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Super late bloomer by Julia Kaye

Super late bloomer

by Julia Kaye

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Let's be clear, I'm not transgender. I'm not young like the author. Neither have I ever been attractive like the author was before her transition and is now. More to the point, I tend to approach life from primarily two perspectives. The first comes from Andrew Carnegie, who supposedly (I can't confirm this) told his daughter, "Life will be so much easier for you once you realize life is hard." In my view, if you anticipate what might be hard, you can take steps, sometimes lots of steps, to lessen or eliminate that bit of harshness altogether. The second, and more dominant one comes from e.e. cummings (who Volvo decided to butcher recently in its car ad), "To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else - means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting." This book is a cartoon diary of the author's personal period of gender transition. It is full of emotional ups and downs. It's full of deep concerns about personal beauty and what others think of her. It's also full of obstacles that could have been anticipated, especially with the help of a decent gender transition counselor, who even the author admits at one point had not been doing their job well. Thus, as a reader of this book, my worrying about people no longer thinking I'm beautiful is not a factor for me, given "no longer" not being part of my equation. If I woke up tomorrow morning and found myself a different sex, I can't think of anything I would do differently beyond maybe a few personal hygiene matters. Nor would I ever tackle something so personally monumental as a gender change without preparing for all its obstacles. I'm old, so people half my age having their eyes glaze over when they found they were stuck having to interview me for a job is ancient history, and I don't depend on pleasing others to maintain my livelihood, so I don't have to act like a person I have never been and will never be. And yet, two-thirds through this book, I finally noticed that the library had categorized this volume as "Young Adult", meaning it was aimed straight at the totally insecure population at its peak of insecurity. So, sure, let someone who is already deeply insecure read about someone deeply insecure working through her insecurities. That makes sense. Personally, I think the recent movie, Eighth Grade, does a far superior job at presenting this, but, if the point of the book is about specifically working through gender transition, surely this can only be a regarded as a rather superficial starting point of thinking about it, both for the potential transitioners and the persons surrounding them. In the meantime, I salute anybody fighting "the hardest battle which any human being can fight" in being nobody but themselves. ( )
  larryerick | Mar 18, 2019 |
Take keen insight into the emotional rollercoaster of gender transition, mix with humor and grace, and you have a pretty amazing book. ( )
  villemezbrown | Jan 22, 2019 |
Julia Kaye's first-hand and ultra personal account of transitioning from male to female --all in comic book format. Interesting if a tad-too-self-absorbed for this straight female reader. (she's obsessed with makeup and her appearance...! But then, she's not writing for me. The simple cartoon drawings belie the hormonal, social, and cultural changes she faces. The book is certain to speak to those undergoing a sex change. ( )
  mjspear | Dec 17, 2018 |
aaaaaaaaaaaaaah this is sooooo goooood

if u ever want to kno what its like for a relatively privileged trans woman to begin transitioning in her mid 20s, just read this--it is a stunningly true and evocative day-by-day narrative spanning six tumultuous, eventful months in the world-shattering journey that is a trans person's early transition

the "letter to my younger self" at the end is especially poignant (i criiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiied)

whats most amazing is the totally unself-conscious construction of the book; each daily comic was made on the day and without any kind of plan for future days; u get a panorama that feels as jumbled and confused and unexpected as the lived rhythms of daily life;

the narrative that emerges is a testament to the interplay of difference and repetition: even as transitioning results in difference, it is in no way unitary or monotonic. pain, hurt, suffering, and joy, love, acceptance appear again and again, in the most unexpected places and ways. but still, there is difference, and you have moved forward. ( )
  alexanme | Dec 9, 2018 |
Lovely and heartfelt.

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC through NetGalley. Trigger warning for transphobia.)

Growing up, artist Julia Kaye didn't know she was trans. While she felt a certain, low-level sense of discomfort with her own body, it wasn't until she was twenty-four - when she stumbled upon a website where users documented their transitions - that she identified the source of her gender dysphoria. And it would take another two years before she was comfortable enough to come out to her friends and family and begin her transition. A near-daily diary in graphic novel format, Super Late Bloomer documents the first six months of her transition, from May through October of 2016.

Super Late Bloomer very much feels like the fabulously queer cousin of a Sarah's Scribbles collection. The visual style is similar (princess eyes and puddle of flesh = pure joy!), yet still its own; and Kaye's social awkwardness and anxiety feels familiar to me, even if the source is something that I can only try to understand. Kaye documents the tiny triumphs and devastations that marked her path along the way.

The bad: misgendering; being outed by well-meaning but clueless family members; post-laser stubble; friends who suddenly make themselves scarce.


The good: being complimented by other women; finding a dress that fits; accepting parents; looking in the mirror and seeing your true self stare back.


At turns funny, sarcastic, and bittersweet, Super Late Bloomer is essential reading for humans in this word.

http://www.easyvegan.info/2018/05/04/super-late-bloomer-by-julia-kaye/ ( )
  smiteme | Mar 9, 2018 |
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May 7th, 2016
I used to be better at ignoring my internal self-hatred.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A highly personal collection documenting the early months of artist Julia Kaye's gender transition. Instead of a traditional written diary, Julia Kaye has always turned to art as a means of self-reflection. So when she began her gender transition in 2016, she decided to use her popular webcomic, Up and Out, to process her journey and help others with similar struggles realize they weren't alone. Julia's poignant, relatable comics honestly depict her personal ups and downs while dealing with the various issues involved in transitioning-- from struggling with self-acceptance and challenging societal expectations, to moments of self-love and joy. Super Late Bloomer both educates and inspires, as Julia faces her difficulties head-on and commits to being wholly, authentically who she was always meant to be.… (more)

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