Missy Schwartz
January 22, 2007 AT 05:00 AM EST

Transparent (Book - Cris Beam)

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Cris Beam
publisher
Harcourt
genre
Nonfiction, Gay and Lesbian

We gave it an B

Cris Beam’s book about transgender teenagers in L.A. is, by her own admission, ”more memoir than social science.” Told in the first person, Transparent is a snapshot of four transgirls (i.e., people born male who live as females) she met while volunteering at a high school in the ’90s. Beam vividly conveys the alienation that shapes their lives as she peeks into the bleak underworlds of prostitution and black-market hormones. But too often she relies on generalizations (”it’s safe to say that transwomen have to endure more rejection and shame and loss than your average genetic woman”), diminishing her book’s poignancy. B

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