What Becomes You

( 1 )

Overview


“Being a man, like being a woman, is something you have to learn,” Aaron Raz Link remarks. Few would know this better than the coauthor of What Becomes You, who began life as a girl named Sarah and twenty-nine years later began life anew as a gay man. As he transforms from female to male and from teaching scientist to theatre performer, Link documents the extraordinary medical, social, legal, and personal processes involved in a complete ...
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What Becomes You

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Overview


“Being a man, like being a woman, is something you have to learn,” Aaron Raz Link remarks. Few would know this better than the coauthor of What Becomes You, who began life as a girl named Sarah and twenty-nine years later began life anew as a gay man. As he transforms from female to male and from teaching scientist to theatre performer, Link documents the extraordinary medical, social, legal, and personal processes involved in a complete identity change.
 
Hilda Raz, a well-known feminist writer and teacher, observes this process both as an “astonished” parent and as a professor who has studied gender issues. All these perspectives come into play in this collaborative memoir, which travels between women’s experiences and men’s lives, explores the art and science of changing sex, maps uncharted family values, and journeys through a world transformed by surgery, hormones, love, and . . . clown school. Combining personal experience and critical analysis, the book is an unusual—and unusually fascinating—reflection on gender, sex, and the art of living. This Bison Books edition features a set of discussion questions.
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Editorial Reviews

Great Plains Quarterly

"The deepest pleasure of memoir is that it can teach us to see truths through eyes other than our own, and What Becomes You accomplishes exactly that."—Gayle Salamon, Great Plains Quarterly

— Gayle Salamon

Indiana Review

“Less a document of a sex-change than one of family change, What Becomes You illustrates the roles and expectations we have not only for men and women, but for parents and children. Although Raz and Link’s story initially appears unusual in its particulars, the result tells a familiar tale: that to become yourself requires sacrifice, yet love—especially that of family—will make you whole.”—Sharon McGill, Indiana Review

— Sharon McGill

Gayle Salamon

"The deepest pleasure of memoir is that it can teach us to see truths through eyes other than our own, and What Becomes You accomplishes exactly that."—Gayle Salamon, Great Plains Quarterly

The Source (Bend, OR) - Ellen Santasiero

"What Becomes You is the best kind of book. And not just because it’s funny and poetic, honest, personal, carefully researched and detailed, and hugely informative on the subjects of gender and transsexualism. It’s the best kind of book because it challenges readers to grow in the most critical ways. . . . [It] opens the reader to the present moment, to considering and investigating what 'is' instead of what the reader thinks should be. It makes us think before responding in habitual ways to those who are different from us. And in this world, I can’t think of anything that’s much more important than that right now."—Ellen Santasiero, The Source (Bend, OR)
JustOut

What Becomes You is the best memoir I’ve read in a decade. It is close to the bone, poetic without an ounce of sentimentality, full of humor and humanity, and excruciating in its self-examination. . . . This book is what happens when two extraordinary writers share intimate tales of self-discovery in prose that’s both exquisite and accessible.”—Glenn Scofield Williams, JustOut
OutSmart

“This deeply personal collaborative memoir details the multiple layers of the journey Child and Mom take on the road to Sarah becoming Aaron. This book can’t help but challenge the readers to rethink what they know about gender, sex, family relationships, and themselves. A compelling narrative, this is the best book I’ve read this year.”—OutSmart
Booklist

“Scientist Link begins his fascinating account of gender reassignment by explaining scientific classification. . . . Raz writes of her child with rare and moving candor. . . . Mother and son’s poignant account becomes one of steadfast maternal love in the midst of changes only partly physical. Both knowingly return, always, to the terrain of the heart.”—Booklist
Bloomsbury Review

“Link tells the story with sharp emotion . . . [and] often startles with his acute observations. Raz writes in a clearer narrative style and her careful introspection adds to this already nuanced story. . . . [Link and Raz] continue to surprise and challenge us as they pull from their knowledge of biology and feminism, and fairy tales and psychiatry, to wrestle with understanding Link’s transsexuality. The memoir welcomes readers into a study of the struggles and complexity of relationships in any family.”—Bloomsbury Review
Lambda Book Report

“Aaron Raz Link’s story is a vital contribution to the oeuvre of transgender literature. . . . [H]is writing is potent and well crafted. . . . Hilda Raz’s story is similarly an important part of the transgender oeuvre. . . . Throughout the book, she strikes an emotive tone that is both resonant and authentic. . . . What Becomes You is a superb memoir. As finely wrought as Minnie Bruce Pratt’s S/he, it is careful and tender while simultaneously confrontational and challenging.”—Julie R. Enszer, Lambda Book Report

— Julie R. Enszer

Mid-American Review

“Throughout, [Link and Raz] place their story in a larger context; the prose, graceful and intelligent, mirrors the breadth of their thought and the depth of their emotion.”—Jesse Hicks, Mid-American Review

Gayle Salamon
"The deepest pleasure of memoir is that it can teach us to see truths through eyes other than our own, and What Becomes You accomplishes exactly that."

-Gayle Salamon, Great Plains Quarterly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803216426
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2008
  • Series: American Lives Series
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,240,929
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Aaron Raz Link, a writer, performing artist, curator, and historian of science, is the director of the Museum of Nature in Portland, Oregon.
 
Hilda Raz, a professor of English and women’s and gender studies at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, is the Glenna Luschei Endowed Editor of Prairie Schooner and author of the poetry collections What Is Good, The Bone Dish, Divine Honors, Trans, and All Odd and Splendid.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2007

    Luminous and Illuminating

    From Link's first trope--'About the Author'--to Raz's 'dead open eyes' on the last page, a moving and honest story, truly for this reader an experience of change. Both authors are in different ways elliptical, with meaning presented in patchwork rather than laid out in a line. Raz is truthful and elegant, and Link offers a new understanding of what it is to know that your body is not the gender of your self. I honestly do feel that I understand something I did not understand before. Outstanding.

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