Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite

Young Adult - Action
244 Pages
Reviewed on 08/14/2014
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Gary Stout for Readers' Favorite

So many adjectives come to mind while reading Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite by Lianne Simon. Yet when you speak them aloud, they all seem so inadequate. Poetic, cautionary, bittersweet, eloquent, and even tearjerker just don’t accurately convey the essence of the story. Yet, it is a cautionary tale, a serious one about the weight of societal expectations with little regard for the individual. Ms. Simon has very competently woven a wonderful tale around a not often discussed subject - anatomical genetic cross wiring.

However, Confessions isn’t a dry medical thesis. Indeed, it is far from it. Confessions is a coming of age tale of a youth with special issues journeying through society’s definition of what defines a girl and what defines a boy, yet with little idea of what makes up a unique individual. With a bewildered mind full of conflict, Jameson/Jamie struggles to conform to parental aspirations while agonizing over what the inner soul sees juxtaposed with what the outer framework exhibits. Adolescence is seldom easy, but with a medical condition that mismatched a few anatomical parts, it becomes far more difficult and emotional. Confessions of a Teenage Hermaphrodite depicts society's resistance to accepting differences; a society that relies more on which gender box is checked on the birth certificate rather than what the person’s genetic makeup determines. Confessions may also expose the darker side of familial dysfunction by showing how love might depend on blind adherence to accepted definitions of normal. Even so, the book is always very touching, and the reader will likely give the protagonist a piece of his or her own heart, always encouraging her to persevere.

I recommend this book to all families and friends who know someone a little different. See what it might be like to live within another person’s body, a person struggling to fit in while nature has given him or her a very different recipe for life. I shall long remember the little elfin princess who yearns to become a real girl. Well done, Ms. Simon.