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Detransition, Baby

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  14,497 ratings  ·  2,210 reviews
A whipsmart debut about three women—transgender and cisgender—whose lives collide after an unexpected pregnancy forces them to confront their deepest desires around gender, motherhood, and sex.

Reese almost had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York City, a job she didn't hate. She had scraped together what previous generations of trans women could
Hardcover, 340 pages
Published January 7th 2021 by Serpent's Tail
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John Amory Own Voices, not owned (which would actually be the opposite of Own Voices). And yes, the author is a trans woman.

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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  14,497 ratings  ·  2,210 reviews

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Nov 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have mixed feelings about this novel. It is chaotic, well-written, deeply, gorgeously queer, messy, sexy, and it probes really interesting questions about womanhood, motherhood, fatherhood, queer parenting, the relationships we make and break. Some of the storytelling was too... indulgent is maybe the word I'm looking for, like, when you're in the groove as a writer, loving what you're writing, digging down into it, and you don't know where to stop. But that's okay!

The title is masterful.

Morgan M. Page
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Detransition, Baby is, like its title, going to be a polarizing book. There is hardly a page that won't cause somebody, somewhere to clutch their own personal pearls. Torrey has written right into all the hardest, least comfortable, often cruellest parts of the culture war over gender, and nobody comes out looking good. But she does it with such an unparalleled humour, honesty, and grace that one cannot fault her. Discussing the book with a trans friend in her 70s, she described it as "a bit too ...more
Emily May
Well, I can see why Detransition, Baby is getting a lot of buzz. It's a timely, provocative read that never shies away from the tough subjects. The writing was not always my cup of tea - more on that in a second - and I think it has some of that chaotic messiness that seems to be characteristic of a lot of debut novelists, but excuse me while I use a cliche marketing term and say: Peters seems like one to watch.

This is a not a plot-driven novel; it is a detailed character study of two trans wome
A novel with lots of heart that centers three women navigating queer relationships and parenthood. I appreciated how Detransition, Baby depicted trans women’s lives in such a three-dimensional way, including moments of transphobic othering and violence as well as experiences of connection, longing, and fulfillment. I felt that Torrey Peters cared about these characters and didn’t write this novel to educate cis readers. The most satisfying part of this the book for me centered on how Peters port ...more
Eric Anderson
Apr 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Pregnancy is a traditional storyline that's part of many domestic dramas. With the prospect of a child those involved must decide whether to see this pregnancy through to birth and, if so, how they will make room in their lives for a baby and organize themselves as a family unit to support the child whether that's as a single parent, a married (or unmarried) couple or an extended family. Torrey Peters portrays this universal situation with the inclusion of a trans woman and an individual who has ...more
Jessica Woodbury
4.5 stars. Often when I'm reading I am already thinking about how a book is making me feel, about how I would describe it to someone. Basically I'm already formulating my review in my head. Then I'll sit down at my computer, as I am right now, to form these thoughts into something fuller and more coherent. But I am not sure I'll be able to do that for this book because eventually I stopped thinking about how to describe it to another reader and just enjoyed it for my own self. So sorry, other re ...more
Barry Pierce
Feb 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
huge Caleb Gallo energy.
Vicky "phenkos"
Apr 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary, lgbtq
4.5 stars rounded up.

Detransition, Baby is an honest and candid portrayal of three women: Katrina, a biological woman, Reese, a transwoman, and Amy/Ames, who presents as a man at the time of the events described. The book revolves around a pregnancy (Katrina’s), the result of an affair between Katrina and Ames, which sets off a chain of events that bring the three characters together. Each of the characters has emotional baggage that influences the development of the plot: Katrina has divorced h
Jan 24, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, queer, ww
What it has:
Queerness and lots of it. The queerest conversations and situations that I've ever read. It's breathtaking and groundbreaking. I ate it up.

What it doesn't have:
A plot. Or even a real point. An editor. A sense of urgency.
Reese wanted to end their games, to get hit in a way that would affirm, once and for all, what she wanted to feel about her womanhood: her delicacy, her helplessness, her infuriating attractiveness. After all, Every woman adores a Fascist.

