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As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised…

As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl (P.S.) (edition 2006)

by John Colapinto

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Title:As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl (P.S.)
Authors:John Colapinto
Info:Harper Perennial (2006), Edition: 2, Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:To read

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As Nature Made Him by John Colapinto

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    My Lobotomy by Howard Dully (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For adults searching to understand what was done to them as a child.

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True story. Infuriating, inspiring, eye-opening. If you think you know a little about psychology, you should read this. ( )
  J9Plourde | Jun 13, 2017 |
Following on from Genie, this book explores another case which featured prominently in my A level Psychology textbook. It’s one of the most famous stories in the canon, a case which has been used on both sides of the nature-nurture debate, and one which does more than any other to prompt outrage at the medical establishment. It tells the tale of twin baby boys, born in Winnipeg in 1967 and admitted at eight months old for circumcision. When error, either mechanical or human, caused catastrophic burns to the penis of the elder twin, doctors advised that the only option was to castrate the child and raise him as a girl. His distraught parents followed this advice. This is the story of David Reimer: a story of dizzying medical hubris and humbling resilience, made deeply poignant by a tragic coda which postdated the publication of this study...

For the full review, please see my blog:
https://theidlewoman.net/2017/03/18/as-nature-made-him-john-colapinto/ ( )
  TheIdleWoman | Jun 3, 2017 |
If this book doesn't make you angry at what this family - and most importantly that boy forced to live as a girl - went through, you didn't read it right. A startling effective account of a true story that should not be forgotten. ( )
  SarahHayes | Feb 20, 2017 |
I couldn't finish it. It wasn't that the subject wasn't facinating, or that it was poorly written - it was just too sad. I hated that this happened to this sweet child to begin with, but the horrible actions of Dr. Money, using this child as an experiment, and skewing results to reflect his theory just made me so angry! I am a lover of science, and what the doctor did was just evil.
  Laura_Drake | Aug 19, 2016 |
'As Nature Made Him' is the horrifying true story of David Reimer, who lost his penis as an infant after a botched circumcision. His parents, only under-educated teenagers at the time, believed in the expertise of John Money at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Money told them the best course was to castrate the baby and raise him as a girl, that nurture was more important than nature; gender could be changed with willpower, surgery and hormone treatments. The book recounts Brenda's lonely, mixed-up childhood and the devastating effect it had on the entire family. I was filled with rage at Dr. Money, who only wanted to promote his theories and stroke his own ego, no matter what the cost to patients or their families. This book is doubly devastating after hearing the news that David Reimer (formerly Brenda) had killed himself in May, 2004 at the age of 38 ( )
  memccauley6 | May 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
As John Colapinto makes achingly clear in this riveting, cleanly written and brilliantly researched account of a world-famous case, Money's effort to prove the plasticity of human sexual identity by transforming Bruce into Brenda was a cataclysmic failure.
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I have entered on an enterprise which is without precedent, and will have no imitator. I propose to show my fellows a man as nature made him, and this man shall be myself.

--Rousseau Confessions
How could I not be glad to know my birth?

Sophocles, Oedipus Rex
The difficulty is to detach the framework of fact -- of absolute, undeniable fact -- from the embellishments of theorists and reporters. Then, having established ourselves on this sound basis, it is our duty to see what inferences may be drawn and what are the special points upon which the memory turns.

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
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On the morning of 27 June, 1997 I paid my first visit to David Reimer's home, a small, nondescript dwelling in a working-class neighborhood of Winnepeg, Manitoba.
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Book description
Eight–month old David Reimer, an identical twin, had his penis accidentally amputated during a botched circumcison attempt in Winnipeg, Canada. At the direction of the famous psychiatrist Dr. John Money of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, this child’s parents were directed to re-assign David’s sex to a girl and given the suggestion to later make available to him vaginal surgery and hormone treatments to grow breasts. This experiment did not go as planned, but Dr. Money continued to defend his position and influence others in psychiatry to go along with his mistaken ideas about nature versus nurture. At age 14, “Brenda” Reiner decided to once again become a boy.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060929596, Paperback)

Once you begin reading As Nature Made Him, a mesmerizing story of a medical tragedy and its traumatic results, you absolutely won't want to put it down. Following a botched circumcision, a family is convinced to raise their infant son, Bruce, as a girl. They rename the child Brenda and spend the next 14 years trying to transform him into a her. Brenda's childhood reads as one filled with anxiety and loneliness, and her fear and confusion are present on nearly every page concerning her early childhood. Much of her pain is caused by Dr. Money, who is presented as a villainous medical man attempting to coerce an unwilling child to submit to numerous unpleasant treatments.

Reading over interviews and reports of decisions made by this doctor, it's difficult to contain anger at the widespread results of his insistence that natural-born gender can be altered with little more than willpower and hormone treatments. The attempts of his parents, twin brother, and extended family to assist Brenda to be happily female are touching--the sense is overwhelmingly of a family wanting to do "right" while being terribly mislead as to what "right" is for her. As Brenda makes the decision to live life as a male (at age 14), she takes the name David and begins the process of reversing the effects of estrogen treatments. David's ultimately successful life--a solid marriage, honest and close family relationships, and his bravery in making his childhood public--bring an uplifting end to his story. Equally fascinating is the latest segment of the longtime nature/nurture controversy, and the interviews of various psychological researchers and practitioners form a larger framework around David's struggle to live as the gender he was meant to be. --Jill Lightner

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:57 -0400)

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The true story of a family who spends 14 years trying to raise their son as a girl after his botched circumcision.

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