Lori Duron and her family have a gender-nonconforming son, C.J. and this book is their story. If you have followed Duron’s blog, then this book is a good accompaniment. In simple terms, C.J. likes to play with girl toys and wear girl clothes and the family catches flack for that.
I enjoyed this book for Duron’s blunt, and often humorous, telling of how life is when you love and support a gender-nonconforming child. I enjoy her blog a little bit more but that simply is because it is an ongoing work and there is more detail. She shares the good and the bad, showing how family, friends, neighbors, and strangers react to not only her son C.J. but also to the entire family.
Duron also delves into the what few scientific studies have been done in this area. There wasn’t much to draw on and I think better science and understanding will come about as the stigma towards homosexuality is lifted in our society. I especially like that she explains the spectrum of sexuality. However, I do have one quibble and it is about relying too heavily on the few scientific studies. She cites one study that says that a young boy that prefers girl clothes and girl toys will most likely grow up to be gay. But what about girls who prefer to wear jeans and play with block and robots and fire trucks? Does that mean they will grow up to be lesbian? That wasn’t really addresses and my point is that our society has been way more supportive of females wearing pants (male clothes) and playing with boy toys for decades than the opposite. So, I think we need time and a larger number of kids being allowed to dress as they like and play with the toys they like before we can say such a definitive thing. I didn’t like that the author didn’t question this theory as I think it is an interesting question to explore.
The book doesn’t shy away from addressing peoples’ ideas of normal and outright biases. Even family members had to do some internal questioning and decide if they were going to be supportive or not. I really liked that the author did not gloss over what people said and did, both good and bad. This book is an excellent resource for folks who have a gender-nonconforming kid in the family and can be an eye opener for folks in general.
The Narration: Lori Duron did a good job of narrating. After all, this is her life and family and I am glad the publisher went with her voice. The emotions come through clearly without being overbearing.