No, thanks...
Apr 04, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa, 2021-read
It's pretty telling that this is one of the first books written by a trans person that has been published by a major company, and accordingly, the biggest accomplishment of the text is that it refuses to stereotype its protagonists - rather, they're messy and complex, thus: Realistically drawn, three-dimensional people. It's also a fast-paced, slightly convulted, sometimes a little soap-opera-esque story that, at the same time, discusses identity and parenthood. This wild mixture alone makes the ...more
Rarely have I been given the privilege to read such violently mysoginistic crap.
Think the most obviously sexualized and violent description - the one you know could only have been written by a man with the most elementary disdain for women- and then multiply that by ten.

The writing is otherwise pleasant at times, it is what made me get through the novel.

Detransition, Baby wants to be about creating different families and coping with femininity, but it only manages to leave long-lasting impres
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully written, heartfelt and original book whose characters really got into my heart. I recommend it to absolutely everyone, but especially to LGBTQ folks and people who love LGBTQ folks, or to anyone who wants to be educated and enlightened while also laughing a lot.

The book follows Ames, a person genetically assigned male at birth, who transitions to female and then back to male again - hence the title, “Detransition, Baby.” This is a story I’ve never seen told before in fictio
Feb 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, I have been feeling emotionally fucked up for the two days it took to read this. I would recommend it.
“Detransition Baby” sparked my interest because I don’t know much about the transgender world. Author Torrey Peters is a transgender female and who better to pen a novel about transgenders? Her characters are real, flawed, loveable, and frustrating. Peters adds biting humor making the story a tragicomedy of the human condition.

The story revolves around three characters. Ames is a male who detransistioned from a female. Ames, formally known as Amy, went to great lengths to transition into Amy. W
Elyse  Walters
Audiobook/synced with the ebook….
… read by Renata Friedman 12 hours and 31 minutes.

Author Torrey Peters is a trans woman….[she’s gorgeous by the way]….
…..she has written a terrifically captivating novel worth cheering for— not only for the trans community - for trans women - for mothers - for parents - or for the straight community to ‘peek-in’- learn - accept - understand- appreciate queer and the ‘detransitioned’ person — [all that is a given in my opinion]…..
but this is a novel any l
Hal Schrieve
Aug 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC of this book from Edelweiss+.

Torrey Peters, author of The Masker and Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones, hops into Big Press level literary fiction with a novel about divorce, lesbianism, chasers, trauma, pregnancy, and queer parenting-- with all the specificity, emotional intelligence, and punch that anyone could possibly expect. The plot-- that a detransitioned trans woman, Ames, gets his boss pregnant, confesses his trans past, and then asks his lover to coparent the baby wi
Mar 14, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-read-2021
Reading this felt like being lectured by a disturbingly misogynistic fetishist for 300+ pages. Not my cup of tea, to say the least.
Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
They are together, and miles from each other, their thoughts turning to themselves, then turning to the baby, each in her own way contemplating how her tenuous rendition of womanhood has become dependent upon the existence of this little person, who is not yet, and yet may not be.

I read this book due to its longlisting for the 2021 Women’s Prize – the first transgender woman nominated for that prize in accordance with the new rules of the prize that, defined eligibility as for “cis woman, a
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
i know it's probably hackneyed to call a narrative "slight" anymore, but i'm not sure what else to say here. the twofold premise laid out in the title (detransition + baby) feels sidelined in favor of ultimately unnecessary flashbacks and an exploration of the hyperspecific world of trans women in nyc - rather, white trans women, as one of our leads notes. it's curious, and actually a bit startling, how glibly this book announces its utter disinterest in trans women of color, as if its very ackn ...more
Jan 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: six-stars, lgbtq, 2021
I feel like I've been hit by a bus ...more
Roman Clodia
Mar 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Longlisted for the Women's Prize 2021

Hip, witty, sharp and absolutely now, this is like a dispatch from the frontlines of gender fluidity rewriting what it means to be a woman today. I love the capacious and generous nature of the story and the way this normalises trans women without writing out the difficulties of a harsh world.

