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For Today I Am a Boy
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message 1: by Alexa (new) - added it

Alexa (AlexaNC) July's fiction selection is For Today I Am a Boy by Kim Fu. This looks really good! Who is planning on reading this with us this month?

message 2: by Alexa (new) - added it

Alexa (AlexaNC) I've got this on order at the library; anybody else?

message 3: by El (new) - rated it 3 stars

El | 756 comments Mod
Picked up my library copy yesterday! Looking forward to this.

Ashwise | 11 comments my book came today through the digital library. so far so good!

Taylor (seffietay) I read this a while ago, I'll have to check my notes!

Candace | 35 comments Just finished it! Flew through it in less than a day, too. Easy read, in the sense that it isn't dense and you want to find out what happens next. I read several reviews of the book on goodreads (which I always try to leave for AFTER I finish a book) and as usual I disagreed with what many were saying. I thought Kim Fu did a fantastic job of helping readers into Peter's mind before he becomes Audrey. Peter did not have a curriculum of gender studies theory to fall back on when trying to come to terms with his discomfort he feels in his body but also wanting to make his father proud. What got me was how Peter could not even call his penis anything but "that thing." Performing the act of penetration with a woman was incomprehensible and the act of rape which led to the definitive end of his relationship with Margie illustrated that for readers. I believe we saw this in Stone Butch Blues, as well; the main character had no desire to perform the sex act that traditionally accompanies the sex organs that they have, they would prefer to find ways of the gender that they desire to be.

The ending was a bit too abrupt and choppy even for me, and this is not a complaint I usually have. I can understand Audrey's desire to join her sisters at last and eschew joining the LGBT movement (not everyone is willing to fight the fight), but I thought we could have had a little more internal dialogue from Peter right before he became Audrey.

Ashwise | 11 comments I finished it this morning and liked it.I liked how the novel explores how the character tries to transition while chafing under their oppressive father.

message 8: by El (new) - rated it 3 stars

El | 756 comments Mod
I just finished reading this over my lunch break at work. I also enjoyed it, but am working out my thoughts for a formal review.

Like Candace, I feel the ending was a bit abrupt. I am glad Audrey managed to return to her sisters, the way she was always meant to be. I was interested in the sisters, especially. How they viewed Peter/Audrey. It seems Adele was the first to really embrace the possibility that even Peter hadn't come to terms with (when he was very young), but Bonnie and Helen... I feel they were accepting and understanding, but it was a lot more subtle and uncertain (from the readers' viewpoint) than Adele. I also wanted to know more about the sisters, and while Fu gave us an insight into each of their worlds after they left home, I was left wanting more. All in all, though, the family relationship was really powerful to read. Heartbreaking, too.

I had difficulty with the passage of time throughout the book, though. It felt like it was all happening quickly, but then Peter would talk about being bald from losing his hair, and a comment he made to John later in the book about having his first job when John was in kindergarten (or something along those line), and I was constantly surprised and trying to gauge where we were in the timeline. A lot of what happened outside of Peter/Audrey's life happened very quickly and suddenly which made the book at times feel disjointed.

I'm leaning towards a 4-star rating for this one as well. I am glad we read this. I may not have picked it up on my own, but was glad to see it was chosen for a group read and that my library had a copy. :)

I've been sort of MIA in the past month or so, and I haven't gotten as much reading done lately. This is depressing me, so I hope I can get my head out of my ass soon and get back into our group reads and some of my other planned reads. I hope everyone is doing well in the meantime!

Anita (anitafajitapitareada) I finished last night and I really liked it. Reading from the perspective of Chinese emigrant in Canada was really... fun(?) for me.

I could really empathize with both the mother and father, where one wanted to wash away their culture and managed to smother his wife, who wanted to retain it, by using his status as patriarch that their culture gave him.

I liked the calm and simple writing style that just kind of went on with the story and was really the foundation of Peter's personality. It seemed as though he didn't battle with his image so much as know that he wanted to be something that he wasn't. It could have been more elaborate, but it stayed true to his character, I think.

message 10: by Alexa (new) - added it

Alexa (AlexaNC) In my quick glance, out of the corner of my eye, at your reviews, I had gotten the impression that this would be a light quick read. And on the cover it is indeed described at being "darkly funny." So I picked this up last night, thinking it would be a nice light counterpoint to the weight of The Second Sex. You know, some lighter late-night reading. Well I quickly realized I just couldn't handle this much emotional pain that late at night! So much denial of self going on in here. This is agonizing! And mind you, I only got to page 9! This one is going to need full daylight. Whether or not I'll be able to read it in conjunction with The Second Sex remains to be seen!

message 11: by Alexa (new) - added it

Alexa (AlexaNC) This is really a beautifully written book! It is so powerfully evocative that the oppressive atmosphere it describes just weighs me down. So depressing! It's quite an achievement, to be both beautiful and depressing, simultaneously.

message 12: by Alexa (new) - added it

Alexa (AlexaNC) I finally finished this. I thought it was gloriously beautiful. While I was reading it I just wanted to gobble up her prose - it just sparked something within me like poetry sometimes does. Yet the pain, the oppression of that family, Peter's unwillingness/inability to understand himself and his options. Yikes! Peter was in a fog of self-denial, he was just barely coping with the world, and I think that is reflected in the foggy way we see time pass and see what his family members are doing. I don't see this as Audrey's story at all, this is Audrey's prologue, and I'll bet Audrey is a completely different person! This is a story of pain, of oppression, of self-denial and bowing under that oppression. As soon as Peter throws off the yoke the story is over! Of course we all want the happy ending, but I can't help feeling that any more details would have been cheating, would have been dismissive of the agony this book is chronicling.

Candace | 35 comments Alexa wrote: "I finally finished this. I thought it was gloriously beautiful. While I was reading it I just wanted to gobble up her prose - it just sparked something within me like poetry sometimes does. Yet the..."

I love how you put that! "Peter was in a fog of self-denial...and I think that is reflected in the foggy way we see time pass and see what his family members are doing....this is Audrey's prologue."


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