm 40, so I definitely had moments of, "Sigh, this person is so young," but that's more about where I am right now than a real problem with the book. I found their relationship with their church very interesting, even though I have no pull toward organized
This book is so delightful. I really love Tobia’s ‘gender-chill’ approach to discussing identity. They’re very funny, for one thing, and I found myself laughing a lot. But although obviously not everything is light-hearted when it comes to gender in society, this memoir felt just as liberating to listen to as it does for the author, whose liberation is the scaffolding of the book. It functions as a traditional memoir, I might actually call it an autobiography because it’s chronological, but it’s ...more
Cátia Vieira
Why should you read this book?
Sissy: A coming-of-gender story by Jacob Tobia was our April read-along pick! And, it definitely is one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read! Who is Jacob Tobia? Well, the most brilliant, gorgeous and amazing QUEEN, of course! Tobia also is a LGBTQIA rights activist, a feminist writer and a co-producer and host for the series Queer 2.0.

Sissy has been described as sensational, honest and poignant. It’s all true. In this book, Tobia shares with us how it is
Apr 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Wild to read a book about someone who grew up in my hometown. Good writing, overall a compelling narrative.
Sarah (CoolCurryBooks)
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
TW: suicidal thoughts

Sissy is a hilarious, heartfelt memoir that I read in less than forty-eight hours. Jacob Tobia tells the story of their childhood up through their college graduation — and the twists and turns of self-discovery along the way. At the beginning of the memoir, Jacob provides a Mad Libs version of the standard trans narrative, designed to be understandable to cis audiences, support the gender binary, and focus on trauma. Sissy is explicitly not that story, and Jacob tackles thei
Chris Burd
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm going to start curating a list of books that I believe every high school senior should read - and I'm putting Sissy on that list. In addition to telling a story of gender non-conformity that isn't generally visible, Jakob Tobia is funny (and smart) as hell.

What makes this story one that I think should be read by everyone, however, is the way in which Jacob talks about the constant evolution and shifting of identify that we all experience. While we so often hear stories that talk about disco
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Funny and touching, Jacob Tobia has written an engaging memoir. Their knack for description means I actually giggled aloud a little at some of the funnier bits. They don't sugarcoat their points, either. Worth a read!
Phi Beta Kappa Authors
Jacob Tobia
ΦBK, Duke University, 2013

From the publisher: A heart-wrenching, eye-opening, and giggle-inducing memoir about what it's like to grow up not sure if you're (a) a boy, (b) a girl, (c) something in between, or (d) all of the above.

"When the political reality facing this country seems dark, we need shinier, sparklier thinkers in the public eye. With a signature style matched only by their wit, Jacob fits that bill perfectly." --Alan Cumming

From the moment a doctor in Raleigh, Nort
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
First, the cover of this book is as fabulous as Jacob themselves! Such a beautiful, funny (I mean, seriously funny), honest memoir. Immediately found them on Instagram so I can keep up with this amazing human being's adventures. Keep making the world a more beautiful, understanding, expressive, feminist, and woke place Jacob.
Jenn Meadows
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm a sucker for a good memoir and Jacob Tobia's Sissy fit the bill for an entertaining memoir. They incorporate a nice blend of humor dispersed across some heavy topics. Their sass is unbelievable and absolutely charming. It felt like I was sitting down with Jacob over a cup of coffee, learning more about their story.

It's incredibly important to read experiences from a vast array of authors. A friend that identifies as queer pointed out how I wasn't reading a lot about the queer experience bei
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful, funny, insightful book full of truth and joy. Jacob Tobia was one of the first nonbinary superstars I discovered and started following on instagram when I began trying to answer my own question of "What does a nonbinary adult look like?" Despite loving their fashion, their feminism and their flirty photo captions for years, I didn't know even a fraction of their story. Jacob was born in 1991 in North Carolina to a loving, churchgoing family who were as supportive as they cou ...more
Apr 17, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recommend listening to this book. Hearing Jacob read the words brought a meaning that I would not have interpreted if I had just read the words myself. Jacob's voice evokes emotion and energy. I picked up this book after watching an interview of Jacob Tobia on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah. I hoped to get a better understanding of an experience I do not understand. Lastly, I hoped to get the answer to question I have had for several years now.... what does it "feel like" to know you are not ...more
Insightful, generous, good-humored. This memoir is expansive, acknowledging that Tobia is working to help build a perspective of multiplicitousness, even though it is a personal memoir about Tobia's own experiences with gender. And Tobia early on sets out their project to be this expansive: "Through sharing my experiences on the margins, I'm aiming right for the center, for the core of how gender hurts us all." The prologue(?) entitled "A Quick Maninfesto" is an excellent read on its own, settin ...more
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs, nonfic
I'm not even sure how to begin talking about how wonderful this book is. If you read one memoir this year (besides Becoming, because I know you cannot resist the infinite wisdom of Mrs. Obama) it should be Sissy. Seriously.

Jacob Tobia's memoir is a tender yet hilarious picture of growing up as what they deem a "sissy." They write about the realities of being a small child who loved Barbies and dressing up and never really felt comfortable being called a boy. What follows is a young life of figur
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“I’m sharing this with you because I want the world to understand that depriving a child of the ability to express their gender authentically is life threatening. I’m sharing this with you because I want you to understand that gender policing is not some abstract, intellectual concept; it is a pattern of emotional abuse that came from every direction and singularly robbed me of my childhood. I’m sharing this with you because I want you to understand that telling a boy not to wear a dress is an act of spiritual murder.” 2 likes
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