Customer Reviews for

As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

A life history that is so similar to my own.

I was born with ambiguous genitalia and Mosaic Turners Syndrome, so I have a slightly different perspective than most of the other reviewers here. I too was assigned a sex that did not fit who I am, and I was born to be. I later as an adult changed my sex to heal ...
I was born with ambiguous genitalia and Mosaic Turners Syndrome, so I have a slightly different perspective than most of the other reviewers here. I too was assigned a sex that did not fit who I am, and I was born to be. I later as an adult changed my sex to heal that discrepancy imposed upon me. Genetically I am not clearly either male or female, and biologically I am neither a man or a woman, but my gender identity is clearly female, and has always been, despite the best efforts of my parents and the many medical consultants involved, to make me into a boy beginning at age three in 1955. John Colapinto's stunning book documents a life history that is so similar to my own, that I put off reading it until very recently. I had feared it would open up old wounds. I was surprised to discover that instead of what I feared might happen, I was deeply comforted to know that what I endured was not unique. My feelings during the abuse I suffered as a child are more than similar to David's, and the way David's ordeal affected his family closely parallels the way my family was affected. There are many whose gender politic, and social constructionist ideology, wont allow them to accept the facts of common sense this book makes clear. I desperately hope that the scientific data gleaned from the life experience of so many of us, who have endured what David has, .....all of our anguish and our collective agony, .....will not be disvalued by the medical community, the public, and those who still cling to the false belief that gender identity, sexual identity, gender and sexual orientation are cultural constructs, the mere result of nurture. .....I can tell you from personal experience of blood and torment, ..... that they are not.

posted by Anonymous on January 8, 2001

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Pure evil intentions

What Dr Money did to this family was just plain evil. As a Dr. not even sure of his own sexuality he sure did dish out his unprecedented opinion on David. tragic the loss of life here and the loss of family and all at the hands of a megalomaniac that still wouldnt admit...
What Dr Money did to this family was just plain evil. As a Dr. not even sure of his own sexuality he sure did dish out his unprecedented opinion on David. tragic the loss of life here and the loss of family and all at the hands of a megalomaniac that still wouldnt admit he was wrong. This is a great book made me very introspective and sad at atimes. Im glad it was written and written so wonderfully.

posted by Anonymous on December 6, 2005

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2001

    A life history that is so similar to my own.

    I was born with ambiguous genitalia and Mosaic Turners Syndrome, so I have a slightly different perspective than most of the other reviewers here. I too was assigned a sex that did not fit who I am, and I was born to be. I later as an adult changed my sex to heal that discrepancy imposed upon me. Genetically I am not clearly either male or female, and biologically I am neither a man or a woman, but my gender identity is clearly female, and has always been, despite the best efforts of my parents and the many medical consultants involved, to make me into a boy beginning at age three in 1955. John Colapinto's stunning book documents a life history that is so similar to my own, that I put off reading it until very recently. I had feared it would open up old wounds. I was surprised to discover that instead of what I feared might happen, I was deeply comforted to know that what I endured was not unique. My feelings during the abuse I suffered as a child are more than similar to David's, and the way David's ordeal affected his family closely parallels the way my family was affected. There are many whose gender politic, and social constructionist ideology, wont allow them to accept the facts of common sense this book makes clear. I desperately hope that the scientific data gleaned from the life experience of so many of us, who have endured what David has, .....all of our anguish and our collective agony, .....will not be disvalued by the medical community, the public, and those who still cling to the false belief that gender identity, sexual identity, gender and sexual orientation are cultural constructs, the mere result of nurture. .....I can tell you from personal experience of blood and torment, ..... that they are not.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2000

    we can all identify with this book

    I read this book whilst on vacation in Canada a few weeks. I was visiting from the UK and was intrigued by this book which I picked up in a branch of Indigo in Toronto. I had visited St. Jacob and encountered the Mennonite society. The parents having come from such a religious upbringing must have found the issues of sexuality and rejection,profoundly difficult to face. their love for each other was evident despite the randomness of the wife's infidelity. This is a book of courage and strength beyond the human spirit. Granted we may not have encountered anything so traumatic but we must realise the randomness of the 'act of nature.' We all sympathise with cancer and it's ruthlessness, yet taboo and social awkwardness mean this couple must have felt so isolated and without any network of support. The scientific implications were fascinating, but the supposed psycho-therapy offered to the children boils down to mental, emotional and sexual abuse. We need to accept children for who they are, not despair of girls climbing trees and cutting their knees; boys playing with Barbie's. Children need to experiment and explore and discover. We need to read this book and at least try to empathise, this could happen to anyone.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2005

