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Detransition, Baby

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  57,664 ratings  ·  7,298 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, 337 pages
Published January 12th 2021 by One World
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Popular Answered Questions
John Amory Own Voices, not owned (which would actually be the opposite of Own Voices). And yes, the author is a trans woman.
Erin Yes, there are multiple references to pregnancy loss and at least one extended passage that I believe you would find very upsetting.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  57,664 ratings  ·  7,298 reviews

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Nov 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
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
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
Mar 16, 2021 rated it did not like it
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...
Jan 24, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, ww, queer
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.
Mar 14, 2021 rated it did not like it
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
there is no book recommendation quite as exciting as one from someone who never reads.

if my friend who has not finished a book since catcher in the rye tells me they liked one, i am RUNNING to the bookstore. i am getting a boba and taking a long walk to an indie bookstore and i am ACQUIRING.

it rarely leads me astray.

this one is really hard reading. like roxane gay said in her as usual perfect review, it's also sometimes self-indulgent - it seems to have a firm grasp of itself for the first 3/4 a
Jackson Theofore Keys
Apr 03, 2021 rated it did not like it
Usually I write a review because I think I have something that I want to say about a book. A book, being either really good or bad, I will review. But this book is nearly impossible to review. It was well written and spoke to the queer aspects of life and parenting. But this book is a chaotic mess of people wallowing in their own misery, purposefully making decisions that they know will make them miserable, because in each character's own way, they feel like they do not deserve love. Thus you re ...more
Mar 14, 2021 rated it did not like it
Reading this felt like being lectured by a disturbingly misogynistic fetishist for 300+ pages. Not my cup of tea, to say the least.
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
Aug 10, 2021 rated it did not like it
Shelves: queer-lit
I finished Detransition, Baby a week ago, but I'm still uncomfortable about it. Sure, I was disappointed that I didn't enjoy this much-hyped book. But, more importantly, I was unsettled by how aggressively white it is, how the issue of race and racism in the novel is skirted and toyed with, but ultimately left me feeling a little worse each time. While some would argue that the tone-deaf racial politics of the novel is the point of the story, I want to articulate why this bothers me.

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
Apr 11, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ggbc
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 02, 2021 rated it did not like it
I thought I had seen the worst of what literature had to offer when I forced myself through A Court of Wings and Ruin, but that was only because Detransition, Baby! hadn't come out yet.

This is a truly terrible book. If this kind of nonsensical, uninspired, and tediously boring misogynistic drivel can be published and attain a 4.01 average rating on Goodreads, I can never feel self-conscious about my own writing again. If one-dimensional irritants such as Ames and Reese can captivate the minds of
Barry Pierce
huge Caleb Gallo energy.
Apr 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021-read, usa
Now Nominated for the John Leonard Prize 2021
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
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was ok
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
Lark Benobi
Mar 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021, 2021-best-of, trans
I just finished re-reading Detransition Baby and I will probably turn around and give it a third read before its startling, joyful, frontal attack on transphobic thinking (wrapped in a sweet comedic romance) settles down enough in my brain for me to be able to give it all the praise it deserves.
Aug 12, 2021 rated it it was ok
I feel pretty conflicted about this book, as there were parts I really liked but overall, as a novel it did not work for me. I liked it best in the moments when it read as character studies, but I didn't believe the narrative and I found the writing style extremely overindulgent. At times, the novel is so far away from either telling a story or telling us about characters, and reads like a rant on gender and *real womanhood* instead.


1) The narrative. The plot centers around Reese, an unlika
Eric Anderson
Apr 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Vicky "phenkos"
Apr 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtq, contemporary
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
Feb 13, 2021 rated it really liked 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
Feb 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Wow, I have been feeling emotionally fucked up for the two days it took to read this. I would recommend it.
Em Lost In Books
I need time to process for what I read in there...
Elyse Walters
Audiobook/synced with the ebook….
…..audio 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
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Bethany Johnson
Feb 12, 2021 rated it liked it
Detransition, Baby is one of the first novels written by a trans woman to be published by a big-five publishing house. It’s raw, chaotic, and unapologetic. I’m not ashamed to say I learned a lot while reading this book. I had to stop and Google so many unfamiliar terms that I started to feel uncomfortable with how little I know about trans womanhood. But I think that’s kind of the point here, and I do want to understand womanhood in all its forms.

Ultimately, I don’t believe I’m Peters’s target a
Nov 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I've read all year. I really did not expect to like this as much as I did. It's not a perfect book, but I loved it in all its messy glory. The characters are all deeply flawed, but I cared for all of them. My only regret in reading this is that I read it so late in the year. There were parts I had to do a double-take- did I really just read that?? If you've read it, you know exactly what parts I'm referring to.

James who became Amy later de-transitions to being a man. He now
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
K.J. Charles
Remarkable. I can see why it got longlisted for the Women's Prize, and it should probably win because it's a hell of a dive into this group of women's experiences.

It's mostly a character piece, with no driving through-plot--detransitioned man Ames gets cis woman Katrina pregnant, and hopes to include trans woman Reese in a parenting triad. I'm generally a plot-driven reader, but I wolfed this and found it hard to put down after a bad start (more on that in a sec). The characters are so intensel
Sarah Schulman
This novel is both unimaginable and entirely inevitable-a highly readable work of up to the minute NY trans consciousness with tremendous insight into the modern bourgeois trans woman's POV. Sophisticated and in-the-know (references range from Werner Herzog to Riis beach) - reminds me of Zaina Arafat's novel YOU EXIST TOO MUCH - also by an author with an MFA from Iowa, also bridging the boundaries of an under represented community and Chick-Lit. The plot is the only kind of blah thing about it ( ...more
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Torrey Peters is the author of the novel Detransition, Baby, published by One World/Random House, which was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. She is also the authors of the novellas Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones and The Masker. She has an MFA from the University of Iowa and a Masters in Comparative Literature from Dartmouth. Torrey rides a pink motorcycle and splits her time betwe ...more

Articles featuring this book

  Mateo Askaripour is a Brooklyn-based writer whose first novel, Black Buck—which Colson Whitehead calls a “mesmerizing novel, executing a...
83 likes · 33 comments
“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.” 24 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.” 17 likes
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