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Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite by…

Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite

by Lianne Simon

Other authors: Amy B. Wisniewski (Foreword)

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From its deliberately provocative title, to its unusual narrative style, to its heavy layering of religious themes, to its reliance upon deception and coincidence, this was a book I was prepared not to like. The term hermaphrodite itself seemed like a slap in the face, especially since any hope of finding a mythological theme to serve as a justification for the term was erased the moment Jamie’s boyfriend invited her study the Bible with him.

The problem was, by that point I had already fallen in love with Jamie, and I wanted to see her safely through the story. I felt the need to protect her, to embrace her, and to support her through to the end. Sure, she’s a little too perfect, a little too innocent for a college student experiencing her first taste of freedom, but she absolutely compels the reader’s sympathy. And, as jarring as her narrative leaps between genders can be, they create a fairy-tale kind of magic that is undeniably attractive.

So, I persevered for Jamie’s sake, continuing to follow her on this difficult journey to womanhood. I can’t say that I ever became comfortable with the religious themes, but I did come to appreciate them in a way I had not expected. As we progress through the story, we learn that it’s the love of family that is holding Jamie back, and the love of the Church that empowers her to move forward. Without the spiritual acceptance of those around her, and her involvement with the Church orphanage, Jamie would likely never have found the courage to claim the gender that was rightfully hers all along.

What bothered me instead was how so many friends and family seemed to take it upon themselves to force their help upon Jamie, often in rather deceptive ways. It can be argued that the end justifies the means, but in a book that has such a spiritual core, those deceptions are even more pronounced. Jamie may not be manipulated in the way that we expect, or by whom we expect, but the manipulation is still there, and still makes your skin crawl when you really think about it.

On a positive note, the book does a fantastic job of detailing the variety of intersex conditions, the challenges they represent, and the different ways in which people come to deal with their situations. I was delighted by how much I learned from the story, enough that I was willing to forgive the idea that so many intersex individuals might so naturally converge on one small college town.

In the end, this is a rather nostalgic read, full of old-fashioned values and progressive ideals. The writing is strong, the characters are likeable, and you cannot escape becoming emotionally attached to Jamie. Despite the details that bothered me, I quite enjoyed the read, and was rather delighted by the way in which everything came together in the end.

Originally reviewed for Frock Magazine ( )
  bibrarybookslut | Jul 5, 2017 |
This review has been crossposted from my blog at The Cosy Dragon . Please head there for more in-depth reviews by me, which appear on a timely schedule.

This novel attempts to explain some background for blood splatter interpretations and the majority of the text is made up by anecdotes. There is also some very interesting background information about the author's youth, and his career progression.

This book is not in my usual genre, my partner recieved it as a Christmas gift at a family Boxing Day party, and I snaffled it ot read so I wouldn't have to do any awkward conversation. I was pleasantly surprised and found myself not wanting to put it down - I finished it in a day.

For me, each of the human interest stories which were logically set out were great. It's like crime short stories for me - yay, no waiting to find out who did it! I'm not patient enough to read a real 'crime' novel.

I didn't really appreciate the images of blood splatter that my partner will probably find the most interesting pages out of the whole book. The case studies were way more interesting - I guess it just reflects that I'm more of a fiction reader than a non-fiction one.

I did have one squeamish moment, but funnily enough it wasn't about the blood, it was a mention of someone's toenails being ripped off. Ouch! I feel kinda squeamish right now just thinking about it.

The author of this memoir is passionate about his topic and it shows throughout the text. His cowriter/editor combination pulls things into fascinating detail, and makes the whole lot work. I only wish that I can find something that I am so passionate about when it's time for me to enter the workforce proper.

I'm totally going to give this book 4 stars. I probably won't reread it, but I did find myself enjoying a genre that I don't usually read, and that makes a huge difference. Maybe there is hope for crime after all! ( )
  Rosemarie.Herbert | Feb 26, 2013 |
I got this book from the author in exchange for a review on the book.

First of I have to say I was so excited to get a copy of this book and the author has been wonderful!

This book was about a child named Jameson or Jamie who was born a hermaphrodite. A conditon where he was born with one testis and one ovary. Her parents forced her to be become a boy and act like a boy when she really was a girl and felt like a girl..

This book deals with the struggle of identity for Jamie and for the acceptance of her parents. Out in public Jamie would become "Jameson" but at home and around her cousin she could truely by Jamie.

It is a very sad book to read about the struggle and the fight she went through with her classmates, her family, and having to pick happiness for herslef or aceptance with her family.

I loved every minute of this book and was not a disappointment at all.
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  sareiner | Feb 12, 2013 |
When Lianne Simon asked me to review her book, Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite, I was having second thoughts about accepting it. I mean, the book was intriguing but I was unsure if I can handle its story. Luckily, my curious side won and I'm glad I accepted this book.

Jamie was almost like every other teenager, the only difference is that she was born between the sexes and in her case, she has a testis and an ovary. She was supposed to be raised a female, but due to her father's insistence, she was living her life as a boy.

I can't help but feel sorry for Jamie because all her life she's pretending to be someone she's not. She lives in so much confusion that she doesn't know who she really is and what she's meant to be. She's pretending not because she wanted to, it's because she needed to, so that she won't disappoint her father. The expectations from her parents really weigh her down.

I feel really frustrated at how the society treated her. The discrimination and misjudgment of other people towards her gender issues results in her inferiority. And you know what I realized about this? People with this kind of condition is not different from us. Yes, they may have gender issues and physical abnormalities, but what they are experiencing is just the same as ours.

We sometimes pretend to be someone were not, just so other people could accept us. We, also, encounter discrimination and misjudgment at some point in our lives. We, also, experienced pressure from our parents and friends. We all experienced the happiness of loving and the pain of losing someone. We all laugh and we all cried. And this book showed that we may be different physically but we are all equal in God's eyes.

Everyone can relate to this story, whether they're straight or gay or born between sexes. A really enjoyable read. ( )
  erleen | Nov 10, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lianne Simonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Wisniewski, Amy B.Forewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0985148209, Paperback)

From the heart of an intersex teen, one who must ultimately choose male or female--family or true love--comes the story of a deeply emotional and perilous journey home. This is a young adult novel unlike any other--an authentic portrayal of the issues faced by a child growing up with a sexually ambiguous body.

Jameson can be like other boys after minor surgery and a few years on testosterone Well, at least that's what his parents always say. But Jamie sees an elfin princess in the mirror, and male hormones would only ruin her pretty face. For him to become the man his parents expect, Jameson must leave behind the hopes and dreams of a little girl. But what is so wrong with Jamie's dreams that they can't be her life?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:37 -0400)

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