    Pure evil intentions

    What Dr Money did to this family was just plain evil. As a Dr. not even sure of his own sexuality he sure did dish out his unprecedented opinion on David. tragic the loss of life here and the loss of family and all at the hands of a megalomaniac that still wouldnt admit he was wrong. This is a great book made me very introspective and sad at atimes. Im glad it was written and written so wonderfully.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 29, 2012

    Captivating, Eye-Opening, Disturbing, Fantastic

    I was so very, very affected by this one that I wanted to share it with you.

    As Nature Made Him follows the true story of a boy who, after a circumcision accident, underwent a sex reassignment surgery and was consequently raised as a girl. That thought alone is pretty horrifying to me- to have society force you to be the opposite gender role than what you brain and chromosomes are wired to be- but the author does an excellent job of setting context. This was the 60's and 70s', when the Nature vs Nurture debate was huge. The concept of transsexual, or gender identity, or even expanded gender roles, was not a common thought among the populace.

    This book is approachable, which is an achievement when you consider how many scientists and researchers had a hand in the true history of this child-turned-case-study. It's also deeply disturbing, when you consider the moral implications of the actions taken, especially repugnant for the self-righteousness of many of those involved...then as well as now. And chillingly, I can see this happening today.

    I was not well-versed in the issues facing intersex folk, and only just expanding my horizons in terms of gender identity and transsexuals (the issues facing them, not the existence of them). As a fairly typical young American woman, I assume this means most folks have the general blindness to these complex concerns that I had. That's one of the reasons I strongly recommend this book.

    The other reason is that it's a horizon-opening question about what makes us female, male, and bits of both. It's a question everyone should consider, whether or not you identify strongly with a gender type. This is a relatively quick read, because it's so engaging, but it can be at times disturbing as well (not graphic, at all, though). Check it out- it's worth the read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2007

    A great tale

    This book tells the fascinating, horrible, and ultimately brave tale of David Reimer. A wonderful book for anyone interested in gender, psychology, or what it means to be human.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2006

    My Thoughts and Opinions

    The book As Nature Made Him is a compelling story about a boy at a very young age undergoing an operation that would change his world do to a misshape that had happened while in surgery to help ¿correct¿ an infection caused when he was little. I had to choose a non-fiction book to read for my 12th grade English class, when looking through a bunch of other non-fictions books I could have easily read this one stuck out to me. It is a very intriguing topic. It is hard to imagine what any of this would be like for him, his family, his parents, anyone. It seemed to be that for the doctors though it was a load of success, which it is all up to human beans to determine what gender we are, which I couldn¿t disagree with more. The book was very useful in information and background on everything. I would recommend this book to many people. It is very, very interesting it is riveting. This book was a very well written piece of literature. Overall I enjoyed As Nature Made Him.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2001

    Very Interesting Book!

    This is a great read. . . I don't know why more people have not read it. It is the sad story of a very ordinary family and what could have happened to anyone's child. I found it very interesting and read it quite quickly.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2001

    A Compelling Expose of The National Psychobabble Disgrace!

    It's high time a book like this came out on the market: one that reveals the long-term effects of perilously bad 'therapy' as practiced on helpless children. The fact that the psychiatrist in question in this book was making the twins strip naked and play sex-role games behind the (conveniently for the 'doctor') closed door of his office when they were SIX YEARS OLD is just plain sick, ridiculous and disgusting! Yet it is also quite common among the so-called psychological 'experts' to put a sexual spin on absolutely EVERY facet of life, even a child's life, even the lives of children who are far too young to be thinking of sex. This book should serve as a cautionary tale for any parent who thinks it's 'okay' to hand their parental power and their child over to a so-called 'expert' and let the child be 'treated' by mindless - and scientifically unproven - psychological theories, not to mention the sort of people who gravitate to them and become practicioners of them. Think about it for a moment: what kind of person needs to pick children's minds, hearts and souls APART by using unproven theories as a CAREER CHOICE? That David remained sane at all is a miracle and a testament to what a wonderful human being David obviously is, because the shrink he was dragged to basically raped the poor little child's mind, and not once, but over and over and over. I wish all the best in all the world to David...and I also wish that some legislation could be enacted to prevent shrinks like the one who abused David from imposing their repugnant views on any more children!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2001

