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Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  2,661 ratings  ·  470 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.

From the moment a doctor in Raleigh, North Carolina, put "male" on Jacob Tobia's birth certificate, everything went wrong. Alongside "male" came many other, far less neutral words: words that
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Hardcover, 319 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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Average rating 4.10  · 
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 ·  2,661 ratings  ·  470 reviews


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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,
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Thomas
A very strong four stars for this bold and hilarious memoir. I loved Jacob Tobias voice in Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story. I appreciated their progressive political views, their honesty about their childhood, adolescence, and college years as a gender nonconforming person, and their humor. They take a critical perspective on social justice issues related to queerness and gender, like when they point out that the closet can be a problematic metaphor because it puts the onus on the queer person ...more
Fabian
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 ...more
da AL
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everyone should read this. Everyone. Better yet, listen to the author's entertaining and thoughtful audiobook performance! I'm a devout feminist/humanist yet Tobia still had plenty to teach me about gender form all angles -- and they made it fun.
Rachael
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
Hank Stuever
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Full of energy, but zero (I mean ZERO) panache. And I don't mean "panache" in the flamboyant sense, I mean it in the sense that a memoir like this really needs shape, style, structure and a reach for something permanent. Instead, it is written in the blog style of no-style, with quips here and there, and intense self-absorption, beyond the call even for a memoir about discovering one's truest self. I did gain some understanding of gender-fluidity and nonbinary-ness, but felt like I was reading a ...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 ...more
Hannah
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 dont *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 didnt.

Heres hoping you love it.
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Sheri
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.
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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 ...more
Elizabeth Jackson
Mar 08, 2019 rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this book and Im sure its 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 couldnt take its like your great aunts cheesecake anymore. ...more
Bryan Cebulski
I liked Sissy okay. I've enjoyed it more in hindsight than when I was reading it. It's not that I'm not glad I read it, because I am. PROBABLY what bothers me is mostly that, personally, Jacob Tobia doesn't seem like someone I'd jive with, and that personality clash bleeds into whether or not I can enjoy their writing.

That's not to say they wouldn't be fun to chat with, not to say they're not an important public figure, not to say they haven't done amazing work. Nothing like that. It's that
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Bookishfolk
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 Im 100% in for all of them!

With that said, I have both things I loved about this book and didnt so much love about the book. Ill start with what I didnt love so I can end on a high note.
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Jessica Woodbury
Right away, Jacob Tobia wants the reader to know that this is not a Trans 101 book. It is not going to be your Acceptable Trans Narrative, and they are also going to make it clear to you just how much damage we are doing as a society by only allowing one Acceptable Trans Narrative. I knew immediately I was in good hands. I also noticed right away that Tobia uses inclusive language as much as possible. It's incredibly rare for Tobia to talk about just "trans people" instead they will almost ...more
Isis
May 12, 2019 rated it did not like it
If you dont know what the word cisgender means by now, thats probably because you ARE cisgender, bless your heart!

Oops, Im sorry Im not up to date with the labels everyones giving each other nowadays..

Ill probably get a lot of backlash for this, but this dude was arrogant & full of himself throughout the book. He was giving himself pats on the back & speaking as if the world owes him something.

The purpose of reading this book was so that I could obtain information as to what a non
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Katy
Mar 11, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5* - I enjoyed the first half of this book, and overall it's an 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.
Savannah Tracy
Aug 30, 2019 rated it liked it
I think Jacob's is a very important story, and ultimately I'm glad I read it. But I do think that it could have been about 100 pages shorter - It was a struggle to finish the book, and there were a lot (I mean a lot) of long winded metaphors that I think detracted from the narrative as a whole. I appreciated most Jacob's discussion of the harmful ways in which we raise young boys, as well as their experience in the south as a Christian. I really wanted to love this book because Jacob is ...more
Max
Jun 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
What could have been a merely mediocre buzzfeed article has been stretched into a seriously tedious book. Just because you dont have a books worth of things to say doesnt mean I should have to turn several pages to get past the sexist essay about heels that got you into Harvard in both its various drafts and final format, or the full text of a presentation you almost gave at church. No substantive understanding of misogyny demonstrated at any point. More than one creepy line hitting on specific ...more
Christine (Queen of Books)
This is one of those memoirs I want to push on everyone. (Most recently I felt similarly about The Sun Does Shine.) Sissy is interesting and often entertaining, and I promise it has plenty to influence the way you think and talk about gender.

Jacob's metaphor of gender-based trauma as a bad back, rather than as a broken leg, is a great one, and well-explained. Their description of living with gender-based trauma over time deftly sets up their next point, which is that gender-based trauma is NOT
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Maia
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 ...more
Gauge Romine
Jul 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
I really wanted to like this book. As a queer person of color, I was excited to hear about another queer person's experience. However, I was deeply disappointed. I frequently picked up this book to attempt to continue reading but often read only a couple of pages before becoming frustrated again. Jacob makes a handful of really great points and sheds light on a crucial subject for this time, but that's about it for the positives. Throughout the book, Jacob dodges responsibility for any negative ...more
Anna
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book; Tobia came to a bookstore in my hometown (Wichita, KS) in April, and I got to finally experience being in a room with 100+ locals who believe my gender is real, which was an incredible, affirming, unforgettable experience.

But this book is...the nicest thing I can say is Not For Me. First, it's in dire need of better editing: Tobia tends to rattle off three or four one-liners when one would do (and be funnier), and there's a lot of other material that should've been
...more
Rachel Van Amburgh
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-club
My book club has been up in some rather dreary shit lately (sorry, yall) and Sissy was a very welcome breath of fresh air! While 70% of this reads very much in the style of a Xanga/Livejournal post, Im here for it; haters can back off (but stay tuned bc I have recs for you). If you want a super eloquent/heart-wrenching memoir about the trans experience (from a woman who possesses cis-passing privilege), read Janet Mocks excellent book. If you want to laugh your butt off, can forgive a lack in ...more
Jessica
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The synopsis states that after reading this book youll never think about genderboth other peoples and your ownthe same way again, and for me this is absolutely true. As a cisgender person, Id never put much thought into my gender. It just was what it was, and I never questioned it. This book enlightened me, challenged my thinking, and made me want to learn much more.

Jacob identifies as gender nonconforming/ genderqueer/trans fabulous/gender chill. Jacob is authentically themself, and I think
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Meagan
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, lgbt
The kind of book you hug while reading.
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 queens 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. ...more
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
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Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)
I won this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, G.P. Putnams Sons and Jacob Tobia for an ARC copy. As always, an honest review from me.

Like:
- 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

Love:
- The cover: the colors are beautiful and eye catching - makes me smile every time I look at it
- Jacob is telling their
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Bill
Apr 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
Pretty full of himself....and of white privilege.
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
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