Kinda funny this book would get chosen at random from the The Staircase at a time when women are marching for their beliefs again. When I purchased this book I hadn’t realized all the implications behind the story or the author, I’m not sure which part of the back cover blurb caught my eye, but I was quick-shopping and this one made it’s way into my basket, so, imagine my delight when I read about the author and his realtionship (in more ways than one) with the hero(heroin) of the story and how their struggles are pertinent in today’s world… although it is kinda sad that we STILL have to fight for this crap. No. No politics here. Just books.
Okay, just a little ‘splainin’… quick-shopping is something I do on occasion to branch out and expand my reading base. I avoid the sci-fi/fantasy section (although I hate that they have been lumped together… but that is another story for another time) and browse the front tables. You know the ones. They have catchy signs with wordings like Book to Movie or Employee Pick, or Dark Fantasy.. okay, that one probably will never happen, but you get my meaning and know exactly where I’m talking about. I browse and pick. I only allow myself the quick cover blurb, no delving deeper. If the snippet on the back makes me go hmmm, it goes in the basket. I stop at a preset monetary value, go to the register and check out. No thinking, no debating, nada. Is fun. I’ve found some really cool books this way. You should try it.
Alex Myers began life as a female, grew to know himself, and worked towards becoming the male he wanted, needed, to be. Deborah Samson, the main character of the story began life as a female, changed herself as best she could to be a male, enlisted in the army and served during the last part of the US’s revolutionary war. According to the bio, Alex is a descendant of Deborah. Pretty cool.
As the book begins to unfold we learn of Deborah, her life, her discontent. To be quite honest, I would have been pretty discontent myself. I am not known for being meek or demure or subservient. She dresses like a man and attempts to sign up for army service, but silly girl does it in her home town and gets recognized and caught. Before she can be brought to trial she is attacked, attacks back and makes a run for freedom. She has adventures and gets far enough away from home to try enlisting again, with greater success. The book goes on to tell her tale as a soldier in the continental army. There are times when I wonder and worry that the book is straying into what I call “preach it land” where the author’s ideals and principals take over and the story is lost in the message the author wishes to get out there, but it never actually does. Alex does a very good job of portraying what he believed Deborah might have been thinking and feeling. In the end, she discovers much about herself and returns to being a woman. I have to say, her life did not end up the way I thought it should… but… that’s life for you I guess.
This was quick and engaging read that was fun and thought provoking at the same time. I liked the way details of daily life were dealt with, sometimes in depth, other times glossed over as not necessary for the story. My questions of how she dealt with her female body and its functions was answered a bit vaguely, but, to be honest, those details were not necessary to the story and probably strayed into the realm of serious speculation.
I liked this book. Overall a rating of 3.
Oh… and here is The Staircase. Do not be fooled. It is not a to-read pile. My entire library is a to read-pile. The books found here have yet to be scanned and cataloged. Every couple of months I set a day aside to scan, catalog and shelf… read or not. Just so’s you know. I don’t do to-read piles. 😀 I will say though, that all of these have yet to be read. There is an even bigger pile on a designated bookcase that is still waiting for catalog. I guess I really need to set time aside and do that.