    An incredible story about self-determination

    This story made me angry that ONE person in the medical community could have that much control and power over a situtation like this. I also found it scary that medical decisions like this are made, seemingly, without regard to what is really better for the patient in the long run. These parents didn't seem to have much choice in the matter with an overpowering, 'God-like' doctor in the picture. I hope this family is able to get over all the mistakes that were made to live happy and redeeming lives. I also think that any kind of life-altering decisions need at least 3 opinions to decide what is really best.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2001

    Amazing:Sarah 17

    This story is just simply amazing.A must read book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2000

    Very humbling and very heartwarming.

    Yes, this particular story is full of medical and technical wording. But it is also written from a very sensitive point of view. I feel the psychology and research background as well as the difficult-to-understand terminology is needed to convey the full impact of this young man's experience. Without it, I feel the strength of the story would be lost. This young man has shown not only the resilient strength of the human spirit, but courage and the in-born sense of what's right and what's wrong. If only we as adults have the same courage and insight to listen to the little children. I wish only happiness, peace and love for this family.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2000

    sensational and interesting book

    Oh the pain this poor boy was put through! And what a fascinating story! The subject matter of this book reminded me of something like 'Very Special People' or some other flashy, barely believable tale.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2000

    Interesting and very sad

    I have spent the last 3 nights reading until my eyes begin to cross. I have not wanted to put this book down. I cannot believe what 'Brenda' was put through just for a doctor to make headlines. I have not finished it yet...I would stay up and finish it, but I do have to come to work. I am going to loan my book to everyone I know with a remote interest. To me, the research done is a piece of evidence that homosexuality is linked more with biology than with the way a person is raised. It is a great book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2000

    A Cautionary Tale of Science Poorly Practiced

    As Nature Made Him reminds us of the, at best, provisional nature of scientific knowledge when science is well practiced, and of the horrible consequences of science practiced poorly. The tale also demonstrates the unimaginable damage done to society and individuals by just one charismatically persuasive, self-serving individual. Yet at the same time, Colapinto¿s book is also the very human story of one person¿s ability to overcome adversity. The book itself is well written. The story flows smoothly, in spite of the requisite explanations of technical procedures, esoteric theories and complicated medical issues. Sidestepping what could easily have been sensationalized, the writer shares the sometimes ugly facts with an economy of words and objectivity.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2000

    Erin Holmes read this book.

    I am 17, and had to read a nonfiction book for contemporary literture in school. I picked As Nature Made Him because the story of a baby boy raised as a girl fascinated me. Many parts of the book were really interested, but overall I thought the book had to much information on the technical mumbo-jumbo, and not enough information on 'David'.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 29, 2000

    As a 12 year olds point of view.

    This book was amazing! I haven't finished it yet but so far I love it. I had chosen it for a biography project for school, when I had seen the story summerized on Extra. Then when I got it, I could never put it down. This book it actually great for all ages. And I'm glad for the life that I am living now that I am one sex and not both. I feel his pain and I think he has alot of courage.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2000

    A Must Read For Everyone in the Psychology Field

    My heart goes out to the young man who suffered so horribly because of one doctor's ego. If that man didn't have all the titles after his name he would have been arrested and convicted of unspeakable crimes against a child. He still should be. That David survived and has become the man he was destined to be can only be described as a miracle. God Bless him and his family. Ann Holland

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2000

    I could not put it down!!!

    I stayed up until 3:00AM reading this book, I couldn't put it down. For me the most disturbing part of the story is how the doctors (one in particular) continued to report that all was well and that the child was a happy, well adjusted little girl long after it became apparent (especially to the child's school teachers) that things were not going well at all. What a shame no one had the guts to stand up and speak the truth for so long!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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