The weird-dating stories can be hilarious, and the dialogue is snappy New Yorker at its finest ('Wanna go over and talk? Get an introduction?' 'No, of course not... I'v
May 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 outstanding stars. It’s not flawless by any means but this book goes deep into exploring gender, identity and motherhood in all its complicated messiness. It’s razor sharp and clever in discussing all the issues surrounding the journey into motherhood as a trans woman. I gained a lot of insight so I can excuse some of the imperfections, I feel like the author used this opportunity to purge all her thoughts into this one book. It’s chaotic in a good way mostly and I appreciated the honesty and ...more
May 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
I think what I appreciated most about this text, and perhaps a good reminder of why novels from voices like hers are so essential, was the insight it gave me into a lived messiness, a complexity of trans experience that, as a cis white male, I would otherwise have no access to. That she did it in such a well crafted, intelligent and funny way was a definite bonus.

This is entirely deserving of all the praise it is getting.

Oh and, in light of some of the stupidity going around, I will use my pri
Nomadic Reader (Baba Yaga)
"Many people think a trans woman’s deepest desire is to live in her true gender, but actually it is to always stand in good lighting."

I don't know how else to describe this book other than to say that it reads like a long-form Contrapoints video. The story itself is pretty straightforward: two messy, deeply flawed trans people grapple with the complexities of their relationships and identities, while also trying to figure out if they want to become parents to a cis woman's unborn child.

Of all th
Feb 06, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt, woman-authored
As cool and interesting as the title of Torrey Peters' Detransition, Baby makes the book sound, the story it portends is much less interesting.

Reese is a trans woman in Brooklyn struggling with understanding her place in the world. The trans woman community is without elders - an effect of the high death rates of trans women, and Reese, who desperately longs to be a mother, can't find a meaningful romantic partnership with anyone but abusive cis men. Ames - formerly Amy, and before that James,
Jan 05, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i don't think i've read a book so painfully and almost resentfully open to nuance and difficulty, which of course, i adored - at every turn, detransition, baby rejects the chance to go soft, go easy. instead, it goes pretty fucking hard for 350 pages. i can't help but deeply admire and love a book that so prioritises the coexistence of bitchiness and tenderness, especially when its so concerned with (ugh, not to be like, 'this book is so important') such essential and complex questions. it crack ...more
Mar 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: trans people only
4.5 stars - the writing is genuinely beautiful, to the point where I'm super impressed that this is a debut novel. I haven't read a book that uses words that I don't know in a LONG time. The concepts touched on and setting/mood remind me a lot of both Nevada and Luster. Nevada I've seen it compared to (because every ownvoices trans book is compared at some point), which makes sense. Both have a notable lack of strict or obvious plot, and both explore complex relationships and themes without a ci ...more
Jan 18, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"So much for queer liberation," Ames says, but he's bobbing his hands palms down in a gesture for her to calm down.

When I say this novel is going to get people talking, I don't say so lightly. Depending on your reading of Detransition, Baby, anything you end up liking about it could be seen as really troubling to someone else, and the same goes for what you disagree with possibly landing perfectly for another. Thus to try to talk about this book objectively would mean inserting yourself into
lark benobi
Mar 27, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021
This novel is certainly written well, and I could honestly say it was great, but it also made me feel smarmed on, which is a verb I just made up to describe this particular reading experience (to be smarmed on (v): to be subjected to excessive, ingratiating, self-absorbed wheedling, by a smarmer (noun: one who smarms). It's very well-done smarming, though. And even if it's way too excessive for -me-, for other people it will be just the right amount of excessiveness, or they may not even find it ...more
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Torrey Peters is the author of the novellas The Masker, Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones, and Glamour Boutique. Her first novel, Detransition, Baby, will be published by One World/Random House in January 2021.

Articles featuring this book

It's June, which means it's time to celebrate Pride month in honor of the LGBTQ+ community! This year, we wanted to highlight the...
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“Many people think a trans woman’s deepest desire is to live in her true gender, but actually it is to always stand in good lighting.” 6 likes
“Yes.” Reese nods. “I mean, they go through everything I go through as a trans woman. Divorce is a transition story. Of course, not all divorced women go through it. I’m talking about the ones who felt their divorce as a fall, or as a total reframing of their lives. The ones who have seen how the narratives given to them since girlhood have failed them, and who know there is nothing to replace it all. But who still have to move forward without investing in new illusions or turning bitter—all with no plan to guide them. That’s as close to a trans woman as you can get. Divorced women are the only people who know anything like what I know. And, since I don’t really have trans elders, divorced women are the only ones I think have anything to teach me, or who I care to teach in return.” 6 likes
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