Published by Topside Press on April 2, 2013
Genres: Fiction, LGBT
Source: I purchased a copy of this book.
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Nevada is the darkly comedic story of Maria Griffiths, a young trans woman living in New York City and trying to stay true to her punk values while working retail. When she finds out her girlfriend has lied to her, the world she thought she'd carefully built for herself begins to unravel, and Maria sets out on a journey that will most certainly change her forever.
The opening scene of Nevada had me worried this wasn’t going to be my type of book, but first impressions aren’t always accurate. This was a very different kind of novel for me, one that stretched me as a reader.
I loved Maria’s snarky, apathetic tone and her dark humor. She shines a light on a lot of things that trans people have to worry about, stuff that seems minor or tedious to cis people, but are actually pretty demeaning. Maria is who she is, and you can’t help but have empathy for her and learn in a very natural way (similar to The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.)
Pretty much you have to prove that you’re totally normal and straight and not queer at all, so that if they let you transition you will be a normal het woman who doesn’t freak anybody out, and so we often, as individuals, internalize these things, and then we, as a community, often reinforce them. All of which is relevant specifically because you are supposed to have known you were trans since you were a tiny little baby.
There’s a shift a little after halfway through that had me feeling confused, wondering what was going on. Then I got my bearings and thought, “Whoa, this is a brilliant way to tell this story!” (I know I’m being vague, but any more specific would spoil it.) Unfortunately, after that point I was left feeling underwhelmed until the (way too abrupt) ending. But you know, that first half was so fantastic, it saved the book for me.
This is an #ownvoices book: If you are cis and have trans friends, or if you simply want to understand trans people a little better, consider Nevada required reading.